Walk up on the moor today and you may only bump into the odd sheep, cow or pony but over 3,000 years ago the moor would have been heavily populated. There are an estimated 5,000 hut circles that have been found so far on Dartmoor. With so many hut circles to look after, stopping nature closing in on them and engulfing them is a major task. Fortunately for most of them we can look to our four legged friends to graze around them, trample the bracken and keep them open. However in some cases grazing stock is not enough and we need to step in and lend a hand and this is where Moor than meets the eye is hoping to help.
On Wednesday 5th November on a beautiful autumn day, we joined forces with Chagford Conservation Volunteers, Pete Rich- National Park Ranger and Andy Crabb- Archaeologist and Historic Environment Field Advisor for the National Park to clear bracken from 5 hut circles on Chagford Common. The hut circles were heavily overgrown and were difficult to see but with 20 of us to get stuck in we made good progress cutting bracken to reveal the substantial walls of the huts. Cutting at this time of year weakens the bracken and removes the thatch meaning that new shoots will come back less vigorously. We’ll need to make several more visits over the next year or two to repeat the process but it should get easier with every visit.
Working alongside Andy we are keen to work with other voluntary groups to look after monuments near you. Get in touch if you’d like to help.