On a recent trip to England, my wife Kris and I visited Dartmoor National Park, a place that has brought me inspiration over the years. The park is situated in an area called the West Country or the County of Devon. The park is 368 square miles in size.
I love the colors of the gorse and the heather when they are both in bloom together and the green of the grass to set it off, and then there is the moss-coated granite rocks that crop up and add to the aesthetic.
I love the Tudor style homes with their thatched roofs. It’s the shapes of these roofs that inspired my signature design.
Photo: Tiverton bird house and feeder combination with signature roof
Dartmoor is not a very popular tourist location because there are no beaches, oceans, shopping malls or theme parks.
What Dartmoor has going for it is its rugged, rocky terrain, granite outcroppings known as Tors, sheep and wild ponies, tin mines, haunting ghost stories and a very rich history; it remains unchanged.
There are dry stone walls dividing the rocky properties, streams flowing under medieval bridges, a barren landscape and one-car-wide lanes on which you hope you don’t meet someone coming the other way.
And of course, this is England so there are a few quaint pubs with fireplaces to help you overcome the bone chilling mist that can roll in unannounced.
Dartmoor is also very heavy in legend and folklore. Its unspoiled by modernization.
Ready to take a vacation there?
It you are, you might visit Lydford and see the castle where people were imprisoned, have a pint of ale at the Castle Inn, visit the church yard and the watchmakers tomb – he simply ran out of time!
The National Trust manages the Lydford Gorge which will test your endurance as you walk more than three miles of rugged terrain following the river Lyd until you come to the 100 foot White Lady waterfall, and then visit the Devils Cauldron as you return to the entrance.
Or you might opt to visit the nearby market towns of Tavistock or Chagford, and of course you should never miss Widecombe-in-the-Moor with its famous Fair, the tale of Uncle Tom Cobley and more.
The Moors are so barren that the authorities decided to build a prison in the middle; tale has it that should a prisoner escape he would die of exposure from lack of shelter. Once the prison was built, houses were constructed for the guards and their families which developed into the town of Princeton.
Legend also has it that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stayed in a hotel in Princeton (now a museum) and penned Hounds of the Baskerville there.
I am a road warrior, and travel all over the USA for my work. In fact, I have visited every State in the Union with the exception of Alaska, and although I have seen some amazing sites in the US, I have not found any place to compare with Dartmoor.
It is said that, “It’s an addictive place and once you have fallen under the spell of ‘Old Dartymoor’ you will never want to be parted from it.” I for one have felt this way since my first visit some 50 years ago, and it hasn’t changed in all that time.
Dartmoor is so old and full legends and tales that it is easy to sit back, relax and take it all in; it’s incredibly inspiring.
For more information visit www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk.