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Aspects Of Dartmoor

Affluent or Effluent

At the Devon Quarter Assizes in the April of 1881 and interesting appeal was heard pertaining to a leat and whether or not it should be regarded as a tributary of the River Dart. Firstly what can be considered as a Dartmoor Leat? In simple Dartmoor terms Eric Hemery defined …

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Silver Foxes

Although a very contentious topic today the wearing of animal fur had for centuries been very much a fashion statement. Silver fox fur was amongst the most prized and popular kind, hardly any special social occasion would happen without the fur being worn as a fashion statement. If you read …

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Highwaymen of Dartmoor

  Today we have ‘mugging’ and ‘carjacking’ just over one hundred years ago both were classified as ‘highway robbery’. Today the thieves are after mobile phones, credit cards, cars etc. then they were robbing watches, cash, horses etc. Such villains thrived on and around the lonely highways and byways of …

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Dartmoor Improver

During the 1800s some landowners were of the belief that Dartmoor could produce lucrative crops and began an era of ‘improving’ the land. One of the early pioneers of this idea was Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt who advocated the growing of flax on his Tor Royal estate. Another such man was …

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White Nights 1924

Every now and then nature transforms Dartmoor into a spectacle of shimmering ice and frost which coats literally everything in a mantle of glistening ice crystals, on the moor this is known as ‘The Ammil’. This phenomenon occasionally occurs in other parts of the country but is normally regarded as …

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Before the days of modern machines and before the days of the steam engines one of the onerous processes of the harvest was separating the grains of corn from the husks, AKA ‘Chaff’. There were two ways of achieving this, either by threshing or winnowing. Threshing is officially defined as; …

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Dartmoor Peat Fire

“And then the peat fires! What fires can surpass them? They do not flame, but they glow, and diffuse an aroma that fills the lungs with balm… I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that cooking done over a peat fire surpasses cooking at the best club in …

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Dartmoor Clams


“There is a miniature alpine bridge that crosses the Walkham at its junction with the Tavy, near the spot just named; this consists of a single plank, with a light piece of wood extended as a hand-rail to hold by in passing. In one part the plank is supported by …

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Dartmoor Place Names

Place-Names – Toponymy: the study of the origin and history of names, and in this case the words that make up place-names.  In some circles the word ‘Toponym’ has replaced the word -place-names. I find this a fascinating subject and often when driving around I come across a strange village …

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Sunday in Dartmoor


Just imagine, it’s the late 1800s and a month ago you had just been ordained as a Catholic priest. You are enjoying your breakfast when out of the blue you get a request from your Bishop to go to the infamous Dartmoor Prison to conduct the Sunday service. The only …

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