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 : 10.49km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 356m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 352m
Highest point Highest point : 545m
Lowest point Lowest point : 194m
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 : km 0 - alt. 196m - Car park in South Zeal village
1 : km 0.49 - alt. 216m - Crossroads - go straight on
2 : km 1.03 - alt. 294m - T-junction - bear left
3 : km 3.45 - alt. 545m - Summit of Cosdon Hill
4 : km 5.41 - alt. 471m - Stone circle - sharp left
5 : km 9.42 - alt. 289m - Junction - bear right
D/A : km 10.49 - alt. 194m - 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

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