Venford Reservoir, White Wood & Bench Tor | Dartmoor
Start: Venford Reservoir | 3 miles | Easy Walk
Venford Reservoir is somewhat of a hidden gem in Dartmoor National Park. Surrounded by moorland and forest, it makes for the start of a wonderful and varied walk that takes in the best of Dartmoor views. From the reservoir, cross into the ancient, oak woodland valley of White Wood that follows the Venford Brook and the River Dart, adding a sense of eeriness and timelessness to the walk. Finally, head up onto the granite outcrops of Bench Tor that provides lovely views over the forest and reservoir; the perfect place to stop for a picnic before a short ramble back to the carpark.
Read on for the full walking description.
Walk through the woods around the reservoir from the carpark
There are two carparks at Venford Reservoir, one on the eastern side and one across the bridge on the western side near a toilet block. Either is fine, though we’d recommend parking at the carpark on the eastern side of the bridge (the first you reach when travelling from Holne Village) for the start of the walk. Directly opposite the carpark, take a track that runs alongside the fence for around 100 metres before reaching a gate that enters into the enclosed reservoir area. Walk clockwise around the reservoir following the well-marked path, through lovely forest with beautiful views onto the tranquil water.
Into White wood
Walk through woods that run alongside Venford Brook and then the River Dart; heading into White Wood in the Dart Valley
Once you reach the end of the reservoir, cross the road and walk around the toilet block beside the carpark and around the fenced area, following a path that leads steeply down the banking and crosses Venford Brook. It can be fairly difficult to cross the brook. There are some stepping stones, or taking off your boots and socks and wading across might be a better option! The water is shallow but fast running over the stepping stones. Once crossed, head along the path that opens onto to beautiful views over the forest and valley, with Venford Brook in the valley below to your left. Walk deeper into the oak woodland forest as the track curves around to the right, and eventually heads up a rocky path. Stop when you reach a gate ahead of you.
Views from Bench Tor
Head onto Bench Tor with marvellous views all around. Head back to the carpark across Holme Moor
Once you reach a wooden gate, don’t pass through but instead turn right and follow a track that leads onto Bench Tor. Views are marvellous from the summit; looking over White Wood and the River Dart below, across to the Two Moors Way and its many tors on the other side of the forest, and back to Holme Moor and Venford Reservoir where your walk began. The distinct figure of Sharp Tor can be seen looking west. Enjoy a break atop Bench Tor before heading across Holme Moor back to the carpark. There are a number of wide paths between gorse on the moor. You will see the buildings of Venford Water Works to your right as you approach the reservoir. It is an easy 10-15 minute ramble from the Tor back to the carpark.
This varied walk around Venford Reservoir, White Wood and Bench Tor is short and easy - perfect for a winter morning or summer evening. Taking in water, woodland and a tor, it offers the best of Dartmoor with beautiful views, peace and calm.
We would recommend using OS Map OL28 for Dartmoor.
Find a digital OS Map of our walking route here.