We all have places on earth that we consider our "Happy Spot." You know, the place where you breathe from your soul and just don't give a shit about world events. Thus was the Dartmoor National Park in England. This magical place is old, I mean really old; think Neolithic/Bronze Age (4000-0700 BC). That's pre-internet for all you hipster Millennial subscribers.😂 Envision rolling hills, grazing animals, peat, bogs; yet an expansive forest, charming villages, and a dizzying number of archeological sites that you can actually touch.
Upon arrival, I felt the ground sucking out my stress, the wind blowing away my brow furrow, and as far as the eye could see...nature. There's something spiritual about this place. Or, maybe it was just my anxious self ready to relax.
Our day trip started from Plymouth with my friendly B & B hostess, Angie. We tootled in her little British SUV into this ancient park. With the plethora of sites, a day trip is insufficient for exploring, but we gave it our best shot. Yes, its on my list to go back and truly explore by bike and partake of the charming Inn's and Pubs. Emphasis on Pubs.
Did you know the Duke of Cornwall, aka, Prince Charles owns 57.3% of the land in which this park sits? The locals tell me he owns large portions of land throughout the Cornwall region; seems like it's in good hands. I admire the man for his leading role in British preservation; go Charlie go.
So, what are Tors? They are hill tops with bedrock poking out, beckoning you to clamber up for spectacular views of the barren vistas. Couple this with the sheer diversity of landscape and you've got a day of head turning and jaw dropping fun.
ADVENTURE VIDEO In The Dartmoor National Park
We stopped at a smashingly good pub for lunch, in which I chomped down my first "Ploughman Lunch." Dating back before 1394, this hearty spread is based on bread, butter, cheese, meat, and modernized with chutney, salad, and whatever ales ya. What a feast of texture, flavor, and color. I felt British there for a moment. Well...they had me at butter.🤗 Washing down lunch with tall hard ciders, we were fueled and ready for an afternoon of exploring.
We stopped at Postbridge, where you can walk across a 13th century Clapperbridge. These bridges, made with enormous slabs of stone, were used for packhorses carrying supplies and freight. Of course, like the pyramids, one wonders how they got the stones in place. You curious sorts can see it in the video.
Next came St Pancras Church at Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Yes, it's a mouthful to say. Like many villages, this 14th century stone church stands at the center of village life. It watches over nearby fields bordered by those cursed hedgerows that I have dove into in order to avoid on coming traffic. I digress.😣 This ancient church is surrounded by centuries of headstones that have succumbed to the biting wind and fog that has taken up permanent residence here.
TRAVEL TIP: Don't just zip through the villages on the left side of the road in your rental car, stop; get out and walk through some of the most interesting (and old) buildings you'll ever see. Buy something. Search for fairies, trolls, and lost Americans under bridges.
While we were rattling along one of the many roller coaster roads, we pulled over to investigate something that caught my eye. Come to find out, it was the Soussons Circle; one of the great stone circles from the Bronze age...just sitting there!...calling you to slow down, walk around, sit, reflect. Just another travel surprise; I love it! Again, it's in the video.
Here; you could drive and explore for days. Who cares if you get lost; soak up all this mystical park has to offer. Did you know that England has over 60 prehistoric sites? But do they all have over 5,000 archeological sites like this one?
With all our chatting, we "had" to stop by the Warren House Inn for dessert and more cider. Perched on the side of the road, here you can relax on a picnic table, watch sheep munch, cyclists wiz by, and read tales of ghosts. When I return to this park, viewing the bogs and fields of peat are on my list.
This national park has a long history of tales involving fairies, ghosts that walk the bogs at night, and paganism. Dare I say there is an energy here that if you're in tune, feel it's goodness.
TRAVEL TIP: Take water and snacks with you. While there are small villages with amenities, you may need more. It amazes me how much water I drink when hiking around cold, damp hillsides. So, either take water or a camel. Your choice.
There's a time in the future when I will spend days in the Dartmoor climbing hills, cycling narrow winding roads, pay homage to the past, and celebrate the present with cider and Ploughman's.
So, where is your happy spot? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section.