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 AMICOMBE HOLE||SX 578 863||METHERAL HOLE||SX 622 892|
|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.