Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

DOE TOR FARM

Steve Grigg and Frank Collinson

This abandoned farm nestles under the southern slopes of Doe Tor. It is believed it was established around the 1730’s and was a working farm up to 1955 and, like so many other buildings no longer in use on Dartmoor was demolished; this was around 1970. Eric Hemery mentions the farm in “High Dartmoor” (p921) and tells us that the water supply came from an open leat which extracted water from the Doe Tor Brook and ran to a clay pipe chute in the farmyard. The water was for both domestic and farm uses. Using a Wessex Archaeology (WA) survey (2007), it is possible to trace the farmhouse and porch, a cart linhay, a barn, a lean-to kitchen, a dairy larder, a shippon, a calf shed, a vegetable garden, an outhouse and the location of a possible dutch barn.

DTF Map
Location of Doe Tor Farm, which is easily accessed from High Down Ford or alternatively up the track from Wheal Mary Emma.
DTF Plan
Using the OS Map farm outline and looking at the Wessex Archaeology plan, the infrastructure of the farm becomes apparent. This plan also shows 10 digit NGR references of each part of the farm

A Ministry of Agriculture survey taken in 1941 gives a good idea of the various land uses at the time; fodder crops of oats, potatoes, turnips and swedes were being grown along with hay. The grazing land was stocked with cattle and sheep and there was the normal flock of farm hens along with two workhorses (source: Legendary Dartmoor website).

DTF 1
This is the track from High Down Ford approaching Doe Tor Brook on the way to the farm
DTF 2
Approaching Doe Tor Brook
DTF 3
Crossing Doe Tor Brook on a modern substantial bridge
DTF 4
Entering into a farm enclosure. The gatepost is at SX53566 85007
DTF 5
Looking back at the entrance from inside the farm enclosure
DTF 6
A second gated enclosure, this one being guarded by a local resident
DTF 7
This local resident stood for quite a while in this pose and appeared curious as to our prescence
DTF 8
This outhouse is of unknown function (WA). It is 6m x 2.2m and is located at SX53615 84920
DTF 9
Another view on the outhouse. In this picture Doe Tor can be seen to the left and behind the trees
DTF 10
Approaching the farmhouse through the yard from the outhouse, this was the view in 1969
DTF 11
This is the 2020 view from the previous photograph
DTF 12
Outline of key features from the 1969 picture
DTF 13
Silhouette of the buildings onto the 2020 view
DTF 14
Another 1969 view of the Farmhouse
DTF 15
The 2020 view from the previous picture
DTF 16
Overlay on the 1969 picture, detailing some more features of the farm infrastructure
DTF 17
The overlay on the 2020 view
DTF 18
The Cart Linhay is one of the few substantial walls that have been left standing. WA state this is 4.5m x 2.1m and is where a two-wheeled cart was kept. SX 53623 84924.
DTF 19
The Barn was located between the Cart Linhay and the Farmhouse at SX53628 84927.
DTF 20
Picture showing the Cart Linhay and Barn side-by-side. The House was to the right of the barn from this angle
DTF 21
The porch to the farmhouse can still be traced. It is 1.4m x 0.9m (WA)
DTF 22
Another view of the porch. Brat Tor on the horizon
DTF 23
Inside the farmhouse at SX53638 84921. It doesn’t feel very big, being measured by WA as 5.2m x 4.5m. Apparently there was one room downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs.
DTF 24
At the back of the main farmhouse was a backroom / dairy larder which was around 1.4m wide and ran the length of the house (WA). The grid is SX53637 84925.
DTF 25
Immediately behind the backroom / dairy larder was what is described as a passage way
DTF 26
Another view of the passageway. SX53639 84930
DTF 27
A piece of metal found in the passageway. We speculated it might have been part of the fireplace
DTF 28
The lean-to kitchen can be located at SX53640 84924
DTF 29
Another view of the lean-to kitchen, which was 6.9m x 2.3m (WA)
DTF 30
The lean-to kitchen had a peat burning stove
DTF 31
The garden is located immediately in front of the farmhouse at SX53641 84913. This area (WA) is 8.8m x 5.5m and had flowerbeds
DTF 32
This was found behind the garden. An old carpet !
DTF 33
The carpet laid out
DTF 34
The shippon can be found at SX53652 84911
DTF 35
The shippon is 16m x 3.5m and was split into three sections
DTF 36
There was a horse stable at the south end, cows were kept at the north end and bullocks in the middle (source WA).
DTF 37
The yard at SX53626 84918. This is looking towards the outhouse
DTF 38
The yard looking towards the farmhouse.
DTF 39
Taken from between the Shippon (south end) and the calf house / shed. This view of the farmhouse and lean-to kitchen is from around 1910
DTF 39a
Slightly wider angle form the 1910 picture, this one is from 1969
DTF 39b
…..and the 2020 view
DTF 40
Overlay on the 1969 picture
DTF 41
The overlay in the 2020 view
DTF 42
The vegetable garden at SX53631 84909
DTF 43
The plot was 6.4m x 4m (source WA)
DTF 44
The calf house / shed can be found at SX53635 84905
DTF 45
This is 6.3m x 2.9m (source WA)
DTF 46
A horse and bullocks were kept here.
DTF 47
Probable location of the dutch barn at SX53607 84895
DTF 48
The Dutch Barn would have been for storing hay
DTF 49
A final view of the dutch barn foundations

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2 Comments

  1. Peter Brooks September 23, 2020

    Fascinating research Steve. I think it is so sad that more of these building were not preserved. They are as much a part of the Dartmoor Heritage as the cairns and crosses. Because they are ‘near’ history no one seems to think it important to preserve them

    • SteveGrigg1961 October 13, 2020 — Post author

      I agree Peter. It would be nice to see a few more “information boards” around as well, like the ones at Leather Tor farm and Lowery Barn

      Regards,

      Steve

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