Burrator Circular Walk
Information and Summary
This walk is probably the most accessible on Dartmoor. Parking is easy on the roads alongside the dam, and the walk itself follows the road around the reservoir. Although there are many opportunities to leave the tarmac and visit the reservoir shore line. There are toilets available at Burrator Lodge. During the summer and at weekends ice cream vans provide a welcome source of refreshment at the end of your walk back at the dam.
A word of caution it can get busy at weekends and during school holidays. So this is not the quietest of Dartmoor experiences. I have however visited during winter and even earlier in the day at weekends you can manage to get some periods of relative quiet to carry out your photography
View Burrator Photography Walk in a larger map
Walk Route & Notes
You can walk around Burrator from either direction. I have chosen to the clockwise route for no particular reason other than you will pass the only public toilets on the walk early on. Leaving your transport at the dam, the first opportunity for photography manifests itself early on. The great wall of the Burrator dam stretches across the valley, when the water level is high enough water can be seen to pore over the top crashing below to join the river Meavy. This always makes for an impressive image. Visiting the dam early in the morning can often lead to some great reflections of the dam itself in the lake, and looking the other way using the dam as a vantage point the coniferous plantations and rugged tors lead to a scene that is distinctly un-Dartmoor, and can lead you to believe that you are visiting far more exotic location.
We continue our walk along the road clockwise, (i.e cross over the road and do not cross the dam) before long on the left hand side you will come across a waterfall (See Photographs taken on the walk below) As you can see from the photograph (left) the waterfall can be seen from the road. The National Park has been kind enough to provide a convenient although very cold granite bench to rest on. I have found it more useful for sifting through the camera bag. It is easy to spend an hour just at this one location. There many images to be had from both sides and up and down the waterfall. Capture the big scene or go in close to look at the details.
Continuing further along the road in the same direction it is not long before we come across Burrator Lodge (Grade 2 Listed building). This is your last change to visit any public conveniences along our walk, and unlike many of the other locations on this website you will find little privacy around the edge of Burrator
Our walk follows the road past the lodge. Take care to keep a close eye out for motor vehicles and cyclists. Evidence can be seen along the sides of the road of forestry work. And paths leading down to the lake shore provide an interesting interlude and escape from the tarmac.
One of my favourite places to make such a deviation is at Norsworthy Bridge. Just before crossing the bridge turn downhill to your right and cross the stile. There is a path that runs alongside the river Meavy as it flows into Burrator reservoir. There are many opportunities to capture images showing water flowing over the rocks . Retrace your steps and cross back over the stile turning right over the bridge and carry on along the road. At Norsworthy bridge you could say you have reached the half way point crossing the bridge signifies that your journey around the other side of the reservoir has begun.
The route back offers similar opportunities to descend down to the lake shore and follow parts of the path around the lake, but be warned during winter and wet weather many are extremely boggy underfoot . Upon reaching a fork in the road you a have decision to make. continue straight ahead through the pedestrian gates and cross the Sheepstor dam; the second and smaller dam creating the reservoir or stay on the road and descend into Sheepstor Village. I normally continue straight ahead and enjoy the fine views across the reservoir, rather than suffer the descent and climb back out of Sheepstor. Although if you have not been there before it is a quiet traditional Dartmoor village with a small church. The walkway
Photographs Taken On The Walk
These photographs have been taken during this walk. There are many other unique possibilities. The challenge is to go and find them. If you would like some help, want to learn about your camera or improve your landscape photography, join me on a Dartmoor20 Photography Workshop
The Author and Photographer does not accept any liability for loss, damage or injury resulting from the use of this website. The descriptions and maps are designed to be an aide to finding good photographic locations in the Dartmoor National Park and should not be use as the sole method of navigation. Take care on Dartmoor, the weather can change fast, the landscape is often featureless and difficult to navigate. Ensure you carry an Ordanance Survey Map and compass at all times and that you can use them. Wear good supportive footwear ideally walking boots and always carry waterproofs drinks and snacks.