Saturday , July 20 2024



Very often on Dartmoor you will come across a hole, well that must be an obvious statement but these holes are no ordinary holes. You will not see a black gaping chasm that leads down into the very bowels of the earth, in fact you won’t see an aperture of any size. So what is all the fuss about? simply this, Dartmoor Holes can be some of the most picturesque, secluded, and peaceful spots on the moor.

William Crossing describes a ‘hole’ as being the name sometimes given to the head of a combe but more often to the narrow part of a river valley. Hemery simply says that they are miniature gorges. Probably the largest and more famous hole is ‘Tavy Hole’ as this is often visited when walking in the Tavy Cleave. Some of the holes take their names from personal names such as Creaber’s, Gawler’s, Herne Hole and Kitts Hole. Others have adopted the names of nearby farmsteads like Cator, Jurston, Loughtor, and Manga Hole. Many are called after the waters that run through them, Broad Amicombe, Dart, Metheral, and Tavy Hole being such examples. Occasionally they are named after a legend such as Hangman’s Hole and Smuggler’s Hole. Whilst several have taken names from physical features like Sandy Hole, Broad Hole, Middle Hole, and Black Hole.


Below is a list of many of the Dartmoor Holes, this is by no means extensive but it has been compiled over the years from many sources.


Name OS Grid Ref.   Name OS Grid Ref.
BLACK HOLE SX 5731 7820   HIGHER HOLE SX 8160 8513
BLACK HOLE SX 582     845   HORSE HOLE SX 601     801
BLACK HOLE SX 6125 8290   JURSTON HOLE SX 6930 8310
BLACK TOR HOLE SX 5740 7149   KITT’S HOLE SX 5172 8454
BLACKATON HOLE SX 6485 9092   LOUGH TOR HOLE SX 663     757
BRAKE HOLE SX 710     763   MANGA HOLE SX 6400 8518
BROAD HOLE SX 5915 7860   MIDDLE HOLE SX 8169 8534
BROADUN HOLE SX 6735 8143   MUCKS HOLE SX 648     945
CATOR HOLE SX 685     762   NIPPER’S HOLE SX 580     795
CORN HOLE SX 555     898   POT HOLE SX 7426 6691
CRAD HOLE SX 679     661   ROUNDERS HOLE SX 6649 6924
CREABER’S HOLE SX 5893 9157   SANDY HOLE SX 621     815
CUTTY HOLE SX 710     763   SKIT’S HOLE SX 517     844
DART HOLE SX 606     785   SMUGGLERS HOLE SX 6395 6293
DOCKWELL HOLE SX 697     643   SNOWDON HOLE SX 6730 6810
FOX HOLES SX 605     785   STONEY HOLE SX 629     669
GAWLER’S HOLE SX 623     793   TAVY HOLE SX 580     820
HANGMAN’S HOLE SX 672     715   WILDBANKS HOLE SX 608     807
HARTOR HOLE SX 604     920   WOOD HOLE SX 633     857
HERNE HOLE SX 581     746      

Some of the above will be named on the current Ordnance Survey maps whilst others have never been part of the cartographers labours, they only exist in distant memory and old documents.

About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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