Here’s a pleasure for the weekend. My church friend, whose job gives him responsibility in the preservation and management of the three ancient West Country moorlands near here, sent me this video link. Bodmin Moor, Exmoor and Dartmoor are ancient geologically (Carboniferous), archaeologically and even spiritually, way back to the end of the ice-age. Dartmoor’s wildness has meant ritual sites being preserved for millennia, and even some of the stone crosses you will see probably date back to late Roman times.

The time-lapse photography, I find, enables one to see nature with fresh eyes, familiarity usually tending to dull our sense of wonder somewhat.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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8 Responses to Dartmoor

  1. pngarrison says:

    Beautiful. I kept looking for the Hound of the Baskervilles. I guess he flitted in and out too quickly to see. 🙂

    I recall seeing some PBS show that probably originated on the BBC where they talked about Neolithic farms and dwellings that have been excavated in Dartmoor. How far are these moors from your place?

  2. Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:


    Interesting – I thought of the Hound of the Baskervilles too, and mused that it belonged to a Late Romantic age when to qualify as “wild” a place had to be “dreadful” and “terrible” and out to get you. The same vibe (only in Yorkshire) is in Wuthering Heights. That said, Dartmoor’s not a place to be alone in a white-out in winter.

    It’s about an hour’s drive to the centre of Dartmoor from us – far enough to make it a day out with a pub lunch rather than a walk with the dog after church, but my son-in-law’s folks live the other side, so we sometimes meet there.

    The Neolithic and Bronze-age settlements are ubiquitous. Stone houses and graves have been excavated, but in many cases, such as the stone circles and rows, field systems and so on, there’s no need as they’re staring you in the face.

    I forgot to mention in the blog that it’s largely a man-made environment, Neolithic clearances of forest having made it what it is, assisted by sheep grazing since. I’d intended to make some point about the symbiosis of nature and man – especially as the friend who gave me the link has to deal with “tree huggers” who’d like to see humans (eg farmers) excluded, as the Native Americans were from Yellowstone.

  3. pngarrison says:

    I guess you have standing stone huggers over there. 🙂

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      Ah – it seems from this that we import them from you!

      • pngarrison says:

        I heard Larry Norman in a couple of concerts when I was in college, although I never had any of his albums. Heard him do the warmup for Paul Stookey once – he was doing rock type songs with just a nylon string guitar and he kept yelling at his sound man to turn up the volume. I suppose the guy was thinking – “it’s on 11 man, what do you want?”

        • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

          I only heard Larry Norman once – all my friends were doing gigs with him when I was elsewhere (on a less exalted circuit). What impressed me was his ability to sound like a rock band (at a big open air gig) with just that small acoustic guitar.

  4. pngarrison says:

    I sometimes look around the Texas landscape from a hill and try to imagine that there were Mesolithic hunter gathers (albeit with horses) wandering across what is now my apartment parking lot only 150 years ago. They left little behind except some burial mounds (none close to me) and spearpoints that people still find from time to time – my brother found a nice one by the river in Austin. A few days ago, some archaeologists found an 1880 vintage weathered Winchester rifle leaning against a tree in the Nevada desert. That’s ancient history over here.

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      I saw a pic of that rifle! I wondered what happened to the owner so he didn’t pick it up.

      In terms of age US and British cultures are comparable – apart from scattered inter-glacial incursions, it took the retreat of the ice c.11,500 BC to bring the permanent settlers. So the difference seems to be that our guys went into megaliths in a bigger way.

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