Hello dear readers! I have been sitting virtually at this spot for some time now it seems. So where are we exactly? Ah, South Brent, located on the outskirts of Dartmoor National Park.
While planning for my real trip, I very much wanted to make it to Dartmoor as it fit in with the literary theme of my trip. You guessed it, one of my literary favorites, Sherlock Holmes, and the tale of the Hound of the Baskervilles. But that is not the only Sherlock Holmes story that takes place on the moors. In the aptly titled, The Moor, the fourth title in a wonderful series by Laurie R King, Holmes and his young wife, and very much equal partner, Mary Russell, return to Dartmoor to solve another mystery with a supernatural aspect. To be honest, I enjoy Laurie R. King’s Holmes much more than I do Doyle’s.
The inspiration for Doyle’s Grimpen Mire is the hauntingly beautiful Fox Tor Mire. The story’s villain was thought to be based on a dastardly evil squire from the 17th century named Richard Cabell, whose final resting place can be visited, preferably doing daylight hours, at Buckfastleigh’s Holy Trinity church.
One would probably want to spend a few days in Dartmoor as there seems to be much to do. In Princetown, you can the Dartmoor Prison Museum which sits on the site of one of the world’s most notorious prisons and dates back to Napoleonic times.
There are a number of walks to choose from and I think I would definitely choose the Hound Tor walk, which is said to be the most dramatic of the tors ( tor means a high craggy, rocky hill) and is also the site of a deserted medieval village. Many legends and myths came from this haunting and mysterious landscape, including another possible inspiration for Conan Doyle.
After all that wandering, a visit to some of the best pubs is a must! Luckily, there is local tour for that! Proper Dartmoor Real Ale Trail Pub Tours is exactly the type of tour I love to take. Small and led by a life long local of the area. The BEST type of tours in my opinion. You can then decide on which is the most remote inn/pub in Dartmoor. Is it the much advertised Warren House Inn or Moute’s Inn, which is a wee more out of the way and might be lacking some walls and probably would be considered BYOB. Cheers!
Because this is virtual reality, money is no option and I’d have stayed at the Glazebrooke House, which unfortunately looks like they might be a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a shame because it looked so whimsical and comfortable, not to mention a great place to sit in a leather chair and nurse a scotch. The White Rabbit room would be my choice for a couple of days. Hopefully they will be able to recover from these unprecedented times.