Dartmoor during the First World War

A new exhibition has started at the DNPA’s Princetown Visitor Centre entitled ‘Dartmoor life in the the First World War’. The exhibition has been put together by the Dartmoor Trust – rather than talking about the battles in France and Belgium the exhibition describes what impact the war had on Dartmoor – how farming changed, where hospitals were set up, conscientious objectors etc.

Princetown 1Princetown’s Visitor Centre

Princetown 5Kitchener calling you in

Princetown 2A number of panels make up the exhibition

Princetown 4 There is a panel on the impact of the War on the building of Castle Drogo

Princetown 3A bit  also on the role people in Widecombe played collecting moss to treat wounds – the shell is outside the NT’s Church House


The exhibition also makes a plea for more information or photographs to help fill some of the gaps in our knowledge about Dartmoor in WW1. We are still trying to find out more about Major Hole of Parke  in World War 1 – see here for further details – can you help?

You might also be interested to know that there are a couple of WW1 exhibition rooms at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter – one of recruiting posters and the other on facial reconstructive surgery.

To Widecombe and back

A couple of days ago I went down to Widecombe to photograph the new Gallery – see here.

Here are a few other photos from that day – the first two were taken by my friend Jon Hare who runs Full Fat Photography – Jon is a very good buildings’ photographer and he has kindly let us use his images

Sextons_001This is Sexton’s Cottage (on the left) and the Church House (on the right) with St Pancras Church in the background. This building is actually rather difficult to photograph without getting warped perspectives and leaning towers. Brilliant shot Jon

Sextons_005A simply shot of the sign with Dartmoor creeping in the the left! Photo Jon Hare.

GalleryPam Thomas our Shop Manager is looking for a volunteer to help run our new Gallery – does this appeal to you or someone you know? If so give Pam a ring – details on the poster above.

Widecombe 1On my way back to Parke I stopped and took a few pictures in the February sunshine – looking back into the village – The Church House and Sexton’s Cottage are behind the tower of St Pancras Church

Widecombe 3From the same spot as the last photo – here is the view across to Princetown – the tall mast is on North Hessary Tor beside Princetown. The conifer plantation in the middle ground is Sousson’s Down. Still a bit of snow on the high moor.

Widecombe 4Here is Haytor – with a couple of people approaching the top

Widecombe 2A Scotch blackface sheep – has seen it all before

Sexton’s Cottage – the new Gallery floor

Pam Thomas our shop manager in Widecombe has been working really hard over the winter transforming the first floor of Sexton’s Cottage into a new Gallery floor – a place where Dartmoor and Devon crafts people can exhibit and sell their work.

I spent a couple of hours there yesterday with my friend Jon Hare of Full Fat Photography taking some shots of the new gallery. I got in late last night and am off again in a minute so here is my starter for 10 – a series of pictures of the type of things that we are now selling. More details will follow elsewhere soon. I posted 65 pictures on my Flickr account here and 12 photos follow below.

Gallery 6

Gallery 4

Gallery 19

Gallery 66

Gallery 60

Gallery 56

Gallery 43

Gallery 40


Gallery 28

Gallery 17

Gallery 11


Gallery 7Amazing – brilliant stuff Pam –  a superb new part of our shop full of locally made things

Widecombe-in-the-moor Church and its treasures

I was in Widecombe yesterday where I met up with the Vicar Geoffrey Fenton to talk about the ‘Moor than meets the Eye‘ project and discuss some ideas as to how we might bring the village centre more alive for the many thousands of visitors who come each year. Geoffrey very kindly gave me a guided tour of the church – here are a few photographs.

Widecombe1A cross in the churchyard with Bonehill Rocks in the background

Widecombe2The church of St Pancras – the Cathedral of the Moor

Widecombe3Across the churchyard to the National Trust’s Church House and Sexton’s Cottage

Widecombe5The inside of the church is magnificent

Widecombe4The porch contain these four tablets telling the story of the time when the church was struck by lightning killing 3 people


The chancel ceiling  contains dozens of wonderful carved bosses including this one of the ‘Three Hares’ – I have written about these before – see here. A symbol of Dartmoor’s tin miners and much more beside going way back into our pre-Christian past.

Widecombe8Here is the Green Man – another ancient figure

Widecombe10Here is the ‘Pelican in her piety’ – in early times it was thought was the female fed her young on her own blood (in fact she feeds then on regurgitated food). The Pelican is a symbol of charity and devotion to one’s offspring

The church is well worth a visit – I really must go back another day and photograph all the bosses – they tell so many tales and are very beautiful