Exploring the moors of Dartmoor National Park

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November 19, 2006|By Gwen Musk

For my husband and I, the moorland of Dartmoor National Park is our favorite place to hike in England. Famous as the setting for the Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles, the moor is actually a large granite plateau dotted with high rock formations called tors.

It's mostly covered in gorse, heather and bracken, but also has a soft, marshy ground. The weather can be very unpredictable and storms can blow in without warning, causing you to lose your bearings in an instant.

While it is a harsh land, there are semi-wild ponies making it their home. It is not unusual to see sheep huddled beside large rocks on the lea side of the wind.

We made our way to the top of Honeybag Tor for this lovely view on a crisp fall day last November. I did not need a wise man atop the Tor to tell me sagely: "Never wear new boots on a steep hike"; unfortunately I learned that on the way up.

Gwen Musk lives in Columbia.

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