Photo:Chris Chapman

In early 2024 The Dartmoor Society supported Alan Endacott with a grant of £1000.00 

The Prehistoric Ritual Landscapes of North-Eastern Dartmoor Project:

Proposed Archaeological Excavations Around Taw Marsh, Belstone 2024

Alan is a self-funding PhD researcher with the University of Exeter Department of Archaeology. For the past three years, as part of his fieldwork, he has been surveying a number of potentially very significant archaeological features around Taw Marsh – an area with limited previous archaeological exploration for prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments.

In the process, he identified two previously unrecorded stone circles, a possible Neolithic long cairn and a collapsed dolmen, among other features. This was followed this up with measured surveys and extensive geophysical surveys to identify any buried archaeological features. These now need  ground-truthing with targeted excavations in order to fully interpret the results.

The planned investigations are potentially ground-breaking and promise to reveal how such ritual sites developed, when, and why they were sited where they were as well as how they relate to each other. This will improve our understanding of all such monuments and ritual landscapes on Dartmoor and beyond.

It is planned to undertake the excavations in two phases, in the spring and late Summer 2024, in order not to disturb ground-nesting birds. Volunteers will be encouraged to take part but the services of a professional archaeologist, with experience of Dartmoor’s specific conditions, and soils to supervise the digs and train and supervise the volunteers will maximise the potential information that can be deduced. 

Environmental samples and dateable material will also be retrieved for subsequent analysis to establish the broader context and chronology.

It is estimated that the excavation and post excavation costs will amount to around £4,500 (excluding the cost of radiocarbon dating, for which application will be made separately through an arrangement with the University). Funding is also being sought from the Devon Archaeological Society, the Dartmoor Preservation Association and the Dartmoor Trust and it is hoped that support from the Dartmoor Society’s Research Fund will act as a catalyst for additional support. Dartmoor National Park Authority are providing logistical support and expenses for volunteers.


PartnershipsGrant of £200 to Wren Music to help fund an update and reissue of the William Andrews Tunebook

In September 2023 we were very pleased to make a grant of £200 towards the reissue of the William Andrews Tunebook. This book can now be purched from Wren Music via the link below where Wren Music give some details about the song collection and acknowledge our donation towards the production costs.

More information here:


Jim Causley Singer, songwriter and performer of Devon and Dartmoor songs 2023

PartnershipsJim Causley is one of Dartmoor’s best-known singer songwriters and has won recognition far and wide. He was recently commissioned to write a piece in celebration of the Archangel’s Way a 38 mile pilgrimage route from Chagford to Brentor. From the ridiculously jolly to the terrible sad, Jim’s songs transport us to the parlours of Dartmoor folk of bygone years.

Jim performed for us along with Bill Murray at the Two Bridges Hotel in the autumn of 2022. He also performed at the Dartmoor Resonance Festival in 2018.  Never far from his Dartmoor roots, Jim is always hugely in demand and tours extensively throughout the south of the UK.

In 2023 we made a small grant towards the production costs of Jim’s forthcoming album.


Genetic Testing of Dartmoor Hill Ponies 2022

PartnershipsIn October 2022 genetic testing was carried out at selected Dartmoor pony drifts in the western quarter of the moor. The Dartmoor Society contributed to the cost of this which was organised by Aberystwith University.  The testing is carried out at NeogenLabs in Scotland.  The grant was specifically for the genetic testing of ponies that remain outdoors year round on Dartmoor, and its aim was to identify the unique gene pool that allows them to survive in harsh weather conditions, and thrive on inferior winter pasture.

The Providence Chapel Project: Celebrating the work of Dartmoor photographer and film maker Chris Chapman 2022 and ongoing.

In 2022 a project based at Providence Chapel, Throwleigh established a permenant exhibition of the work of Chris Chapman. Chris has been recording the lives of people on Dartmoor since 1972 and his photographs and films are a unique record of farming, rural life and social change. We wanted to be involved in this project and we started by funding two of the permanent photographs that feature in the exhibition. There may be an opportunity in the future to fund a young person, based on Dartmoor, to follow a career in photography. More information on the exhibition and a list of opening times are on the project website


Chris is a long-standing member and friend of the Dartmoor Society.  In 2008 he was the recipient of the Dartmoor Society Award  ‘for his outstanding documentary photography of people and place’. He has served on the committee and continues to be involved in the production of our newsletter. He generously allows the Dartmoor Society access to his extensive photographic library.

Tom Greeves, Chris Chapman and Peter Beacham. Photo:Dave Hatton

Dartmoor Resonance Festival 2018


The Dartmoor Society held a 9-day midsummer music festival, using a wide variety of venues, events and partners, to celebrate the remarkable diversity of composers and performers of sacred and secular music, from prehistory to the present day, all inspired by Dartmoor.

The idea of holding a festival celebrating Dartmoor music through time, to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Dartmoor Society, was conceived by Tom Greeves, then chair of the Dartmoor Society, to complement the Festival of Dartmoor Literature that was held to mark the Society’s 10th Anniversary in 2008.

This festival has given Dartmoor music a distinctive voice, perhaps previously unrecognised. The festival booklet and can be viewed or downloaded here.


Dartmoor Resonance and the Story of Dartmoor Music describes the long tradition of Dartmoor music and also provides a detailed record of the music and musicians that were part of the event. It is a statement of what we know about Dartmoor music in the early 21st century and also of composers and performers of our time.

