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Things to do at Parke

Small white butterfly on purple chive flower at Parke
Small white butterfly on a chive flower at Parke, Devon | © National Trust Images/Mick Jones

This historic estate on the edge of Dartmoor offers a wide choice of things to do and surroundings to enjoy, from the walled garden and mixed orchard to wildlife spotting on the river. Here are a few of the highlights.


The orchard surrounds the walled garden on three sides and covers about two acres. According to the tithe map, an orchard has been here since at least 1841 and the apples were used for cider making.

In 1999 the orchard was planted up with 150 apple trees – mainly old apple varieties and a few damson trees. These live alongside the six remaining apple and pear trees from the original orchard, so there is now a mixed orchard.

In September and October each year the apples are picked by local community groups, sharing the harvest through Apple Days in the surrounding towns and villages and with the wider community.

The orchard is grazed at various times of the year by native breeds of sheep.

The Walled Garden at Parke, Devon on a summer's day
The Walled Garden at Parke | © National Trust Images / Trevor Ray Hart

Walled garden

The unusually-shaped walled garden is looked after by staff and volunteers in partnership with Bovey Community Gardeners. It now produces a wide range of fruit and vegetables.

The lower two plots have been given over to the community gardeners while National Trust volunteers look after the two upper plots, which contain the vines and fruit trees, the herbaceous border and the walled fruit.

You can visit the garden most days between 10.30am and 2.30pm. Walk down the hill from the car park past the orchard; the garden is through a gate to your left.

The river

The River Bovey starts its journey on the moor above North Bovey, eight miles north-west of Parke. It continues through Parke, into Bovey Tracey, and eventually joins the River Teign.

For many centuries it has been used in industry as an important source of water to power Bovey Tracey's historic mills.

Activity ideas

  • Try orienteering

  • Cycle along the disused railway track that forms part of the Wray Valley Trail

  • Enjoy walking the maze of paths through the woodland and parkland
  • Have a run – you could join Parkrun on Saturday mornings

  • Tick off all the fun and wild '50 things to do before you're 11¾'

  • Keep your eyes peeled and you might see a kingfisher or dipper on the river

A family playing in the stream at Parke
Visitors cool off in the stream at Parke | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

Also at Parke

Home Farm Café

An independent café and restaurant located within a pretty courtyard at the heart of Parke, offering delicious local seasonal food.

Dartmoor National Park Authority

Parke House is leased to the Dartmoor National Park Authority as their headquarters so is not open to visitors, but feel free to stroll through the gardens at the front of the house. The Dartmoor National Park Authority looks after Dartmoor's natural environment, wildlife and heritage.

Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust

The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust was set up following concerns about the long-term survival of the Dartmoor pony and they have an education centre which is based at Parke.

The Lodge

One of the National Trust holiday cottages, the Lodge makes a great base for exploring Dartmoor and is just a short walk from nearby Bovey Tracey.

Painted lady butterfly on a strawflower

Discover more at Parke

Find out when Parke is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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