Dartmoor's Ernest Bassett Walk

About this route

Ernest Basset was an Okehampton man and a lover of Dartmoor.  He appreciated it in all its moods, but also realised that it had its dangers.  As a result, in 1971 he became a founder member of the Dartmoor Rescue Group, a body of volunteers for whom many have had cause to give thanks.

He also encouraged people to visit and appreciate the moor and its surroundings and as such devised three fairly easy walks based on Okehampton as an introduction to the area’s attractions.  He was an active member of the Okehampton Rotary Club and, when he died, the Club dedicated the walks to him as a memorial, naming them the Ernest Bassett Walks.  The walks are 2.5, 3 and 4 miles in length; this is the 3 mile walk slightly lengthened at the Okehampton end to take in more of the town centre.

Getting Around

Okehampton is served by numerous bus routes from Exeter, Tavistock, Bideford and Barnstaple. Between June and September there is a Sunday service on the rail line.

Okehampton: All facilities. Okehampton Station: parking, toilets, cafe
One steady climb; two stiles
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OS Maps

Explorer (1:25,000) No 113 Okehampton or No OL28 Dartmoor
Landranger (1:50,000) No 191 Okehampton and North Dartmoor

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Interesting information

Okehampton lies on the northern edge of Dartmoor and was once an important wool centre.  The waterwheel helped to power Town Mills.  The mills were grist mills, for the grinding of corn, and were then also used as a woollen mill.  The stream alongside the path is the leat used to power Town Mills.  It flows out of the East Okement River, which is reached at the end of the woodland path.

Simmons Park was given to Okehampton by local man Sidney Simmons in 1907.  Much of the park was formerly semi-moorland and some of the modern landscape reflects this. There is a Swiss-style Chalet Treloar, named after the Lord Mayor of London who conducted the park opening.

Part of the walk follows the Tarka Trail.  Note the paw print waymark on the post which is the Trail’s waymark.  The Tarka Trail follows the journey through Devon of Tarka the Otter in the book of that name.

Fatherford is a stone viaduct which carried the main line of the London and South Western Railway between Waterloo and Plymouth.  It now only carries trains taking stone from the quarries at Meldon, the Dartmoor Railway runs between Okehampton and Samford Courtney and a summer Sunday service between Exeter and Okehampton.  Next to it is the modern viaduct carrying the A30 Okehampton by-pass, built in the late 1980s.

Once on the Moor, stunning views are obtained across the centre of Devon. On a clear day the edge of Exmoor can be seen.  At East Hill, the stone pillar marks the height of 1152 feet/349m, although the very highest point is one metre higher.  Okehampton is now visible almost as an aerial view.  On the skyline beyond Okehampton Army Camp is Yes Tor and High Willhays.  These are the highest points in England south of the Peak District.

Photo of rail tracks on moorland in the snow near Okehampton Camp
Near Okehampton Camp Copyright Richard Knights

You can explore more in this area

Photo of the top of a waymarking post for the Coast Path and Tarka Trail

Tarka Trail walking route

Inspired by Henry Williamson’s much loved novel ‘Tarka the Otter’ which was based on real places, this 163 miles/261kms recreation