Cosdon Beacon from South Zeal

A Dartmoor walk that includes the most north-easterly summit in the National Park which offers some fine views especially to the north. The route needs careful navigation at the start and in poor weather you need a good sense of direction and compass skills.

Technical sheet
No. 293217
A South Tawton walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 08/08/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h00[?]
Distance Distance : 6.52mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1168ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1155ft
Highest point Highest point : 1788ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 636ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Dartmoor
Location Location : South Tawton
Starting point Starting point : N 50.724684° / W 3.910974°
Download : -


(D/A)The start is the car park (grid ref. SX651934) at the southern end of South Zeal village. Exit the car park and turn right along the road. Take the first road on your right and continue until you reach a crossroads.

(1)Go straight on at the crossroads. You are now on a signed bridleway walking west. Bear right at the first junction and continue ahead to a 'cross-roads' with a footpath on your right (grid ref. SX645931). Ignore the track heading south and continue in westerly direction to reach a T-junction (grid ref. SX643930).

(2)Here bear left and continue between walls to reach open country. Passing a number of smaller enclosed fields on your left take the slopes of Cosdon Hill rise to your left. Take the path (one of many on this hill) making a beeline for the summit and the Beacon with its trig point (grid ref. SX636915).

(3)The onward route heads just west of south and you should take the easiest path making for the summit of Little Hound Tor (grid ref. SX632899) passing a shallow col before reaching the highest point. Descend south to a junction of bridleways (grid ref. SX632896) and an adjacent stone circle.

(4)Here turn sharp left and follow the clear bridleway as it heads northeast across the moor. The route passes through a walled section with small enclosures to your left before crossing a short area of open moorland. The way ahead then passes between walls again.

(5)At a junction (grid ref. SX645929) bear right to reach the crossroads at grid ref. SX645931 encountered on the outward route. Turn right here and follow the outward route back to the car. For the return, retrace your tracks back down the river bed, turn right at the cross-roads, and then continue on this track (past where you originally met it) until eventually joining back to the way marked footpath. At a cross-roads (Grid ref SJ237476) bear left and you should recognise the path that led to the stile at the beginning of the walk. Follow the original path back to the car park.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 643ft - Car park in South Zeal village
1 : mi 0.3 - alt. 709ft - Crossroads - go straight on
2 : mi 0.64 - alt. 965ft - T-junction - bear left
3 : mi 2.14 - alt. 1788ft - Summit of Cosdon Hill
4 : mi 3.36 - alt. 1545ft - Stone circle - sharp left
5 : mi 5.85 - alt. 948ft - Junction - bear right
D/A : mi 6.52 - alt. 636ft - Car park in South Zeal village

Useful Information

Cosdon Hill or Cosdon Beacon is the most north-easterly of the high Dartmoor hills and as one might expect provides some excellent views. This route is mostly easy to follow although careful navigation in the early stages of the walk through a maze of lanes does require care. It is also worth noting that in poor visibility good map reading and compass skills are necessary.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4/5
Number of opinions : 2
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 3.5/5
Walk interest : 4.5/5

on Fri 19 Jun 2020 17:55:54 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 16/06/20
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Average
Walk interest : Very good

Good walk with excellent views from Cosdon Hill. Directions worked well until the end when I took a wrong path, it appeared to be the only one available. We were around 400 metres east of where we should have been in South Zeal but found our way back to the car park easily. The path we took from the Stone Circle at the southern tip of the walk to return to South Zeal was used by cattle and ponies to reach their source of water so it was really uneven.

on Mon 28 Oct 2019 09:49:07 CET

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 27/10/19
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

Enjoyed this walk. Views spectacular. Steep at start but a great walk. Do a little research on area and what you see from the top. Look at info in carpark. Local pub good. Great location to plan other walks from. Navigation at start of walk needs good skills compass and map work or possible rrevision as signage has changed and other footpaths need marking or photographs adding. Great quickish walk on good weather days

Other walks in the area

distance 4.04mi Vertical gain +243ft Vertical drop -256ft Durée 2h05 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Throwleigh - Devon

A beautiful walk past granite Devon longhouses and open moorland on the edge of Dartmoor. It's recommended to do this walk clockwise as the last footpath is difficult to find going in the other direction.

distance 10.36mi Vertical gain +1752ft Vertical drop -1732ft Durée 6h15 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Belstone - Devon

A demanding Dartmoor walk that requires careful navigation and preferably good weather. The route uses a section of the Tarka Trail, visits some ancient monuments and visits the summits of a number of granite tors.

distance 14.89mi Vertical gain +1430ft Vertical drop -1594ft Durée 8h05 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Drewsteignton - Devon

Stage 6 is a tricky navigational test as we leave the Dartmoor National Park and head into Mid Devon. The route crosses the A 30, the main Exeter to Barnstaple rail line and the busy A 377. There's plenty to keep you occupied and some pretty hamlets to go through (avoiding some interesting villages, so you might be tempted to go off-route at some point).

Dartmoor Warren House Inn to Chagford Circular
distance 14.78mi Vertical gain +1808ft Vertical drop -1808ft Durée 8h20 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Chagford - Devon

A circular walk in the east of Dartmoor following roads and paths, including sections of the Two Moors Way. The walk includes a mix of open moorland, footpaths and quiet roads where the farming hinterlands meet the moor. Except for the section north of the road near the Warren House Inn, all the paths are well-trodden and waymarked. There are some steep sections. Apart from the high moors, this walk is fairly sheltered from the prevailing SW winds.

distance 7.7mi Vertical gain +1171ft Vertical drop -1148ft Durée 4h35 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Moretonhampstead - Devon

A wonderful circular walk from Clifford Bridge to Fingle Bridge on a gentle path along the River Teign before heading steeply onto Butterdon Down and descending back to Clifford Bridge. Beautiful woodland views.

Sittaford Tor and Hartford Tor
distance 6.75mi Vertical gain +659ft Vertical drop -692ft Durée 3h40 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Dartmoor Forest - Devon

This is an unmarked hike (but mainly obvious paths during clear days) located on the easter side of Dartmoor National Park. During this trip, you will enjoy peaceful moors, great views from tops and stone circles historic site.

Bellever Tor viewpoint and cairn circles
distance 3mi Vertical gain +308ft Vertical drop -276ft Durée 1h40 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Dartmoor Forest - Devon

It's an easy family walk leading to panoramic views from Bellever Tor. During the way back you could also discover Stone Row and Cairn circles.

distance 7.2mi Vertical gain +876ft Vertical drop -883ft Durée 4h05 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Lydford - Devon

The wild open speces of Dartmoor can be appreciated on this walk. The route takes you past a number of rocky tors, visits an area used for peat cutting and follows a section of the Rattlestone Peat Railway. All in all a walk full of interest.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.