An independent voice and a forum for debate for those who find Dartmoor a source of livelihood or inspiration


Special Train from Okehampton to Weymouth

Posted in Events on Monday 9th September 2019 at 7:31am

On Saturday 14th September OkeRail Forum is running a Charter Excursion train ‘Okehampton Castle’ (formed of a 5 coach former Inter-City 125 HST) from Okehampton, Crediton and Exeter St Davids to Weymouth on Saturday 14th September.

The train will depart from Okehampton at 0815, Crediton 0850 and Exeter St Davids 0908, arriving at Weymouth at 1145. Arrival back at Exeter St Davids at 1831, Crediton at 1842 and Okehampton at 1920, giving almost 5 hours in Weymouth.

The fares are £37 return Standard class with children at half price (£18.50) and First Class fares £52.50 adult / £26.25 child.

Please note the outbound train will arrive at Dorchester West at 1125 and drop off passengers, but will not pick up on the return journey. Passengers visiting Dorchester must make their own way from Dorchester South to Weymouth to board the return train to Okehampton which leaves at 1626. There is a frequent train service on this route.

A trolley service of refreshments will be provided on the train.

First class tickets are sold out, but Standard class are still available.

Buy Tickets Now

Back to top

Moorlands Farm Visit

Moorlands Farm Visit

Moorlands Farm Visit

Posted in Events on Monday 2nd September 2019 at 10:01pm

It was a clear, sunny afternoon on Monday 12th August and after all the recent rain we had been experiencing we were all highly delighted to be able to enjoy superb visibility on our visit to Moorlands Farm.

Our hosts were Layland and Gill Branfield and we were even more delighted when Layland suggested that our tour was to start at the Prince Hall Farm buildings which are now sadly in quite a sorry state but still made a very useful contribution to Layland and Gill’s story on Dartmoor.

After hearing their early farming life history, we set off on to the open moor where there were a number of highlights including some spectacular moorland views of nearby Tors such as Bellever and Skir Hill.

We also saw clear evidence of remains relating to the unique First World War aerial ropeway that moved logs and timber from the Brimpts Plantation to the railway at Princetown, as well as 4,000-year-old archaeology consisting of reaves, and four hut circles.

The whole afternoon was rounded off in Layland and Gill’s beautifully positioned garden where we tucked into delicious home-made cakes and copious amounts of tea and coffee.

It had been a thoroughly enlightening and most interesting afternoon.

Back to top

Dartmoor Society Barbecue at Langaford Farm

Dartmoor Society Barbecue at Langaford Farm

Dartmoor Society Barbecue at Langaford Farm

Posted in Events on Thursday 8th August 2019 at 9:19pm

36 Members braved some very wet conditions on Friday 19th July to attend the Dartmoor Society Annual Barbecue, held at Langaford Farm.

Fortunately, ten minutes after everyone arrived, the clouds parted and the rain stopped so it was agreed that this would be the ideal moment for Meghan Lowe, Community Engagement Officer at the Butterfly Conservation Trust to lead our walk with a Butterfly and Moth theme.

Thankfully a whole range of butterflies and local wildlife seized the moment, and all popped their heads out including baby frogs and we also saw some very elaborate Funnel Web Spider’s webs enhanced by the raindrops glistening on them.

Even the Langaford Trust Ponies wanted to get in on the act by being very inquisitive and sauntering up for a friendly nuzzle.

After nearly an hour of studying the wildlife in our beautiful tranquil surroundings we headed back to the barn and tucked into sausages and beef burgers made freshly for the event by T G Lang “Dartmoor Butchers” from Ashburton complimented with salads, quiches and yummy desserts prepared by the Executive Committee, quaffed down by our Members’ own favourite choice of “Tipple”.

A very good evening was had by all.

Back to top

Uncle Tom Cobley and All

“Uncle Tom Cobley and All” Event

Posted in Events on Tuesday 9th July 2019 at 10:05pm

On 13th September at 7pm at the Parish Rooms, Tavistock there will be an event with Dr Todd Gray MBE in association with Tavistock Branch & Music Section (Devonshire Association) and the Tavistock Subscription Library.

