What do we know about Medieval Dartmoor so far?

What was life and farming like on Dartmoor during Saxon times and after the Norman conquest?


The MTMTE Moor Medieval project aims to answer these and many other questions in the coming years!

We are making arrangements for a seminar early next year to bring together speakers specialising in the medieval period and local people to look at what we know about medieval Dartmoor so far and where we should be going in our journey of discovery and understanding of its medieval landscape and heritage.

In the meantime, we are looking for people who are interested to take part in study and field work with a view to forming a medieval group to work on Dartmoor. This will initially focus on an area which includes east Dartmoor Forest and its ancient tenements, Spitchwick Manor and Widecombe in the Moor parish.  In subsequent years during the life of the MTMTE Moor Medieval project the group would extend their interest into Manaton, North Bovey, Chagford and Gidleigh parishes.   

Please get in touch with Andy Bailey our Community Officer if you would like to get involved.

email: moorthanmeetstheeye@gmail.com

Phone: 01626 831028



Higher Uppacott

It was great to see and welcome so many people visiting Higher Uppacott over the Heritage Open Day events held in September. It was a great opportunity to come along and find out more about this important medieval building.

A big thank you to our guides for their enthusiasm and expertise in showing everyone around. The Heritage open day events are now over for another year but if you missed the opportunity to visit don’t worry. The next guided tour will be on Sunday 12th October.

Join a Guided Visit – enjoy a two-hour tour around the house and its grounds in the company of a knowledgeable guide.

  • Sunday 12 October 2014
    due to demand an extra visit to Higher Uppacott has been added in the afternoon starting at 1:30pm
  • Saturday 24 January 2015
  • Sunday 1 March 2015

Prices: Adult £5, Child (14 and under): Free – please note these visits are more suited to children 8+.
Times: 10:30 – 12:30
How to book: Please telephone the National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown on 01822 890414 to book your place. Alternativley email visit@dartmoor.gov.uk

Please be aware when booking that there are several steps, low beams and uneven floors within the longhouse.

In other Uppacott news

Our conservation architect, Jonathan Rhind is preparing Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent applications for submission to DNPA in December.  Suitable alterations based on an earlier  feasibility study and vision for Higher Uppacott to improve parking, access and presentation of the grade I listed longhouse are being developed into informed practical works, whilst our recently established bat roost of Lesser Horseshoe bats will be carefully managed and protected in the coming years.  MTMTE works at Higher Uppacott are due to commence in earnest about Spring next year and completed during 2016.

In the meantime, the need for repairs to external stone walls at Higher Uppacott, like the remains of the former barn has resulted in English Heritage support and advice in the use of hot lime mortars.  Whist once a common mortar type in use over hundreds of years until more recent times, this traditional lime mortar technique combining quicklime with local subsoil, in our case growan, is being re-established at Higher Uppacott following use in various locations nationally.  The use of traditional hot lime mortars has already precipitated some local interest and we hope to make available more information on this subject during the course of next year.

Calling all website designers!

Are you a website designer with proven experience and great ideas? We are planning to develop a dedicated website for the scheme which will be easy to get around and help people find out all about how to get involved. We are inviting people to quote for the work. For more information about how the quoting process works and what we are looking for visit the Dartmoor National Park website here

Volunteering Taster Day

Saturday 1st November

Would you like to use some of your free time to help us look after the wildlife and heritage of Dartmoor? We’re showcasing some of the wide variety of projects volunteers already undertake recording wildlife, surveying archaeology and doing practical management. There are even opportunities indoors to help us manage all this information so it can be used in further research for the benefit of Dartmoor. And now with Moor than meets the eye there are even more opportunities to get involved. If you’ve ever thought you’d like to share some of your skills or passion for Dartmoor then this day is for you so come along, meet other volunteers and find out what volunteering is all about.
Drop in throughout the day. Refreshments will be available.
For further information call Linda on 01626 832330 or email linda.corkerton@naturalengland.org.uk
Meet at the Woodland Centre, East Dartmoor NNR, Yarner Wood, TQ13 9LJ. Follow the Brown signs from Bovey.

Geophysics uncovers Moor than meets the eye


We’ve been working with former RAF pilot, John Lowe and Jane Marchand, senior archaeologist with DNPA, to look more closely at the site of a second world war bomber crash. John has been investigating this fatal crash for some time, undertaking much detective work to find out more about the pilot and crew involved. Through his hard work he has met many people with stories to tell and built up a picture of the tragic events of that night. A memorial stone was erected by the pilots mother, Lady Marjorie Wilson to mark the site.
John wanted to get a better idea of where the aircraft crashed so we commissioned a geophysical survey of the area, undertaken by a company called Substrata. This is a non invasive survey which allows us to see into the ground without disturbing it. Using a magnetometer allows us to see using “magnetic eyes” which means we can pick up magnetic changes in the soil due to the heat of the crash. You may have seen John and the geophysics team doing this on Countryfile a few weeks ago when they came to Dartmoor.
We’ll publish the results of the survey online once we have the final report.
Meanwhile if you would like to know more we have organised an illustrated talk by John which will take place at the Church House, Widecombe-in-the-Moor on Thursday 12th November at 7.30pm
Find out about this project by looking at a summary of it here

“LiDAR has revolutionised the way we discover features in the landscape. In the past we walked in a line through the woods trying to spot historic features in the undergrowth. Now we are able to look at LiDAR and work out a grid reference of possible features and by using GPS walk straight to the features”

– Reg Lander, one of the East Dartmoor NNR ‘History Hunters’

017One of the great things about this scheme is the opportunity to use new technology to look at familiar places with the chance it will reveal new insights into these landscapes. Last year, using a technique called LiDAR we surveyed the woodland areas of East Dartmoor NNR, Fernworthy, Bellever and Soussons in search of hidden landscapes. Volunteers at East Dartmoor NNR are the first to get to grips with these LiDAR images which show the land stripped of its trees and reveal signs of tin working, charcoal making and pillow mounds. Over time they will search the LiDAR looking for signs of other heritage features and then go out on the ground to verify what is there.
We hope to do this at Fernworthy, Bellever and Soussons over the coming months. If you would like to get involved please get in touch.

