From Pembrokeshire, we travelled on to Dartmoor. I was there for a workshop on the autumn equinox weekend with the wonderfully talented Carolyn Hillyer, and then stayed on the moor for the rest of the week. I lived just off the moor for several years around 20 years ago and have a real soul ache to return to the area. I always feel called by the landscape and energy.
Sharing and experiencing deep soul journeys in the peace and tranquillity of the moor with only the sounds of nature and the absolute darkness in the stunning roundhouse, before the fire was lit for a night-long ritual was a truly magical experience. With so much man made noise and light pollution in our daily lives it is very rare to experience utter darkness and tranquillity.
Staying on Dartmoor for the rest of the week amongst the stunning tors, wild open moorland and beautiful river valleys allowed me to continue to deepen my connection with the land and the ancestors.
As with Pembrokeshire, prehistoric sites abound and it was wonderful to revisit some sites with my other half who hasn’t visited them before, including Merrivale and Grimspound and several others, less accessible dotted across the moor.
Merrivale is an easily accessible site just off the high moor road between Two Bridges and Tavistock with a huge amount of prehistoric remains all within a very small area, including a long double stone row, a stone circle, standing stones, burial cairns and cists and roundhouse remains, all testament to the domestic and ritual use of this landscape.
Grimspound another famous site, is a huge stone enclosure (some 1.45 hectares…or 3.5 acres in old money), the original wall being double thickness and at least 1.5 metres high encompassing the remains of at least 24 roundhouses and 5 internal pens set in a landscape which includes other prehistoric remains of stone rows, barrows etc on Challacombe Down and Hamel Down overlooking Grimspound.
During our stay on Dartmoor the calls of numerous buzzards were a constant companion, whether during the weekend workshop, up on the high moor or soaring above the river valleys. So the following line from one of Carolyn Hillyer’s powerful, haunting songs, reflects how my soul is called to the moor; Iwill return!
‘Buzzard call you back to the wild land’