Friday, 11 January 2013

Dartmoor reflections

Northmore's Cross
I will miss Dartmoor when we move. I can't believe how much the rugged, wild landscapes have got under my skin. The Curate and I have retreated there when times were tough. We could stand and stare at the outstretched country below us and remind ourselves that whatever was troubling us was only a moment in time and time passes. And so it did - and we learnt so much during this second half of The Curate's curacy.

We have discovered so many different faces to Dartmoor. We have seen the changes with each season and experienced the seemingly endless rain that we have all had this year. What was new for us, was to see how it affected those who lived and worked on Dartmoor and how it was such a threat to their livelihoods. The Curate has been drawn into farming families at times of funerals and he has had glimpses of the farming life that has been passed down from one generation of the family to the next. Quad bikes have replaced ponies and paperwork has halted bartering. TB testing dominates life for weeks at a time but the essence of life in a remote moorland farm, remains the same.
Riding round Fox Tor Mires
Riding across Dartmoor has given us yet another view of this wild place. I never thought that I would be able to ride as much as I have done and I have met people who have shown me parts of  Dartmoor that I would never have found on my own in the short time we have had here. Earlier this week we rode beside the Fox Tor Mires - this is an exposed area of treacherous boggy moorland that you do not cross. It said that it could be as deep as twenty foot in places. There you will find a granite cross which is said to be the tomb of a wealthy Saxon Lord, Childe the Hunter. The Mires are said to have been the inspiration for The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arther Conan Doyle.   We were making our way up Hand Hill to see one of the smallest crosses on Dartmoor - Northmore's Cross. It is just 11 cm tall and is placed on a triangular granite rock in 1982 by Mr Northmore  who had farmed the area for years. He was marking his appreciation of having lived and worked in the area.

Dartmoor has certainly become a very important part of my journey alongside The Curate. The landscapes, the wild skies and the people, have all made creases in my life that will not be ironed out. It has taught me that my heart is in the countryside and I now need to explore this as we begin our new life in Dorset next month.


  1. I don't know where you are going in Dorset, but I find parts of it are just as thrilling as the moor. I grew up there and now live in Plymouth, so can make the comparison! I hope you find yourself settled in Dorset more quickly than you imagine ... and Devon isn't so far away. Every blessing x

  2. The south west was always a real trek for us to visit from Yorkshire but I loved every bit I visited. It's lovely when a place really gets under your skin, even if you have to leave it, as it stays there forever. Enjoy discovering your new home too. You have some beautiful memories of Devon to take with you. Axxx

  3. These wide, wild places are addictive, Harriet, and once they have cast their spell on you, you never really break free. i don't know Dartmoor, but I grew up on the western edge of the Pennines and now live in Wales and visit the Highlands and experience the same fascination and pull to all three landscapes. Your photos of Dartmoor have been a real joy for your followers and I look forward to your exploration of Dorset.

  4. This is such a beautiful post. I have thoroughly enjoyed Dartmoor vicariously via your blog, and really look forward to seeing and reading about Dorset.