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Bird Placenames

Bird Placenames

Somebody recently wrote and asked how many place-names on Dartmoor are named after or associated with birds. Having trawled through the database the following list was arrived at, there are more but in cases where there are several examples of a name, ie Eagle Rock, just one entry has been included. The same goes with place-names that that have a prefix of Higher, Lower, Great, Little or such similar descriptives. Without question there are numerous other bird place-names which are not included in my database or have simply been forgotten, if you know of any more please let me know and I can add it to this list.

Name OS Grid Ref. Description
Buzzard’s View SX ???? ???? Somewhere above Canonteign House
Chaw Gully SX 6880 8091 A mining gully
Cocks Tor SX 3510 7620 A natural granite outcrop
Crane Lake SX 6051 6852 A stream in Hooper’s Gully
Crow Tor SX 6070 7871 A natural granite outcrop
Cuckoo Rock SX 6383 6014 A natural granite outcrop
Drossell Stone SX 7733 7264 A boundstone on the Buckland bounds, dialect word for a thrush
Drakeford Bridge SX 7895 8012 A packhorse bridge over the River Bovey
Ducks Pool SX 6240 6791 A boggy tract of drained moorland
Eagle Rock SX 6186 8871 A natural granite outcrop
Fieldfare Head SX 6592 6964 An alternative name for Filfer Head boundstone
Goose Pool SX 6830 7280 A boggy tract south-west of Sharp Tor
Hawks Hollow SX 5613 8932 An area of tin mining pits
Hawks Tor SX 5522 6252 A natural granite outcrop
Hen Tor SX 5933 6530 A natural granite outcrop
Hen’s Burrow SX 7356 7352 A Bronze Age cairn and a point on the Buckland bounds
Hensroost Gully SX 6543 7020 An old tin mining gully
Heronry, The SX 6561 7702 A site where herons once nested
Jay’s Grave SX 7322 7991 A suicides grave
Kestrel SX 6932 7171 A rock climb on Bench Tor
Lake of Cranes SX 6030 8580 An alternative name for Cranmere Pool
Larkham Wood SX 7035 6571 A natural woodland
Little Rooster Rock SX 6771 6712 A natural granite outcrop
Magpie Bridge SX 5040 7036 A Bridge across the river Walkham
Owley Bridge SX 6773 5995 A bridge across the Glaze Brook
Peregrine Fur Farm SX 7710 8930 A one-time fur farm
Raven Tor SX 7470 7561 A natural granite outcrop
Rock of Doves SX 5388 6380 An alternative name for the Dewerstone, a natural granite outcrop
Rook Tor SX 6026 6183 A natural granite outcrop
Rookery Brook SX 8165 8604 A natural watercourse
Sanduck Cross SX 7663 8354 A wayside cross
Swallow Ford SX 5469 7442 A fording place on the River Walkham
Swanaford SX 8210 8841 A residence named after a nearby ford
Thrushelcombe SX 5900 6712 A shallow combe
Wild Goose SX 6764 7650 A residence
Woodcock Hill SX 5561 8762 A natural eminence

It may seem an obvious question but why where these places named after birds? Common sense would dictate that these were places where the bird named in the place-name tended to be found. By and large this is the case but there are a few exceptions, for example Crow Tor is so called because its shape is supposed to resemble that of a sitting crow. The original name of Hen Tor was Hyndetorr or ‘Hinds Tor’, Sanduck is a classic example as originally it would have been Sandhulke, the word hulke deriving from the Old English word holc which means ‘a hollow’ thus giving a ‘sandy hollow’.

On the other hand names which could well appear as poetic license such as Owley Bridge turn out to be perfectly suited to the bird theme as the original place-name was Hululeg which translates as ‘Owl Wood’.


About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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