Dartmoor History

Dartmoor History

Description

History fans staying in Dartmoor holiday cottages will find no end of Dartmoor heritage to explore right on their doorstep! Dartmoor sprawls for 365 square miles, and its history encompasses prehistoric huts, industrial heritage and a famous prison!

Mining & Quarrying

Dartmoor has been mined for tin for hundreds of years, and the area’s significance to the industry has left its mark on the landscape to be seen today. Dartmoor is strewn with leftovers from the days when tin and copper were mined, and many of the walks to choose from pass former mining areas, tracks and buildings.

Records trace Dartmoor tin mining back to the 12 Century, although it is widely believed that it actually dates back to prehistoric times. Now disused and silent, Dartmoor’s quarries supplied the granite for some of England’s most famous buildings, including London Bridge. The Templer Way walk follows the transportation route of granite from Haytor Quarries to Teignmouth via a stone railroad

Grimspound Prehistoric Settlement

Grimspound can be found between Hookney Tor and Hameldown, and is the clearest evidence of prehistoric residents on Dartmoor. The remains of 24 round huts lie within a perimeter wall that would have enclosed the prehistoric inhabitants.

Speculation over the settlement’s original purpose has been rife for generations, with theories including a defensive role, although the most popular is that the once thick wall was used to cage cattle for a herding settlement.

Grimspound is very often cloaked in mist, so those planning to visit it should take an extra layer even if the day seems fine.

Letterboxing on Dartmoor

Letterboxing was born in 1854 when a bottle was placed at Cranmere Pool by a Dartmoor guide who urged hikers who reached it to leave a token marking their achievement. In the 1900’s, the pursuit developed and a tin box replaced the bottle and a visitor’s book was placed at the site.

The Western Morning News donated a granite box in 1937, and the second spot was created the following year at Duck’s Pool. Soon clues were emerging for many other letterboxes around the moor, and a new hobbie was created! Today, thousands of letterboxes are well-hidden across Dartmoor, and letterboxers use a rubber stamp and visitor’s book to record each one they find.

Dartmoor Prison

Originally a prison for Napoleonic prisoners in 1806, Dartmoor Prison remains open and is recognisable by its foreboding granite walls from miles away. High on Dartmoor, Princetown is still home to many of the prison guards and their families, and the town’s dairy building now houses the fascinating Dartmoor Prison Museum.

The prison’s isolated location and bleak surroundings have contributed to its dramatic reputation, although it is largely used for non-violent offenders these days. The Dartmoor Prison Heritage Centre is located just yards from the prison itself, and offers a deeper insight into the prison’s intriguing past. The centre is open all year round.

History fans staying in Dartmoor holiday cottages will find no end of Dartmoor heritage to explore right on their doorstep! Dartmoor sprawls for 365 square miles, and its history encompasses prehistoric huts, industrial heritage and a famous prison!

Mining & Quarrying

Dartmoor has been mined for tin for hundreds of years, and the area’s significance to the industry has left its mark on the landscape to be seen today. Dartmoor is strewn with leftovers from the days when tin and copper were mined, and many of the walks to choose from pass former mining areas, tracks and buildings.

Records trace Dartmoor tin mining back to the 12 Century, although it is widely believed that it actually dates back to prehistoric times. Now disused and silent, Dartmoor’s quarries supplied the granite for some of England’s most famous buildings, including London Bridge. The Templer Way walk follows the transportation route of granite from Haytor Quarries to Teignmouth via a stone railroad

Grimspound Prehistoric Settlement

Grimspound can be found between Hookney Tor and Hameldown, and is the clearest evidence of prehistoric residents on Dartmoor. The remains of 24 round huts lie within a perimeter wall that would have enclosed the prehistoric inhabitants.

Speculation over the settlement’s original purpose has been rife for generations, with theories including a defensive role, although the most popular is that the once thick wall was used to cage cattle for a herding settlement.

Grimspound is very often cloaked in mist, so those planning to visit it should take an extra layer even if the day seems fine.

Letterboxing on Dartmoor

Letterboxing was born in 1854 when a bottle was placed at Cranmere Pool by a Dartmoor guide who urged hikers who reached it to leave a token marking their achievement. In the 1900’s, the pursuit developed and a tin box replaced the bottle and a visitor’s book was placed at the site.

The Western Morning News donated a granite box in 1937, and the second spot was created the following year at Duck’s Pool. Soon clues were emerging for many other letterboxes around the moor, and a new hobbie was created! Today, thousands of letterboxes are well-hidden across Dartmoor, and letterboxers use a rubber stamp and visitor’s book to record each one they find.

Dartmoor Prison

Originally a prison for Napoleonic prisoners in 1806, Dartmoor Prison remains open and is recognisable by its foreboding granite walls from miles away. High on Dartmoor, Princetown is still home to many of the prison guards and their families, and the town’s dairy building now houses the fascinating Dartmoor Prison Museum.

The prison’s isolated location and bleak surroundings have contributed to its dramatic reputation, although it is largely used for non-violent offenders these days. The Dartmoor Prison Heritage Centre is located just yards from the prison itself, and offers a deeper insight into the prison’s intriguing past. The centre is open all year round.

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