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National Parks, Devon + Cornwall

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Devon + Cornwall
England
Concierge.com's insider take:

Devon's two national parks both have native wild ponies and granite outcrops called "tors," and are excellent places for horse riding, hiking, and cycling. Exmoor, which runs into the neighboring county of Somerset, is on a high exposed slice of land, with woods, rivers, and a tough coastal walk. Tarr Steps, a beautiful spot with a prehistoric bridge, is one of the park's highlights. Exmoor's proximity to the coast means that it gets hit with the most unpredictable weather (www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk). The larger of the two parks, Dartmoor, covers an expanse of 368 square miles of wilderness between Exeter and Plymouth. Highlights include the stunning Lydford Gorge and the remains of a medieval village at Hound Tor (www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk). Both parks have their fair share of creepy ghost stories: A spectral dog that's said to haunt Dartmoor was the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Cornwall has its own extensive moor at Bodmin, covering 80 square miles. Equally dramatic, its highlights include granite tors, prehistoric stone circles, and Dozmary Pool, home to the Lady of the Lake according to Arthurian legend. At 1,377 feet, the curious sounding Brown Willy (thought to originate from the Cornish for 'high hill') is Cornwall's highest point (www.countryside.gov.uk/LAR/Landscape/CC/south_west/bodmin_moor.asp).

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