Recruiting the MTMTE team

Do you have a passion for Dartmoor? Do you find its past fascinating, its unique ecology amazing and its landscape breath taking? Do you want to be part of a team that helps share this for future generations?

Moor than meets the eye is a Landscape Partnership Scheme which has just received £1.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help us to do this and we are now looking for enthusiastic people to join our team.

We are looking for two people to join the team a Community Heritage Officer and a Community Ecologist.

For the post of Community Heritage Officer, we are looking for someone able to work with communities and organisations to develop locally based projects that help care for, understand and celebrate the historic environment of the Partnership area. The successful candidate will have some archaeological and conservation experience and a proven track record in both research and field work in these disciplines. They will need to be an excellent communicator and have had past successes in working with local heritage and communities.

For the post of Community Ecologist we are seeking somebody to take forward ideas for better connecting people and wildlife work with local landowners, farmers and communities to deliver ecological projects. The successful candidate will have extensive knowledge of habitats and species, proven experience in provision of site management advice, development of management plans and have excellent communication skills. Experience in developing community based biodiversity projects would be an advantage.

Both jobs are being advertised on the Dartmoor National Park Authority website . Please follow this link http://www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/aboutus/au-jobvacancies


BBC discover there is Moor than meets the eye to Hameldown

PA9 Matt Baker Hameldown

Matt Baker visited Dartmoor earlier in the month as part of the BBC’s Countryfile. He met John Lowe, to find out about one mans mission to uncover the truth about a bomber crash on Hameldown during  the second world war. John is working with the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s senior archaeologist, Jane Marchand to survey the site and try to build a picture of what happened on that fateful night. This is one of the first projects to get underway as part of the Moor than meets the eye scheme.
The project focuses on a non invasive survey undertaken using the latest geophysics technology (like they use on Time Team) to detect variations in the magnetism in the ground. You can read about the full MTMTE project here. If you’d like to discover more about  John’s research then please visit his website which has a lot of information about the work he is doing. You can find it at the Hameldownboys. John will also be doing an illustrated talk about the project later in the year. More information about that to follow.

This episode of Countryfile goes out on Sunday 21st September at 7.00pm on BBC ONE

Heritage Open Days

Cross the threshold of Higher Uppacott, Dartmoor National Park’s Grade 1 Listed longhouse, and step back in time to medieval Dartmoor as part of Heritage Open Days 2014. This year Dartmoor National Park has arranged a number of free visits to this unique building as its contribution to the national heritage celebration which runs from 11 to 14 September 2014.
A longhouse is a medieval farmhouse in which both people and cattle were accommodated under a single roof. Higher Uppacott is rare and of national importance. It is one of the few remaining examples of this historic building type, which has retained its lower or shippon end (cattle shelter) in its original state.

Through the support of Moor than meets the eye and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund a programme of physical works to preserve and enhance this historic building will be undertaken over the next 5 years. The project will also ensure visitors can develop a better understanding of the building and how it helps tell the story of medieval farming on Dartmoor. We will also work to set up a volunteer group for the building  and increase the opportunities people have to visit it.

Join Dartmoor National Park to learn about the development of Higher Uppacott from its medieval beginnings through to the present day. There will be tours on Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September. These Heritage Open Days events have limited places so it is essential to pre-book your place on 01822 890414 or at the National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown.

Friday 12 September: Tour 1100-1300
Saturday 13 September: Tours 1030–1230 and 1400–1600
Sunday 14 September: Tours 1030–1230 and 1400–1600

For more information check out http://www.dartmoor.gov.uk or http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk

Moor than meets the eye gets ready to deliver

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has now given us permission to start, meaning that we can now begin to deliver some of the projects that we have spent the last two years developing.

 Looking back at the development phase of the scheme we saw a lot of people put in a huge amount of effort to make this a successful partnership. Our development phase project manager  Steve Scoffin was one of them and we would like to pass on particular thanks to Steve for all his hard work in helping us.

We are currently advertising for a new Scheme Manager for the next phase of the scheme and the delivery of the agreed projects that make up Moor than meets the eye.

For more details about this post please follow the link to our lead partners website where the job is being advertised


Get your TVs warmed up!

Get your TVs warmed up ready for next week as Dartmoor is featured in two programmes.
Whitehorse Hill final secrets revealed
Millions of viewers have witnessed the unfolding story of this unique discovery in two previous BBC productions. Now, in this latest programme, Presenter Mike Dilger follows the work to uncover the last secrets of this ancient burial before the discoveries go on display to the public for the first time.
Watch BBC One South West at 8.00 PM on Monday 8 September
Wilderness Walks with Ray Mears
The series begins with Ray returning to one of his favourite places in Britain – Dartmoor. Ray travels across granite peaks and through mysterious oak forests, searching for the country’s largest ground beetle and the elusive wood warbler. He also visits High Willhays, the highest point in the National Park.
Episode one will be shown at 7:30 PM on Tuesday 9 September 2014 on ITV.