DARTMOOR , a high
See also:plateau in the south-west of Devonshire, England . Its length is about 23 M. from N. to S. and its extreme breadth 20 m., the mean altitude being about 15oo ft . The
See also:area exceeding l000 ft. in
See also:elevation is about 200 sq. m . It is the highest and easternmost in a broken chain of granitic elevations which extends through
See also:Cornwall to the Scilly Isles . The higher parts are open,
See also:bleak and
See also:wild, strongly contrasting with the more gentle scenery of the well-wooded lowlands surrounding it . Sloping heights rise from the
See also:main tableland in all directions, crested with broken masses of granite, locally named tors, and often singularly fantastic in outline . The highest of these are Yes Tor and High Willhays in the
See also:north-west, reaching altitudes of 2028 and 2039 ft . Large parts of the
See also:moor, especially in the centre, are covered with morasses ; and
See also:waters of all the
See also:principal streams of Devonshire (q.v.) are found here . Two main roads
See also:cross the moor, one between Exeter and Plymouth, and the other between Ashburton and
See also:Tavistock, intersecting at Two Bridges . Both avoid the higher
See also:part of the moor, which, for the
See also:rest, is traversed only in part by a few rough tracks . The central part of Dartmoor was a royal
See also:forest from a date unknown, but apparently anterior to the
See also:Conquest . Its woods were formerly more extensive than now, but a few small tracts in which dwarf oaks are characteristic remain in the
See also:lower parts .
Previous to 1337, the forest had been granted to
See also:earl of Cornwall, by
See also:Henry III., and from that
See also:time onward it has belonged to the duchy of Cornwall . The districts immediately surrounding the moor are called the Venville or Fenfield districts . The origin of this name is not clear . The holders of
See also:land by Venville tenure under the duchy have rights of pasture, fishing, &c. in the forest, and their main
See also:duty is to " drive " the moor at certain times in
See also:order to ascertain what head of
See also:cattle are pastured thereon, and to prevent trespassing . The antiquarian remains of Dart-moor are considered among those of Devonshire . Dartmoor convict prison, near Princetown, was adapted to its
See also:present purpose in 185o ; but the
See also:original buildings were erected in 18o9 for the accommodation of French prisoners . A
See also:tract of moorland adjacent to the prison has been brought under cultivation by the inmates . See S . Rowe, Perambulation of the . . . forest of Dartmoor (Plymouth, 1848) ; J . L . W .
Page, Exploration of Dartmoor (
See also:London, 1889) ; S .
See also:Book of Dartmoor (London, 1900) .
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