Dartmoor in Devon is one of the most stunning areas of natural beauty in all of Britain. For centuries, people have flocked to Dartmoor to see its picturesque landscape, but there is so much more to Dartmoor than meets the eye.
Here are ten engaging facts about the beautiful wide-open space that lies in the heart of Devon: Dartmoor.
Dartmoor is a National Treasure
The Forest of Dartmoor is owned by the Duke of Cornwall and is preserved under his protection as a small, privately owned area of the National Park. This Ministry of Defence also owns a portion of the park and has used parts of Dartmoor as a firing range for more than 200 years.
Dartmoor Has a Long and Rich History
Some of Europe’s oldest stone formations still exist in Dartmoor. The National Park protects standing stone circles, rows, and cairns known as Drizzlecombe, Scorhill, Challacombe, and Beardown Man.
Dartmoor Has a Geological Heritage
The hilltops of Dartmoor are made from granite and are called ‘tors’, and the word tor can be found in the names of more than 150 hills within Dartmoor National Park. The granite underneath Dartmoor was formed more than 280 million years ago.
Dartmoor is Full of Stone Age Settlements
Dartmoor is one of the most important Bronze Age archaeological sites in Western Europe, with over 5,000 settlements discovered in the National Park. These small circular and oval depressions in the ground are evidence of small villages that existed in Dartmoor in the 2nd Century BC.
Explore at Dartmoor
There are plenty of activities you can take part in at Dartmoor, including kayaking and hiking, but even if you just want a pleasant walk, Dartmoor National Park has you covered, with over 400 miles of public footpaths and rights of way.
The National Park is Full of Wildlife
You can find free-ranging ponies wandering in the park, as well as weasels, badgers, and rabbits in their burrows. There are also several groups of deer that call the park home, and sheep that come to the park to graze from nearby farms.
More Than Just a Park, A Farm Too
Most of Dartmoor is used as farmland at some point through the year, with over a third used as common grazing land for sheep, cattle, and the roaming ponies.
Dartmoor is Filled with Myth and Legend
Dartmoor is home to many myths and legends and has been said to be home to pixies and fairies, as well as being haunted by a pack of ghostly hounds and a headless horseman.
Dartmoor Inspired Many Artistic Works
Dartmoor’s tranquility and beauty have inspired painters, authors, and songwriters for centuries. The National Park is the setting for the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, and it is also where Harry Potter’s Quidditch World Cup was held.
Many Towns and Village are a Part of Dartmoor
There are many towns in Dartmoor National Park, including Christow, Yelverton, and Buckfastleigh. The Park is also the home of nearly 3,000 listed buildings and more than 1,000 scheduled monuments.
With so much to see and do in Dartmoor, it is no wonder people have flocked to its outstanding natural beauty for thousands of years - and continue to do so today!
It won't be long and we will all be able to visit this stunning part of Devon!