Last Updated on 9th April 2017 by Sophie Nadeau
No one knows quite why it was abandoned, or even why anyone would try to build a home in such a barren landscape, to begin with… Few things fascinate me more than an abandoned village. And the abandoned Hound Tor medieval village is no exception!
Today, the crumbling walls are slowly being reclaimed by nature. Heather and gorse cover once well-worn pathways and an eerie silence permeates the air. A once bustling settlement has been reduced to a mere point of interest on the map. And the only sound that can be heard is the occasional ‘moo‘ from a nearby cow…
Hound Tor Medieval Village: An Abandoned Settlement in the Heart of the English Countryside
Exit the nearby carpark of Hound Tor and ascend to the rocky granite outcrop above. The walk is around a quarter of a mile and takes no more than ten minutes. From this vantage point, you’ll begin to get a feel for the surrounding landscape. The empty moorland, occasional granite outcrop and more bad weather than you could imagine, even for Devon. Below you, around another quarter of a mile lie the remains of a once well-sized village. Now they are crumbling away. Accessible only by foot and slowly being reclaimed by the elements, Hound Tor Medieval Village is an atmospheric place and shouldn’t be missed on any trip to
Below you, around another quarter of a mile away lies the remains of a once well-sized village. Now the walls are simply crumbling away, with no one to look after them. Accessible only by foot and slowly being reclaimed by the elements, Hound Tor Medieval Village is an atmospheric place and shouldn’t be missed on any trip to legendary Dartmoor…
The harsh climate and acidic nature of the soil on Dartmoor, mean that little is left of the deserted medieval settlement. Even metal does not survive for longer than a century in this bleak environment. Save for a few crumbling walls, there is little else to suggest that this area was once home to a tightly knit community of farming families.
Animals were housed on one end of the settlement in ‘long houses’ and families on the other. It’s thought that inhabitation of the settlement was short-lived; between the 13th and 15th centuries only. Life would have been difficult and hard. The housing would have protected inhabitants from never ending winds and storms, but life on the moors would never have been comfortable or easy. Because of a lack of data or remaining archaeological evidence from the era, no one knows quite why the village was abandoned. Perhaps the harsh climate finally got the best of the residents, or maybe it was a plague. In truth, we may never know…
Hound Tor Medieval Village Today
Extensive excavations of the site in the 1960s revealed that the area may have been used for grazing of livestock in the summer months, as early as the Bronze Age. It was almost certainly used for grazing by the Romans as well. Today, Hound Tor medieval village is managed by English Heritage and is free to visit. Just make sure that you bring your most waterproof shoes and a warm hat!