Dartmoor National Park Local Customs

  • Dairy Farm Just Outside Ilsington
    Dairy Farm Just Outside Ilsington
    by johngayton
  • Model of HMS Dartmoor at the Imperial War Museum
    Model of HMS Dartmoor at the Imperial...
    by grayfo
  • Dartmoor Pony
    Dartmoor Pony
    by freya_heaven

Most Recent Local Customs in Dartmoor National Park

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    HMS Dartmoor

    by grayfo Written Jun 18, 2014

    Hunt-class Minesweeper

    Hunt Class minesweeping sloop built by Dunlop Bremner was of the early Belvoir group and designed by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company. They were classed as Fleet Minesweeping Sloops; ships that were intended to clear open water. The Belvoir group were originally named after British fox hunts. However, they were soon renamed after inland locations to prevent confusion caused by the misunderstanding of signals and orders. The Dartmoor was launched in March 1917 and sold for scrap in November 1923.

    Model of HMS Dartmoor at the Imperial War Museum
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    Farming On The Moor

    by johngayton Updated May 11, 2014

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    Despite Dartmoor's reputation as a wilderness about 90% of the land within the National Park is in fact farmland, and has been for about 4,000 years. I too was surprised to discover this, even after I'd lived on the moor for a couple of years and had gotten to know many of the farmers.

    Much of the land is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and the farms are mostly tenancies. On the High Moor the tenants are allowed to enclose a set plot of land, known as a Newtake, which should be sufficient for the wintering of their livestock. Outside of the Newtakes the moor is common land where grazing is shared. Only on the fringes of the National Park is the land suitable for arable and dairy farming, whilst on the Middle and High Moor the sheep and cattle are bred for meat with the lambs and calves mostly sold in the autumn for fattening elsewhere.

    The ponies, which appear to be wild, are also all owned by the various farmers. The pure bred Dartmoor Ponies were originally working animals for the various mining operations and as farm animals. These days they are bred as riding ponies, usually as children's mounts, and sold as yearlings or younger. Because of the limited demand the number of ponies has decreased dramatically in recent years from about 30,000 in the 1930's to about 3,000 today. The National Park Authority has therefore had to work alongside the farmers, along with the introduction of grants and subsidies, to not only ensure a stable population but also to maintain the breed.

    The link below is the DNPA factsheet:

    Dairy Farm Just Outside Ilsington
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    The Dartmoor Pony

    by freya_heaven Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    There are roughly 3000 hardy wild ponies on Dartmoor, all owned by someone and are left to roam the moors as they please. There have been ponies on Dartmoor since at least the 10th century with evidence they may have been there even as early as 2000 BC. Many used for working in the old tin miles, granite railway & even for the Dartmoor Prison wardens to ride on in the 1800 - 1900s.

    Every year there is a pony market when many are sold off for their meat and also many people buy then as pets. They are ridiculously cheap to buy, some years less than £10.00 each!

    Never feed the ponys, it can make them ill & too dependent on humans, most are very friendly & will let you approach them.

    Dartmoor Pony
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    Monastic Crosses

    by freya_heaven Updated Jan 4, 2005

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    These wonderful Monastic crosses are dotted across Dartmoor. They were put here to guide the monks across the moor to and from the Abbys at Buckfast, Tavistock & Buckland, also travellers used them in the absence of paths, you could always see one cross from the last. Today it is a popular trail for walkers too.

    These crosses vary greatly in age from as little a 100 years old to some being over 1000 years. You will see them in many different stages of decay from a granite stump to a full blown cross as in the photo.

    This is Hawsons Cross near Holne, one of the arms was was broken off by a wagon wheel but was restored in 1952.

    Hawsons Cross, sorry it blends in to the tree!
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    Fox Hunting

    by freya_heaven Written Jan 3, 2005

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    Fox hunting is native to England not really just to Dartmoor, but this is where we came across this hunt. Those of you who know me will know I am obviously very against fox hunting, they way the exhausted fox dies being ripped apart by a pack of dogs is just awful. Why these people are not content with drag hunting (a scent is laid for the hounds instead) is beyond me. This is a very controversial subject here in England at the moment with many clashes both vocal & violent between the pro & anti hunt lobbiers.

    All that said, 30 to 40 people on horseback cantering at you down the road in hunt dress, with as many dogs with the hunting horn blowing is a sight to see.

    The Hunt
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    • Horse Riding

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Dartmoor National Park Local Customs

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