“The Clearest way into the Universe is through a forest of Wilderness” – John Muir
Dartmoor situated in southern Devon, England is a 368 square miles of protected National Park. It is a moorland which is home to a large number of flora and fauna. Some which is indigenous to this area. It is open for general public to enjoy its natural beauty.
Opening Times: It opens daily from 10 AM to 5PM (4PM in winters). Easily accessible by road as well as by bus, it’s a great place to go to for a great time in nature. It also has some great places to camp as well as designated spots for motor homes.
Wildlife: Dartmoor has some of the most exquisite flora and fauna. Some of them are Dartmoor ponies, rabbits, foxes, otters, badgers, grey squirrels, weasels, stoats, hares and deer. Dartmoor has also given its name to two species of Sheep, the WhiteFace Dartmoor and the Greyface Dartmoor. Dartmoor also provides an ecosystem for some of the very rare birds on the planet.
History: Dartmoor has been inhabited by settlers as early as the prehistoric period and then again in the early Mediaeval period. It has a number of historic sites as well which are today great tourist attractions. Chief among them are the Menhirs or Standing stones which are scattered across the Dartmoor. “Upper Erme” for instance is the longest stone row in the world. Also there are 5000 stone huts which have survived over centuries.
Activities: There are a number of activities which can be carried out in Dartmoor. Some of them are:
- Visiting Attractions
- Nature Treks
Conservation: Even though it allows public access, Dartmoor encourages wildlife and conservation. It has 28 key species, which have been identified for conservation. Some of them are threatened globally and others that are popular and still widespread.
Myths and Legends: As any other place that has seen its share of visitors as much as Dartmoor has, it has acquired many legends and ghost stories over the years. From headless men to the devil himself visiting the residents, it has it all. It is said that it was Dartmoor that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the Hounds of Baskerville.
In Popular Culture: The movie “We Brought a Zoo” starring everyone’s favourite Matt Damon is based on the story of Benjamin Mee and his family who decided to buy the Dartmoor Wildlife Park, a dilapidated zoo on the verge of closing and decided to restore it and helped it re-open as Dartmoor Zoological Park.