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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357


The largest settlement of any size you will come across on The Two Moors Way and a welcome overnight stop for those circling Dartmoor on The Dartmoor Way.

Chagford is a thriving community in a fascinating small town with an impressive number of hotels and shops - arguably the prettiest and most interesting small town on Dartmoor.


The name originates from ‘Chag’ meaning ‘where the gorse grows,’ referring to the yellow moorland shrub. The “ford” relates to its importance as a crossing place over the pretty River Teign. Although there is evidence of its existence for 4000 years, Chagford grew in both size and stature through its wool industry and tin mining, becoming one of four Stannary towns in the early 14th century, receiving tin from all over Devon to be weighed and stamped here. A long-time beacon for those searching for habitation from the high moor, Chagford’s more bizarre claim is to have been the first town west of London to be lit by electricity due to an early experiment with hydropower as far back as 1891.


For the walker, Chagford has a very pleasant moorland air to it with intriguing little lanes to explore leading off the impressive village square down rows of coloured cob walled and thatched cottages and larger granite buildings.


The appealing eight sided ‘Pepper Pot’ Market House is still a focal point in the village, site of the Old Stannary Court and the town’s regular moorland cattle market which only ceased here around 20 years ago. The church of St Michael is well worth a look, its most famous item a memorial to one Mary Whiddon, dated 11 October 1641, who was shot dead by a jealous suitor as she left the church porch on her wedding day.  This story was the basis for part of the Lorna Doone novel by R D Blackmore, and even today tradition is that brides lay a flower on her tomb after signing the register.


Facilities are excellent and it’s a good place to browse and stock up before hitting remote mid Devon. Here you will find a variety of antique, clothes and gift shops as well as art and craft galleries, a post office, chemist and most famous of all the twin institutions of Webbers and Bowdens.  Known here as “the shops that have everything” these are family hardware providers that date back to before the last tin mine shut in 1903, indeed Bowdens even has a small museum within the store covering Chagford life over centuries. There is a notable community of local artists, and the town has its own Arts Festival. There is even a public open air swimming pool, the largest in mid Devon, its  river fed and a treat if you are lucky enough to arrive here from the moors on a sun soaked summers afternoon.


There is plenty of accommodation in the form of B&B and Inns as well as good eating places ranging from nearby Gidleigh Park with its 2 Michelin starred restaurant, an AA 2 Rosette award option at 22 Mill Street as well as the four pubs in the town and a handful of cafes. The Three Crowns Hotel is a 13th century option still haunted by the ghost of a cavalier killed here by the Roundheads in the English Civil War. The other pub full of history to try is the Ring of Bells, here the upper part of the pub was a holding prison for those being marched over the moor to the Okehampton Assizes, the first floor was the village mortuary.... and Coroners Court.... still if you have walked over the moor we are sure you will sleep well if you stay here, despite all this!

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