It promises to be an evening of word and song revealing the long and curious history of Devon’s anthem. Unknown variants of the ballad will be reintroduced, some after hundreds of years.

The evening is part of a four-week Devon-wide tour recreating Sabine Baring-Gould’s Costume Concert Lecture Tour in which he introduced ‘Widdicombe Fair’ to the world in 1888.

Tickets £5 at the door.

Back to top

Themed Talk on the Pinwill Sisters

Themed Talk on the Pinwill Sisters

Themed Talk on the Pinwill Sisters

Posted in Events on Tuesday 25th June 2019 at 10:11pm

The weather at the start of the afternoon of Friday 14th June was not very promising and it is true to say that for the last three weeks or so prior to this event it had been unseasonably wet. However it still didn’t put off 43 of our Members turning up for a real treat of a visit.

Richard Bayly, Church Warden at St Leonards, Sheepstor Church kindly provided us with tea, coffee and biscuits on arrival.

Dr Helen Wilson then gave a talk on the life and work of the Pinwill Sisters and in particular Violet Pinwill’s extensive catalogue, with carving created by her and her Sisters in an amazing 185 Churches, primarily located throughout Devon and Cornwall.

After Helen’s excellent presentation we moved on to Yelverton to St Paul’s where Richard Byrn is the Church Warden. At this Church Helen covered off some of the history of the Church as well as explaining about the various pieces of carving.

We then climbed the narrow, spiral, stone steps to the summit of the 65 foot high tower where at the top we were embraced in brilliant sunshine enabling us to take in the stunning Dartmoor views.

A thoroughly enjoyable event appreciated by all attendees.

Back to top

Burnicombe Wood Visit

Burnicombe Wood Visit

Burnicombe Wood Visit

Posted in Events on Monday 27th May 2019 at 9:31pm

The conditions on the morning of Monday 13th May 2019 were perfect. As we made our approach along what can only be described as very rural tracks, the crystal clear views across Dartmoor from a perspective that was totally new to us gave everyone a glimmer of the delights that was to await us.

On arrival our hosts John and Clare Williamson and their keen helper Jordan who had been studying conservation at Bangor University could not have given us a warmer welcome.

Burnicombe Wood consists of 10 acres of specified ancient woodland and their main focus revolves around conservation and preservation, ensuring that they protect the fantastic habitat and either use or sell whatever they produce. These items consist of hazel hurdles, bags of charcoal and by adding charcoal to manure they are able to create a hygroscopic fertiliser which John and Clare also sell.

We truly felt privileged whilst enjoying walking their land, and could not help but admire the spectacular flora and fauna which included a thick carpet of bluebells. The quality of this visit was extremely special and created an unforgettable event for all of us

Back to top

Tom Greeves with Tin Ingot
Chris Chapman

Lis Greeves presented with flowers by Peter Beacham
Chris Chapman

Tin Ingot

Powdermills Pottery Plate

Tom Greeves steps down as Chairman of The Dartmoor Society after 21 years

Posted in Press Releases on Sunday 28th April 2019 at 10:03pm

After 21 years at the helm, founder and chairman of the Dartmoor Society Tom Greeves presided over his last Dartmoor Society AGM at Scorriton Village Hall on 13th April. Members and well-wishers gathered for a heartfelt farewell to both Tom and his wife Lis.

Peter Beacham OBE, President of the Dartmoor Society, presented Tom with a specially commissioned Tin Ingot made from Devon and Cornwall tin mounted on locally harvested spalted Beech; and a Platter that had been commissioned from local potter Joss Hibbs using Dartmoor clays and glazes.

In a letter of thanks Tom wrote, ‘I am thrilled to have they reflect so much of my connection with, and interests in Dartmoor – prehistory, tinworking, craft skills and the Dartmoor Society itself’.

No mention of Tom would be complete without reference to his wife Lis who is held in great esteem by the committee and members for her knowledge and enthusiasm for Dartmoor and her huge contribution to the smooth running of the Dartmoor Society. She will be very genuinely missed.

