Dartmoor – following in Sherlock Holmes’ footsteps to the mysterious wetlands in the heart of Devon

Trip to Devonshire. Part 3, Babbacombe, Dartmoor and entertainment.

Trip to Devonshire. Part 3, Babbacombe, Dartmoor and entertainment.

Every time we go on a tour or trip, we meet under this tree.

It’s very convenient, right under the Ferris wheel. While folks are gathering, we’re on the shore of the bay relaxing.

A trip to Dartmoor Heath, or Darthmour Heath in English, is announced.

It’s an area 130 kilometers from Torquay, which is a climatic national park.

30% of the area is taken up by unforested bogs at an altitude of over 365m above sea level, covered with a thick peat layer.

On these heights there are scattered flat granite blocks from 10 to 600 meters high.

From the tops of these hills one can enjoy extraordinary views.

In the Middle Ages the whole area of Dartmoor was declared a royal hunting ground. Dartmoor is home to a group of semi-wild Dartmoor Ponies, Britain’s oldest pony race, which still graze on the moors.

On the hilltops, archaeologists have found sanctuaries of the long-gone Devon Celtic people and fortifications dating back to the Iron Age.

The peculiarly bleak beauty of the heathlands and marshes was often used by English writers and poets to create a romantic/dramatic atmosphere. The events of N. Carrington’s poem Dartmoor and the novels of Eden Philpotts take place here. But the most detailed description of Dartmoor’s beauty is in Richard Blackmore’s novel Lorna Doon. In it, even individual plot twists rely on the peculiarities of the local landscape. Most popular, however, is Arthur Conan Doyle’s description of the moors in his acclaimed tale The Hound of the Baskervilles .

He has Dartmoor, Grimpen Moor, the surroundings of Bovey Tracy and the surrounding villages as one of his important characters.

The fugitive convict and Sherlock Holmes himself hid in the caves of the ancient Celts on such hills. In the heart of the swamps on a stone island the villain Stapleton kept his dog. And it was on the path among the marshes that Sir Henry Baskerville was walking when the dog attacked him.

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This town of Bovey Tracy supposedly housed most of the characters in the detective story, only in reality Baskerville Hall is not nearby.

But in Bovey Tracy is the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

All in all, it was a great trip! Everyone immediately wanted to read Dog of the Baskervilles. And the girls also wanted to read Lorna Doon.

One day we took a bus to the remote Babbacombe area. The area used to be a resort town and was famous for its hotels. And now it is part of the city of Torquay.

The hotels are lined up along this bluff.

The famous Babbacombe Beach is below the cliff.

Here, on the bluff, Italian and Spanish kids were actively playing soccer. And my lazy kids and the two Chinese women who joined them were lying on the grass and speculating about the beauty of the landscape.

The way down to the beach was by picturesque stone passages, very romantic.

The beach itself was practically empty: the water was cold that day, and it was a little late for sunbathing.

On the right there were cabins for changing clothes, and behind them there was a cable car.

Some people walked back up, but I decided that my health was more important, so I took the cable car for twenty pence.

It was a good walk, and I remembered at length the beautiful view from the cliff.

Another day off was spent on a trip to the local amusement park . It is located near the village of Cockington, almost on the outskirts of town. In addition to the usual many and varied attractions, which the kids rushed to at a frightening rate, there is something like an eco-village.

That is, pets like this local breed of goat live and walk around in pens.

Here we finally got to see the local Dartmoor Ponies, of which we heard a lot on our trip to Dartmoor Nature Reserve.

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Here’s a cheeky peacock that kept crossing the road.

Special mention must go to the large Catch-Bird Pavilion. The vast majority of the birds were of Russian or Central Asian origin.

This is Tundra , polar owl. The sign on the cage was Tundra Snow Owl .

As the trainer told us they have good connections with Russian nurseries. The two big eagles were named Rasputin and Katerina. The man had to give a lesson in Russian history, during which a small crowd of interested visitors gathered. Then long thanked and bowed.

Bear – a very intelligent and obedient owl, took part in Falconry demonstrations . Translated as Falconry, but in fact – a display of bird training, a common attraction in England.

I’m not very fond of such entertainment, so I just rested. But the kids had a lot of fun!

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