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

News From November 2016

Dartmoor Society Research Lecture 2016

Dartmoor Society Research Lecture 2016

Posted in Events on Thursday 17th November 2016 at 11:51pm

Over 80 people, both members and non-members, attended this year’s Dartmoor Society Research Lecture entitled “The Dartmoor Conchies” – Dartmoor Prison’s Conscientious Objectors of the Great War, presented by Simon Dell MBE.

Simon gave us a truly fascinating insight on the subject and included themed war posters from the era as well as many authentic photographs of Princetown Prison and the surrounding area which brought this important story to life.

Simon has researched material on the “Conchies” for over ten years and the culmination of all this work is to be presented with the launch of his new book which is taking place in March 2017 at the Dartmoor Prison’s Museum.

After the talk everyone socialised whilst tucking into a delicious buffet spread, ably provided by Robert and his team at the Dolphin Hotel, Bovey Tracey. It was truly a very memorable evening.

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Winneys Down Mires Project

Dartmoor Society Debate - "Return to the Wildwood? Is Rewilding the future for Dartmoor?"

Posted in Events on Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 11:42pm

It was a first for the Dartmoor Society on Saturday 29th October when a record 116 people attended a very special Dartmoor Society Debate entitled “Return to the Wildwood? Is Rewilding the future for Dartmoor?” at Meldon Village Hall.

Matthew Kelly, author of “Quartz and Feldspar”, was our Chairman for the day and did a fantastic job of introducing and summing up speakers as well as inviting people to either make comments or observations.

Our excellent speakers included Robert Cook; Lecturer in Education for Sustainability, Plymouth University “Just How Wild Should We Be?”; Ann Willcocks; Dartmoor Farmer and Commoner “Why Bother”; Peter Taylor who has written a book entitled “Beyond Conservation” where he used Dartmoor as an example for possible rewilding.

Finally our very own Chairman Dr Tom Greeves; Cultural Environmentalist presented on “8000 years of culture in an upland environment ­ the elephant in the room?”.

A fabulous lunch was supplied by “The Original Pasty House” in Tavistock and tea was supplied by the Dartmoor Society Committee. There was a varying wide range of views on the day and the subject was analysed from a number of angles including “What might be the result if trees replaced open moorland or cultivated fields?”, “How would Dartmoor’s farming culture change, and how have recent conservation strategies already forced farmers to adapt to a form of rewilding?”.

The weather was a beautiful Autumnal day which meant that in the break times everyone was able to retreat outside and enjoy the stunning Dartmoor air and views. Everyone agreed that it had been a truly stimulating, educational and thoroughly enjoyable day.

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PCWW Stones Restoration Day

PCWW Stones Restoration Day

PCWW Stones Restoration Day

Posted in Events on Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 11:35pm

On Tuesday 18th October 2016 seven eager Dartmoor Society volunteers, namely Tom and Elisabeth Greeves, Barrie Quilliam, Tanya and Barry Welch who brought along some of their tools, Simon Booty and Alex Booty who kindly brought their Land Rover as well as some tools, all met at the start of the track to Nun’s Cross Farm. The purpose was to complete the conservation work relating to the three remaining PCWW (Plymouth Corporation Water Works) standing stones.

Special thanks must go to Graham Colton for the use of his tractor and trailer and his tractor driver Mark Cole whose help was truly invaluable.

In 2017 it will be the 100th year Anniversary of the original erection of these stones and the Dartmoor Society felt that it was important to restore them to their former glory prior to their anniversary ensuring that they are all standing upright and not waterlogged, etc.

Sadly due to the excessive rain we had all experienced over the previous few days it transpired that after reaching the third and final stone to be repaired, sited towards Eylesbarrow, both the tractor and trailer unfortunately got wedged in soft ground and proved to be totally stuck.

A very special thank you must go to Simon and Alex Booty who went all the way back to their Farm at Sherril and then returned to the site with their own tractor and trailer to assist with the situation.

After transferring the growan/subsoil from Mark’s trailer into the other trailer by hand and then attaching chains to the front of Mark’s tractor we were then able to gently pull Mark’s tractor and trailer to firmer ground.

The Dartmoor Society is greatly indebted to everyone involved with this project, and thanks to the restoration work carried out on the PCWW stones on three separate occasions this important work is now complete.

Next year the Dartmoor Society will be arranging a special walking event with the stones as the centrepiece in order to celebrate this vital part of Dartmoor history.

Write-ups regarding the two previous work days are available under ‘Archives’ dated 27th October 2015 with an automatic link to the project day prior, which had taken place on 2nd October 2014.

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