Thursday, 30 June 2011


Safely in Plymouth. We went for a drive up onto Dartmoor today, a stop at The Plume of Feathers at Princetown was deemed essential as part of any trip to that esteemed town.

This was always the walkers pub, full of damp people with mud on their boots and coats that steamed in front of the fire, noted for excellent beer and hearty food such as hamburgers and chips and the good old west country staple, the pasty. Today it was full of smartly dressed, elderly couples indulging in a Trio of Smoked Fish and Roast Pork Belly with apple mash at eye watering prices. Mind you the beer was still good and the food was excellent, just that the whole atmosphere was gone, shame but I suppose that's what they call progress.
Other buildings remain,

this is the High Moorland Visitor Centre, originally the Duchy Hotel and then the prison officers social club, certainly had a varied life. Of course one building dominates the whole town, indeed it is the reason for the towns existence,

Dartmoor Prison, long the most feared gaol in the land, now just cat.C prisoners and all the comforts of home.

The entrance to the infamous quarry where those miscreants sentenced to hard labour would spend long days pointlessly reducing blocks of Dartmoor granite to gravel just using sledge hammers, now long disused.

Just a couple of the many Tors that are such a feature of the high moor, weathered stumps of ancient volcanic activity and off in the distance

the conical hill of Brent Tor with the tiny church of St. Michael de Rupe perched on top.

I borrowed this picture, but it gives an idea of the size. The hill is solid granite and in the past they had to use gunpowder to blast the graves as digging was impossible.
We stopped at Pork Hill car park for an ice cream and to take in the view, on a clear day you can see far into   Cornwall,

unfortunately today was not overly clear.
Since moving onto Armadillo Dartmoor is about the only thing I really miss, its thousands of years of human habitation has shaped but not altered the brooding presence that is The Moor.

Watch this space.........

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