Dartmoor’s Alluring Uplands: Transhumance and Pastoral by Harold Fox, Matthew Tompkins, Christopher Dyer

By Harold Fox, Matthew Tompkins, Christopher Dyer

A awesome and recognized characteristic of the English panorama, Dartmoor (in the southwest of the rustic) is a gorgeous position, with a feeling of wildness and secret. yet within the center a long time in depth sensible use used to be made up of its assets: its huge moorlands supplied summer season pasture for hundreds of thousands of farm animals from the Devon lowlands, which flowed in a seasonal tide, up within the spring and down within the autumn.  

This e-book describes, for the 1st time, the social association and farming practices linked to that annual move of cattle. It offers facts for a formerly unsuspected Anglo-Saxon interval of transhumance, during which the cattle's lowland proprietors moved with their animals and lived briefly at the moor each summer.

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And it is easy to understand how such a sense might develop on Dartmoor. Farmers living on and near Dartmoor had special rights of grazing which, although they did not exclude the commoning ‘foreigners’ or ‘strangers’, set their owners in a particularly privileged position. An inner group, the most privileged of them all in terms of grazing rights, had special duties when livestock on the central moor were rounded up and counted; although they lived in isolated farms and hamlets, they came together to cooperate on these occasions.

24 Always remembering that Fig. 5 is a map of only a small proportion of all of the boundaries which crossed the moorlands, we can make two basic points about the pattern that it shows. First, the moorlands have clearly been highly contested landscapes in the past. They have been important in the lives of many people who have staked out their interests and laid claim to tracts of moor, making them their own by setting out boundary stones and drawing lines to be remembered in the mind’s eye and perpetuated by perambulation.

Both references perhaps imply a popular concept of a blurred border zone. 17 Place-names with the affix ‘in the Moor’, including the definite article, are reflected in present-day usage. Dartmoor is known simply as ‘The Moor’—this was current usage when, as a boy, I first became aware of the lure of the region and still is for a considerable circuit around. ’ is never asked. 3 Modern Dartmoor. Moretonhampstead Lydford Boundary of parish of Lydford Bovey Tracey Tavistock Ashburton Denbury Totnes 0 Plympton 0 1 1 2 miles 2 km Medieval borough divide one type of land-use from another and others drawn for purposes of administration of manors, parishes, stannaries (jurisdictions for tinworkers) and of pastoral management (the bailiwicks of the herdsmen).

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