Monday, March 28, 2016

Good Friday 2016, Dartmoor National Park

Since the 9th grader kicked off her spring break Good Friday, and the husband had a four day weekend due to a bank holiday on Monday, we opted to do a bit of touring through the southwest of England. We started the day early on Friday by driving to Dartmoor National Park. I had read about the one lane wide roads, so crept along carefully once we got off the motorway. Our first break was in Chagford, where we had lunch at the Three Crowns pub. There's a pretty little 15th century parish church directly across from it with the obligatory cemetery, so I enjoyed a bit of tombstone reading in the lovely spring weather.

I'm fascinated by epitaphs. There oughta be a law that you have to provide more of a biography on these things because I'd love to know all of the backstories and history of the folks who lived in that area during the various time periods. In the pic below, I was struck by the trinity of crosses because it was Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. The barely legible inscription seen below was found on the taller Maltese-style cross in the middle. I love the phrasing FELL ASLEEP.

There were spiky bushes all over the moors, covered in these small bright yellow flowers. I discovered they're gorse bushes. If that rings a bell, it might be that you're a Winnie the Pooh fan. In the movie, his first attempt to reach honey in the tree he was climbing resulted with Pooh falling into a gorse bush.

In the afternoon we visited Grimspound, a late Bronze Age settlement dating back to 2000 BC. All that remains are the stone perimeter fence and rocks that denote where houses were located. 

Above are the teen and husband standing inside a small house in the centre of the settlement. You can see the perimeter stone fence in the background. Below is the teen striking a pose on one of the entrance gates into the settlement.

 The picture below was taken from Grimspound, looking across the moors.

Above is a lone tree along a little stream that ran through Grimspound on its way down the hill. Weren't those Bronze Age folks smart, making sure they had easy access to fresh water. While we were exploring Grimspound, the teen pointed out the tor found atop a neighbouring hill.

Along the way to see Hound Tor (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's inspiration for setting in The Hound of the Baskervilles), we drove past fields of sheep. Some with precious little lambs. And some just walking along the road. Or chewing their cud beside the road. 

We saw a few of the famous Dartmoor ponies. It looked as if they were still in their shaggier winter coats. Then we arrived at Hound Tor, the most spectacular of the tors in this region. We climbed up to the base, then the teen scurried atop some of the flatter (read safer) ones for some pics... of the jumping variety. That's right, doing our best to uphold the stereotype of the annoying American tourist turned loose abroad.

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