Enter the gloomy moorland 🌾
Off into the green! … or much more into the brown, if you are there in autumn like me. 😃 The legendary Dartmoor is the greenest or most natural spot I have found during my journey through England. With its 380 square miles, it is also a unique place to find peace. The South English National Park offers endless green meadows and many hiking trails. 👣 If you need some good tips for your walk through the moor, it is best to pay a short visit to the Haytor Visitor Center (at the foot of Haytor Rocks). During your hike, you will pass open moors, deep river valleys, mossy trees, ferns, and gigantic granite rocks, like the Haytor Rocks, which stand in the middle of the meadow. ⛰ I highly recommend you to climb up and enjoy the view over the landscape. With a bit of luck, you might also see the wild Dartmoor ponies and cows. 🐮
Southern England’s wildest national park definitely has a sparse mysterious atmosphere, especially if you are there in autumn and the weather gets foggy and rainy quickly. 🍁 That’s why there are many legends about Dartmoor and its moorland ghosts, spooks, pixies, and witches. 👻 Have you ever heard of the Headless Horseman, Sherlock Holmes Hound of Baskervilles or Kitty Jay’s Grave? All these stories take place in the scary Dartmoor. If you feel like taking a closer look at some of these legends and places, I recommend the Dartmoor Myths & Legends Trail – why not take the time to explore some of the legends and mystical stories? 😏
The legend of Kitty Jay’s Grave 💀
During my Dartmoor exploration, I stood in front of Kitty Jay’s Grave and listened to the spooky legend of the young maid. Do you believe in ghosts? 😯 This is definitely a story that will interest you!
At the end of the 18th century, an orphan girl is taken to an English poorhouse and given the name “Mary Jay”. In her teenage years, she is sent as a maid to a farm, where she is called “Kitty”. She begins a relationship with the handsome son of the farm owner and eventually becomes pregnant. The parents disown the young Kitty just like the boy. Desperate and lost, poor Kitty Jay commits suicide and hangs herself in the farm outbuilding.
A pregnancy without marriage at that time was absolutely taboo and poor Kitty saw no other way out. Moreover, in contrast to today, there was little understanding of suicide victims; on the contrary, suicide was considered a crime. Therefore Kitty was not allowed to be buried in a blessed cemetery. Instead, people believed that suicide victims were best buried at crossroads so that the evil spirit that remained on the earth could not find its way back. So the farmers built Kitty Jay’s grave at a crossroads as well. What is especially mysterious about this grave is that there are always fresh flowers on Kitty Jay’s grave. 💐 Nobody knows who brings these flowers to the grave. It is said that it is Kitty Jay herself who cares for them, but who knows…
Magical Widecombe in the Moor ✨
In the heart of Dartmoor National Park lies the magical Widecombe in the Moor. Because of its dreamlike location in the green and the certain charm, it is a popular film location, for example in the romantic movies of Rosamunde Pilcher. Besides some tea rooms and craft stores, the main attraction is the St. Pancras Church. It is also known as the “Cathedral of the Moor”. Of course, there is also a matching legend to the local church. ⛪ In the 17th century, the church was struck by a ball of lightning. Four people were killed and 60 injured in the incident. It is still believed today that on this day the devil came to visit in person and brought this disaster. 👹
Trip to the Becky Falls 🌊
To complete your trip to Dartmoor, I recommend a short trip to the small waterfall Becky Falls. The entrance fee (8 pounds) is not very cheap, but I think it is definitely worth it. There are several hiking trails in the park and you should definitely wear sturdy shoes. 👟 It is especially recommended to combine the Red Trail and the Purple Trail, so you will pass the Becky Falls and also the Lower Becky Falls. In total, you will be on the way for about one and a half hours. For the smaller hikers, there is also a little petting zoo with ponies and goats in the park. 🐴
Dartmoor Summary 🍂
The mystical Dartmoor should not be missing on any journey through southern England! The wild moors and endless expanses of the national park immediately cast a magical spell on you. And this excursion is exceptionally also particularly authentic in bad weather, isn’t that fantastic? 🙂