Where to find Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park this summer
One of our top recommendations for outdoor fun in Devon this summer is searching to find Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park. This art trail is on the same theme as the Great Big Rhinos, Paddington Bears and Shaun the Sheep events elsewhere in recent years. Artists decorate reproductions of the same sculpture in their own unique style and people are invited to search for them.
Dartmoor is somewhere you can see otters in the wild, so has become a mascot for the National Park. It was the obvious choice of creature to feature in the art trail this summer.
What is the Moor Otters art trail all about?
Dartmoor is a haven for otters. They are endangered globally but have made a comeback on Dartmoor during the past 15 years. The Park now supports nationally important populations of this well-known and loved mammal. The otters will be auctioned off to fund conversation projects in the National Park t the end of the summer.
Our search to find Moor Otters
We made a trip to the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre for the 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.
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. 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. I’m sure we missed some too!
This took our full-sized Otter art count to seven. Only 94 more to go! Dartmoor National Park have put together a handy guide on where to find Moor Otters. There’s prizes to be won from local businesses if you stick off 20 otters over the summer.
Each otter has its own unique code on its plinth, so you have to visit each to collect the right information for your competition entry. The trail and competition run until the end of August.
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.
Top tip: if you do decide to visit the sanctuary then look our for two more otter sculptures. There’s one in the gift shop and the other at the neighbouring Buckfastleigh station.
Have you ever done an art trail like the Moor Otters? Or are you hoping to find Moor Otters in Dartmoor National Park this summer?
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