One of our top recommendations for outdoor fun in Devon this summer is searching for Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park. This art trail first took place in 2017 and we can’t wait to see what it looks like this year. Here’s all you need to know about the Dartmoor Otters trail happening in 2021.

Please note: like all events in 2021, the Moor Otter art trail is subject to change. Please check the Dartmoor National Park website and the Moor Otters Facebook group for the very latest information.

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Otterhound of the Baskervilles - where to find Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park
Otterhound of the Baskervilles – part of the 2017 Moor Otters trail

What is the Moor Otters art trail all about?

Dartmoor is somewhere you can see otters in the wild, so has become a mascot for the National Park.

They are endangered globally but have made a comeback in Dartmoor during the past 20 years. The Park now supports nationally important populations of this well-known and loved mammal.

The Moor Otters art trails – there are four in 2021 – have been designed to support this conservation work. Local and national artists have been commissioned to decorate 81 otter and cub sculptures in their own unique style. Once the trail starts they will be positioned in and around the National Park for people to find.

At the end of the trail, the otters will be auctioned off to fund conversation projects in the National Park.

Here’s how the 2017 trail helped projects in Dartmoor.

Where to find the 2021 Moor Otters trails

The four Moor Otters trails will start on 28 May 2021. The map will be available on the Dartmoor National Park website soon.

As well as finding otters and cub sculptures on Dartmoor you will be able to spot them in Plymouth in Mayflower themed trails and in other towns and villages around Dartmoor.

Expect to find the sculptures located at Dartmoor visitor centres, businesses and accommodation.

Here are the locations announced in the Moor Otters Facebook group so far:

  • Ashburton Information Hub
  • Austins, Newton Abbot
  • Austins Toy Store
  • Baskervilles Ice Cream Parlour and Coffee Shop, Moretonhampstead
  • Buckfastleigh Open Air Pool in Victoria Park
  • Canonteign Falls
  • Chagford Pool
  • China Blue, Totnes
  • Cornwood Village Store & Tearoom
  • Dartmoor National Park Outreach Team
  • Dartmoor Zoo
  • Dolphin Hotel, Bovey Tracey
  • Furzeleigh Mill, Buckfastleigh
  • HonkyTonk Wine Library, Plymouth
  • Ilsington Country House Hotel
  • Jaded Palates Wines, Chagford
  • Mill End Hotel, Chagford
  • National Park Visitor Centre Postbridge
  • National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown
  • Newton Abbot Town Council
  • Newton’s Place Community Space and Museum
  • Okehampton Community Recreation Association
  • Pier one, Plymouth
  • Plymouth City Centre
  • Simmons Park, Okehampton
  • South West Water, Burrator Reservoir, Discovery Centre
  • St Pancras Church, Widecombe
  • Tavistock Inn, Poundsgate
  • Tavistock Pannier Market
  • Tavistock Wharf
  • The Castle Inn, Lydford
  • The Cosy Club, The Barcode, Plymouth
  • The Dartmoor Bed Company, Topsham
  • The Fox and Hounds Hotel
  • The Indoor Market, Newton Abbot
  • The Mayflower Museum and Tourist Information Centre
  • The Museum of Dartmoor Life
  • The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe
  • The Tradesmans Arms, Scorriton
  • The Watermark, Ivybridge
  • The White Hart, Bridestowe
  • The Who’d Have Thought It Inn, Milton Combe

Find more things to do in Devon this May.

Our search to find Moor Otters in 2017

Otter Spotter in the Conservation garden at Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre - where to find Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park
Otter Spotter – part of the 2017 Dartmoor Otters art trail

We started our 2017 search at the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre at Princetown.

Our visit coincided Dartmoor Summer Fair at the beginning of National Parks Week. The girls made bog-themed crafts with Devon Wildlife Trust, searched for moorland plants in the Conservation Garden, inspected native bugs under a microscope, and jigged along with Morris dancers.

Tin Box Baby looking through a microscope - where to find Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park

Aside from the fair we explored a bit of the Visitor Centre in Princetown. This used to be the Duchy Hotel and is where Arthur Conan Doyle stayed when he wrote some of the Hound of the Baskervilles. His moorland Sherlock Holmes thriller was inspired by Dartmoor’s beautiful and bleak landscape.

The Visitor Centre also tells the story of Dartmoor’s natural history and the people who have lived there since the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago.

Back on task, we continued our search for some of the 101 Moor Otters on the 2017 trail.

At the Visitor Centre we ticked off: Otter Spotter, The Duchy of Cornwall Otter, Coming Up for Air, Otterhound of the Baskervilles, and a handful of the 32 Mini Otters that have been painted by Devon schools.

Mini Otters at Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre - where to find Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park

Meeting Dartmoor’s real otters

If you’d like to see some real otters it might be difficult to spot them in the wild – they are shy animals.

However, you’ll definitely be able to get up close with these inquisitive creatures at the Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies Sanctuary at Buckfastleigh. It looks after rescued otters and breeds them for reintroduction to the wild.

More things to do in Dartmoor

Following the Moor Otters art trail is a great opportunity to explore Dartmoor National Park. Here’s some more guides to things to do in Dartmoor to help you plan your days out:

Planning on doing the Moor Otters trail in Dartmoor National Park this summer? Why not use Pinterest to save this post for future reference.

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