A vegetation survey of Gidleigh Common and part of Chagford Common 2016 and 2018


We commissioned Footprint Ecology to carry out a vegetation survey on Chagford and Gidleigh commons.  Habitat types were mapped and described.  You can read the report here:

Gidleigh And Chagford Habitat Survey

Follow up report 2018 


Photo showing Shoveldown stone row obscured by purple moor grass, (Molinia caerulea).

Completion of the PCWW Stones Project 2012-2017

In 2017 it was the 100th Anniversary year of the original erection of the PCWW (Plymouth Corporation Water Works ) stones that mark the watershed of Burrator Reservoir. The Dartmoor Society felt that it was important to restore them to their former glory prior to their Anniversary ensuring that they are all standing upright and not waterlogged.Partnerships

In November 2012 the Dartmoor Society initiated a project with South West Water, Maristow Estate, the Duchy of Cornwall and the Commoners to assess the condition of all PCWW Boundstones between South Hessary Tor and the Scout Hut at Drizzlecombe (which follows the Cramber Tor Training Area boundary).Partnerships

The project stemmed from a condition survey, for the Ministry of Defence, of archaeological features within the Cramber Tor Training Area, which was completed in February 2012.

27 stones (6 of them not marked PCWW) were identified as being in need of attention, ranging from cutting rushes around the base to full re-erection.

Following a photographic survey and site visits, the first practical work was undertaken on the 2nd of October 2014 with vehicles (tractor, trailer and Matbro) provided by grazier Graham Colton, as well as Mark Cole and a group of volunteers from the Dartmoor Society (Simon and Alex Booty who also supplied a Land Rover and tools, Tom & Elisabeth Greeves, Barry & Tanya Welch, and Barrie Quilliam).


Subsequent visits took place on Sunday 15th February 2015, Tuesday 27th October 2015 and Tuesday 18th October 2016.

In order to celebrate the completion of this major project in their centenary year the Dartmoor Society also completed a walk and picnic from South Hessary Tor and the Scout Hut which included Ailsborough Mine on Saturday 10th June 2017.

Dartmoor Railway and Tramway Audit 2016Partnerships

In 2016 Colin Wakeham was commissioned by the Dartmoor Society to carry out an audit of archaeological features and structures relating to railways and tramways on Dartmoor. With match funding from DNPA and DCC, fieldwork was carried out that resulted in a comprehensive report.  More than 700 features were identified, recorded and photographed relating to the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, The Princetown Branch, The Zeal Tor Tramway and The Redlake Railway.  Copies of the report are available on disk from the Dartmoor Society.

Dartmoor Peatland bibliography 2017

At the start of the Mires Project in 2010 the Dartmoor Society identified that there should be a “library search” of all published literature relating to peat on Dartmoor as a normal procedure before embarking on any major research project.

Lee Bray, Head of Archaeology at the Dartmoor National Park Authority, was instrumental in making this happen.

“Dartmoor’s Peatland Heritage – A Bibliography” published by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit was part funded by us with a grant of £1,000.

The authors are Graeme Kirkham and Ralph Fyfe.

Dr Tim Harrod. Dartmoor Soil and Terrain Map 2015

PartnershipsIn 2015 we part funded the publication of a Soil and Terain Map of North and East Dartmoor. 

This pioneering map is the culmination of many years of research into Dartmoor Soils by Dr Harrod both in his capacity working with the Soil Survey of England and Wales, and by research carried out after his retirement. The unfinished Soil Survey of Devon, whose completion could not be funded, has now been completed singlehandedly for this area of Dartmoor, by Dr Harrod in his own time. The area covered is nearly 50,000 acres of ground in the Chagford and Moretonhampstead area of Dartmoor, ranging from the deep peat of the high moor to a wide variety of enclosed land.


PartnershipsCartography for the map was carried out by internationally recognised cartographer Hanno Koch based in Manaton. Soil types found in the area are identified by colour, conforming to the recognised soil classification system for England andWales and the whole mapped area is overlain by the Ordnance Survey map, so it is easy to locate specific places and their soils.

There are two maps – one is soils and the other terrain. The Dartmoor Society recognised this pioneering work when Dr Harrod was presented with the Dartmoor Society Award 2014. It was also the first organisation to make a grant towards the publication of the map. Since then, many organisations and individuals have been involved including Dartmoor National Park Authority, Dartmoor Trust, Dartmoor Preservation Association, Dartmoor Mires Project, Upstream Thinking, Land Research Group, Land Research Associates and the Stapledon Memorial Trust.

The Preservation and Re-purpose of the Iron Store at Burrator 2012

PartnershipsThe Iron Store at Burrator was constructed in 1901 and was used as the works base for management of the reservoir for nearly 100 years. It was South West Water’s and DNPA’s proposed destruction of this historic building and the development of its site as a car park, with associated commercialisation of Burrator Lodge, which was one of the key factors leading to the creation of the Dartmoor Society in 1998.

In late 1998 DNPA declared the building to be of no interest ‘locally or nationally’.  A photograph of the Store appeared on the cover of Newsletter No.4 (February 1999), and it featured in an item in The Times newspaper of 9 December 1998. It was also discussed in an article in Dartmoor Magazine 54, Spring 1999, 20–21.

PartnershipsIn 2012  planning permission has been given by DNPA to South West Lakes Trust to repair and modify the Iron Store close to Burrator Lodge (application 0653/11), in order to make it available for school and other groups.

The preservation of the Iron Store, that was due to be demolished, was primarily due to the Dartmoor Society who have consistently argued for the preservation of 20th century buildings, and for value to be placed on significant buildings from the more recent past.

The Iron Store is now an education facility managed by SW Lakes Trust.