I have just come back from a mini holiday to Devon with my family. For 2 of the days we visited Dartmoor National Park. It is a wonderful area and varies in landscape from thick forests, to vast open moorland, topped with amazing views. It is one of the few places in the UK where you can drive out into the middle of nowhere and look all around you and see not a single piece of evidence of human civilisation at all. In fact there are places I reckon where the most recent evidence of human habitation would be that of bronze age man!
The place is littered with ancient ruins of bronze age huts and other structures. There are old surface mines, burial chambers, and many interesting names that can be seen on the map of Dartmoor, that must hold a story behind them. Dartmoor has been left to nature largely, as if the modern human world has forgotten about it’s existence.
Dartmoor is also home to many amazing tors, or outcrops of rocks, shaped by thousands of years of erosion from the wind and rain. I have visited loads of these in my life, my favourite so far are Cox tor, which is on the edge of Dartmoor overlooking the town of Tavistock and Haytor, which with its sheer sides in its remote location, is the picture of the wilderness.
But the main reason I love Dartmoor is the feeling I get when I visit. On a fine day, I can stand on top of a tor and look out over the moor, down into the river valleys below and out beyond to the horizon and see nothing but nature. What is so amazing is that you can do this and not hear a sound. I mean it, you stand there and it is so quiet, and in our crazy modern lives it is strange to not hear anything other than the occasional bleat of a sheep or the cry of a buzzard. It gives you a feeling of wonder and peace, it is hard to explain but if you visit you will know what I mean. On a day when the weather closes in and surrounds you in a cloud of strong winds and mist, as it did on the second day of my visit, you get to see another side of the moors. I stood on top of Haytor, surrounded my thick mist, as if I was in a cloud, wind whipping around my legs and through my hair and I felt the huge power that the elements can have up there. it can make you feel strong, but also vulnerable as it is all to possible to be blown right off that rock!
As a geographer, I love the unspoiled nature of the place, it is very hard to find anything quite like it.
p.s. I also took these two videos, the one filmed in the mist is from the top of Haytor.
Sources and credits
All the photos in the gallery above were taken my me and therefore are owned my me.