Gavin's Adventures on the Mystical Island of Britain -- Part 4

A list of the adventures.

Castles and Hut Circles on Dartmoor

The next day found me wandering Dartmoor. I found two very different castles there. The first was called Drogo, and its stately towers could be seen for miles around. The second was Cranbrook, an iron-age fort, not nearly so easy to find.

Castle Drogo is brand new, a 20th century castle. It has beautiful gardens, but was hardly the kind of castle I had come to Britain seeking. I remember the restaurant was serving "arsenic and apple soup," which struck me as rather odd and unappetizing, even for British food. I discovered later it was actually "parsnip and apple," which sounds slightly better.

To find Cranbrook Castle, I used a wonderous invention called an Ordnance Survey Map, which shows the countryside in great detail, even marking inns and farms. After using my first of these maps, I was never without one. I followed the twisty British roads, and eventually left my horses and wagon at an ancient granite bridge known as Fingle Bridge. From there I climbed on foot up through the forest for forty-five minutes, seeing no one but some incurious sheep.

Cranbrook Castle was wonderful. Though it is completely overgrown, I could still trace the ramparts and the moat and the long-ago gate. From the ramparts, I had a spectactular view of most of Devon.

Now thrilled with my wonderful map, I tried next for Higher Shilstone, where the map indicated hut circles. Though the search took me some time, it was again well worth the effort. The huts were pits in the ground, roofed with massive stones. There had been dozens, perhaps a hundred, of them there, surrounding what may have been a larger communal building. I saw no human anywhere, only the sheep, and, to my delight, a couple of wild Dartmoor ponies. These were larger than I expected, shaggy, and both the same shade of chestnut. They were shy and would not approach my wagon.

Mail comments and contributions to Gavin.

- The previous adventure: Stone circles on Bodmin Moor.
- The next adventure: Penzance, Land's End, and Sennen Cove.
- Return to Grannus' circle.
- Go back to the front gate.

This page maintained by