After 21 busy and successful years Tom and Lis leave a permanent legacy. From the outset, the Dartmoor Society has been an independent voice for all those who live on Dartmoor, or are inspired by it. Its founding principles have been to encourage debate, foster research and share knowledge about issues central to Dartmoor.

The Dartmoor Resonance Music Festival in June 2018 spearheaded by Tom, is an example of the Dartmoor Society’s cultural contribution to the life of Dartmoor. Events and research such as the Gidleigh Common Day and resulting report in July 2018, attest to the wider involvement of the Dartmoor Society in current issues and debates.

Tom’s lifelong interest, understanding and love of Dartmoor has informed and guided the Dartmoor Society over the past 21 years. President Peter Beecham summed up his leaving as ‘one of life’s great moments’ and certainly the Dartmoor Society acknowledges with sincere gratitude the firm foundations that have been laid and the achievements gained, under his guidance, since its inception in 1998.

Back to top

Dartmoor Society Award 2019

Dartmoor Society Award 2019

22nd Dartmoor Society Award (2019) presented to Doug and Claire King-Smith

Posted in Press Releases on Sunday 28th April 2019 at 9:38pm

At the 21st Annual General Meeting of The Dartmoor Society, held at Scoriton on 13 April 2019, Dr Tom Greeves, retiring Chairman of The Dartmoor Society, presented Doug and Claire King-Smith with the 22nd Dartmoor Society Award (2019). It is in the form of a magnificent hand-crafted ceramic plate made by potter Penny Simpson and calligrapher Michael Edwards, both of Moretonhampstead.

The plate is inscribed ‘for Doug & Claire King-Smith for exemplary Hillyfield’.

Dr Tom Greeves said: “We had a Society visit to Hillyfield in May 2018 – a quiet mix of ancient and coniferous woodland and pasture, comprising 46 acres straddling the Harbourne river between South Brent and Dean Prior. All were hugely impressed with the dedication and achievements of Doug, Claire and their helpers in revitalising the ecology and potential of this woodland. Yet, for six years Dartmoor National Park Authority resisted their efforts to obtain planning permission for activities and structures associated with traditional woodland management, claiming that they were potentially harmful to the ‘character and appearance’ of the National Park.

“Happily, in April 2018, at an appeal hearing at which the Dartmoor Society was represented, the National Park backed down and Doug and Claire’s long-term plans are now in progress.
Hillyfield Woodland is an inspiration for all woodland owners, as it marries traditional, sustainable working practice, generating useful products and income, as carried on for centuries within Dartmoor woodland, with modern ideas about community and volunteer connection with the land, enhancing local economic and social well-being. It is an outstanding example of what could be replicated many times on Dartmoor and beyond.

“This is why I am delighted to present them with this beautiful plate handcrafted by Penny Simpson and Michael Edwards, and inscribed ‘for exemplary Hillyfield’.”

Back to top

Lower Uppacott visit

Lower Uppacott visit

Higher Uppacott Visit

Posted in Events on Saturday 13th April 2019 at 7:04am

Two visits instead of one! This was the situation on Wednesday 27th March 2019 when we visited the newly restored Higher Uppacott Grade I listed Medieval Longhouse.

The original visit was timed for 2pm, however due to a large number of Members wishing to attend, the DNPA kindly agreed to provide a second tour scheduled in the morning at 11.30. The weather was perfect and the views from Bel Tor Corner Car Park where we were all meeting to do car sharing were superb.

The restoration of the Longhouse is very much a work in progress and these improvements have been funded by the “Moor Than Meets The Eye” heritage lottery project.

Our guide Ralph Mackridge was extremely knowledgeable and escorted us into the “Shippon,” and through the “Hall”, into what is described as “the inner room”. We also saw the “Parlour” and after being split into two groups we made our way up the much later constructed staircase to a couple of upstairs rooms which would have been primarily used as bedrooms. It was a truly fascinating and very informative day.

Back to top

Note: The copyright of the articles on this page belongs to The Dartmoor Society (unless otherwise stated).