Brentor is a popular destination for many, the famous church of St Michael de la Rupe, the wild beauty of Gibbet Hill and the views of Dartmoor attract people all year round. If you are staying in the village or spending a few hours visiting the area hopefully the information here will make visiting the area more enjoyable.
Bren Tor and St Michael De Rupe
Towering above the villages and hamlets of the Parish is the famous Bren Tor (or Brent Tor) crowned with the ancient and special church of St Michael de Rupe (St Michael of the Rock). The medieval church has many legends associated with it and is well worth the effort required to visit. There is a car park and toilets adjacent to the Tor just off the Tavistock to Lydford road (please secure your vehicle and keeps valuables with you or out of sight). It is a steep walk up to the church but it is worth the effort (please remember that this is Dartmoor, suitable clothing and footwear should be worn and close attention paid to the weather). As well as the charming church the Tor is also the site of an Iron Age fort and the earthworks are clearly visible on the way up and from the top. The views across to Dartmoor and westwards across to Cornwall are spectacular.
Lydford Gorge and the White Lady Waterfall
This National Trust owned property just over the border with Lydford is a must if visiting the area. As well as the spectacular gorge (the deepest in the South West) and woodland walks there is the White Lady, a 30 metre tall waterfall pouring into the river. There is ample parking at both the gorge entrance and the waterfall entrance and a National Trust cafe at the gorge site. Entrance fees apply to non-members. More information : Lydford Gorge – National Trust.
Lydford Castle and Saxon Settlement
A few minutes past Lydford Gorge is the village of Lydford. An important settlement in Saxon times it was the site of a mint that struck Lydford Pennies many of which ended up in Scandanavia after being paid to Viking raiders as ransoms and bribes. 13th entury Lydford Castle still stands, built as a notorious prison for those offending against the stannary and forest laws. It had a terrible reputation, one inmate said that is was “‘the most annoious, contagious and detestable place within this realm'”. It fell out of use in the 18th Century and today is owned by the National Trust. Not far from the castle is the lovely village church and behind this the site of an early Norman Motte and Bailey castle. This would have been built to take advantage of earlier Saxon defences some of which are still visible today. After all this history why not relax in the Castle Inn next to the castle and enjoy a well earned drink and bite to eat. Castle, Norman site and Saxon defences open all year round, no entry fee. Car park opposite the castle.
More information: English Heritage – Lydford Castle and Saxon Town
Dartmoor National Park stretches from Brentor Parish to the eastern boundary at Bovey Tracey around 20 miles away. A wild landscape that has been moulded by humans for thousands of years Dartmoor is a unique and wonderful place to spend time in the great outdoors. Deep river valleys, wild windswept moors, high Tors, sweeping views, Dartmoor ponies and rare flora and fauna Dartmoor has something for everyone. Brentor Parish is within Dartmoor National Park and well placed as a base for those wishing to explore the moor. Visit the Dartmoor National Park website for information on what to do and where to go: Dartmoor National Park.
Archangel’s Way and Cycle Route 27
Brentor Parish sits on both these long distance routes. The Archangel’s Way is a 38 mile route around north Dartmoor beginning at St Michael de Rupe and ending at St Michael the Archangel in the market town of Chagford. Cycle Route 27 is a long distance cycle route linking the north and south Devon coasts between Plymouth and Ilfracombe and includes the Tarka Trail, the Granite Way and Drakes Trail. For the most adventurous you can catch the ferry in Plymouth and continue your journey through France to the Spanish border!