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Flora And Fauna

Shepherd’s Dial

Shepherd's Dial

The Shepherd’s Sundial is probably better known as the tiny flower called the Scarlet Pimpernel.  This plant is classed as a weed and is often found in the hedgerows and fields of the lower moorland fringes. It was often called the Shepherd’s Sundial by the moorfolk because it was a …

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Sheep

Sheep

It is thought that sheep have been a part of the Dartmoor landscape since prehistoric times, in fact some say that the native Dartmoor breeds were descended from the Iron Age Soay sheep. There is certainly evidence that by the late 13th century Dartmoor was a wool producing area. Around …

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Rowans

Rowans

If I had to chose one tree on Dartmoor as a symbol for the moor it would be the brave little Mountain Ash or as it is called by the moorfolk: ‘Quickbeam’. Most years some calendar will show an autumn picture of a little stream tumbling off the fen and …

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Rock Basins

Rock Basins

…’Tis said that here The Druid wander’d. Haply have these hills With shouts ferocious, and the mingled shriek, Resounded, when to Jupiter upflam’d The human hecatomb*. The frantic seer Here built his sacred circle; for he loved To worship on the mountains breast sublime – The earth his altar, and …

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Rocks

Rocks

As always nothing is simple on Dartmoor and the distinction between a tor and rocks is one such example. The term ‘rocks’ can be used in two separate ways when alluding to granite outcrops. Firstly there are the instances where the term ‘rocks is used as a place-name suffix. In …

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Rock Art

Rock Art

There is currently a modicum of debate in the archaeological world with regards to the question of art and how early it came to Britain. Linked with this discussion there are also those who have found what they consider to be examples of what only could be described as ‘prehistoric …

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Robins

Robins

“A dog is for life, not Christmas”, is a well known saying and similarly you could say, “A robin is all year, not just Christmas”. Walk through a wood on a cold, dank and drear winter’s day and the chances are that somewhere ‘Robin Redbreast’ will be optimistically trilling away …

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Ring Ouzels

Ring Ouzels

Ode to a Pair of Ring-Ouzels A deep and solemn silence broods Over the breezy solitudes Whereon the mountaineer intrudes To crown a summer climb: The soaring lark, a dreamy bee, A pipit twittering from the lea Beguiled the journey, but no glee Disturbs the peak sublime. Yet music haunts …

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Red Kites

Red Kites

“The Rev. M. A. Mathew writes, that he has proof of the Kite having nested quite recently in Devonshire, but even at the beginning of the century it was a rare bird in the South of the County…I have a vague recollection of the species having (in my school-boy days, …

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Rabbits

Rabbits

For centuries the rabbit has been a common feature on Dartmoor insomuch as there were numerous warrens where they were bred for their meat and skins. At first rabbit meat was a luxury only available to the nobility and was far beyond the reach of the average person. But by …

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