Dr Tim Harrod – for his indefatigable survey of Dartmoor soils


At the 16th Annual General Meeting of The Dartmoor Society, held at Scoriton on 5 April 2014, Dr Tom Greeves, Chairman of The Dartmoor Society presented soil scientist Dr Tim Harrod with The Dartmoor Society Award 2014. It is in the form of a finely hand-crafted ceramic plate made by potter Penny Simpson of Moretonhampstead and calligrapher Susanne Haines of Bovey Tracey.

The plate is inscribed ‘for Tim Harrod for his indefatigable survey of Dartmoor soils’.

Dr Tom Greeves said:

‘Tim Harrod worked with the Soil Survey of England & Wales from 1965 until 1987 when it was disbanded by Michael Joplin, Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, who considered it ‘an expensive nonsense’. Upon retirement in 2001 Tim Harrod took up the challenge of completing the unfinished work of the Soil Survey in Devon, by single-handedly mapping the soils of 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.

‘His achievement and his contribution to the understanding of the county’s environment is second to none, and is reminiscent of some of the great pioneer surveys of our landscape in the 18th century.

‘The Society recognises this outstanding work, and hopes that this Award will help Dr Harrod attract the funds necessary for publishing his masterwork. The Dartmoor Society has already made a grant towards it.

‘The year 2015 has been designated ‘International Year of Soils’ by the United Nations and we hope his survey might be published then. It is imperative that we understand the properties of this thin skin of the earth, as our ability to grow food, and to manage resources wisely, depends on a proper knowledge of what lies under our feet. Tim Harrod has shown what can be done by individual, indefatigable, skilful dedication to a cause that will benefit all society.’

Should anyone wish to contribute to publication of Tim Harrod’s survey, please contact Tom Greeves in the first instance (tomgreeves@btconnect.com or 01822 617004).

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