Saturday , July 20 2024



“I am going to Dartmoor,” simple statement but if one wanted to be really pedantic the reply should be; “which one?” Sounds silly? well actually no, although everybody thinks of Dartmoor as being the 368 square miles much of which is encompassed by the Dartmoor National Park it’s not. ‘Dartmoor’ is but one name under whose umbrella a whole host of smaller moors shelter. Just to confuse things a little further the term ‘moor’ can just as easily refer to a common or parts of it.

It is no startling revelation that the word ‘moor’ comes from the Old English word mōr which meant a morass, swamp, hill or mountain, Clark Hall, p.240. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘moor‘ as being; “A piece of unenclosed waste ground; uncultivated ground cover with heather.”

To take things down to a more regional level, William Crossing defines a ‘moor’ as; “This name is attached to many of the parish commons surrounding the forest and forming part of its purlieus (a tract on the border of a forest, especially one earlier included in it and still partly subject to forest laws). It is however, found more particularly in the southern part of the moor. It is also attached to certain parts of a common, and occurs in the forest as well,” p.26.

Eric Hemery basically concurs when he defines the term as; “An area of rough pasture, elevated but not characteristically mountainous. Some of the south Dartmoor Commons, apportioned to parishes adjoining the forest, are so named… (On north Dartmoor  such tracts are usually known as commons),” pp. 65 – 66.

Below is a list of ‘moors’ that I have found and as you can see it’s quite a substantial list but it must be remembered that doubtless many of the older ‘moor’ place-names have been lost in the mists of time. Many of these place-names are made up of two elements, firstly a generic one which refers to a place or location along with a descriptive one of ‘moor’, ie. Dean Moor – meaning the moor of the settlement of Dean.  Others are formed by two descriptive elements such as ‘Broad Moor’ – meaning wide moor. Finally there are a couple of names made up of a personal element which consists of a surname and the descriptive element of ‘moor’ such as; Sanderscott Moor and Wilkey’s Moor.

BRENT MOOR SX 67        63  
BROAD MOOR SX 526     785  
BROADMOOR SX 684     598  
CLAY TOR MOOR SX 568     781  
DEAN MOOR SX 683     657  
DUNSTONE MOOR SX 716     751  
HARFORD MOOR SX 647     625  
HARTLAND MOOR SX 64         80  
HIGHER PREWLEY MOOR SX 54         89 AKA Sourton Common
HINTER MOOR SX 601     660 AKA Inner Moor and Inter Moor.
HOCKMOOR SX 728     675  
HOLNE MOOR SX 67         70  
INNER MOOR SX 601     660 AKA Inter Moor and Hinter Moor.
INNER STAL MOOR SX 63          62  
INTER MOOR SX 601     660 AKA Inner Moor and Hinter Moor.
LANGSTONE MOOR SX 55          78 AKA Launceston Moor
LAUNCESTON MOOR SX 55         78 AKA Langstone Moor
LEE MOOR SX 59         64  
LOWERY MOOR SX ???     ???  
MISTOR MOOR SX 56        75 Part of Walkhampton Common.
OUTER STAL MOOR SX 62         65  
PENN MOOR SX 60        63  
PREWLEY MOOR SX 543     907  
PUTTY MOOR SX 546     819  
ROWTER MOOR SX 61         79  
SANDERSCOTT MOOR SX ???     ??? Near Cosdon Beacon
SHADEN MOOR SX 547     636  
SHAUGH MOOR SX 57         64  
STALL MOOR SX 62         64  
STONE DOWN MOOR SX ???     ???  
STOOKY MOOR SX 56         79  
UGBOROUGH MOOR SX 65         61  
WELKERSMORE SX 6304 5854 AKA Wilkey’s Moor
WHELKERSMORE SX 6304 5854 AKA Wilkey’s Moor
WHITE MOOR SX 633     892  
WILKEY’S MOOR SX 6304 5854 AKA Whelkersmore, Welkersmore

There is another moor that strictly has no business on the page and that is ‘The Moor‘ which can be found at Ordnance Survey grid reference SX 586 741. Compared to most of the entries above this one is fairly modern, it is a British slang term for the infamous Dartmoor prison.


Clark Hall, J. R. 2004. A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Toronto: Toronto University Press.

Crossing, W. 1990. Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor. Newton Abbot: Peninsula Press.

Hemery, E. 1983. High Dartmoor. London: Hale Publishing.


About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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