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Overcombe House
drakes trail holiday accommodation
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With the wind whistling through the rocks, you may get that eerie feeling you are not alone If the wind is whistling through all those rocks piled high, you may get an eerie feeling that you have company - Yes! The Wishe Hounds, this is Hounds of the Baskerville country! Keep to the right of the Tor and as you crest the hill look due east into the valley. About half a mile away you will notice the ruins of the excavated site of Houndtor Medieval Settlement. There are several such sites on Dartmoor but this one is truly worth a visit, due to the number of buildings in the settlement, you get a chance to consider the uses to which they were put all those years ago.

The people and their stock lived in the same building, all under the same roof. There would have been a doorway, halfway down each of the long walls, used by both cattle and humans. There are four Longhouses (farmhouses), four smaller houses, three barns, possibly for storing cereals or fodder, the surrounding paddocks, lanes and field system. The longhouses were the traditional farmhouses of that period. Close up you'll see the old drainage system that would carry the cattle waste out of the huts The people and their stock lived in the same building, all under the same roof. There would have been a doorway, halfway down each of the long walls, used by both cattle and humans. The humans living in the higher side of the building and the livestock in the lower end with their drains running downhill away from the living quarters. Very few artefacts are found during excavations of this kind on Dartmoor as the acidic soil tends to destroy bone, metal and wood. However, there were some fragments of pottery from cooking vessels found.

Respect the moors and take heed of the request to use other pathways Keep to the tracks and avoid the heavily eroded area marked, stick to the diversion paths. The site is protected by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act of 1979. It is an offence to damage such a site so please strictly observe this rule by NOT climbing over the walls, moving any stone, camping or lighting picnic fires. I would like to commend a booklet to would-be visitors, "Houndtor - Deserted Medieval Settlement" which is obtainable at Dartmoor National Park Information Centres priced at £3.50. Those that don't get out of their cars, miss a wealth of treasures This is a good read and I particularly like the centre-spread in fold-out pages that shows a plan of the site and an artist's reconstruction picture.

Hope you enjoy your visit to the moors and I look forward to meeting up with you again next month. Toney Beared is a farmer, broadcaster and entertainer. Each month he introduces us to another aspect of the moors. From its colourful characters and traditions to its magical nooks and crannies. Unlock some of the secrets for yourself by turning the pages of his Dartmoor Diary.

If you've only got an hour, or can spare a half a day or more, here's a place you may well like to visit! First buy yourself the yellow Ordnance Survey Map for Dartmoor, Outdoor Leisure 28, and find Map reference SX686729 for Sharp Tor. I know there’s more than one on Dartmoor, but this one lies just off the Ashburton to Two Bridges road.

The best way to approach this tor is to park in the carpark at the top of Dartmeet Hill SX681734 and, as you pull into the park, ahead of you is Sharp Tor.

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