Dartmoor Explorations

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

Liapa (Moor Gate) Farm

‘Liapa’ farm is shown on 19th century OS map as a large L-shaped building in an irregular shaped yard with an irregular shaped building to the north-east. By the 20th Century the farm had become known as ‘Moor Gate’ and is shown on modern OS mapping with additional buildings to the north and west. The farm itself is a typical Dartmoor farm and can be located on the route of an old trackway known as the Mariner’s Way. This old trackway ran from Bideford to Dartmouth and it is said the route was used by sailors who would be changing ships between the two ports, a journey of some 70 miles. The most remarkable features about the farm (and the main reason for this post) is that it has an old chapel, an old ash house and there is a medieval wayside cross approx. 500m away to the north-west, which was once located at the farm

Liapa Map 1
19th century map (1873-1888), showing the relative locations of the Mariner’s Way track, the Chapel and the Ash House.
Liapa Map 2
19th century map showing Liapa farm and its location near to Moor Gate farm and the A382 Moretonhampstead – Postbridge road.
Liapa Map 3
A 20th century map shows Liapa farm has been renamed Moor Gate with the original “Moor Gate” no longer shown. What is interesting is that the map shows an Ash House and Leapra Cross, which are covered in this post.
Liapa 1
21st century view of Liapa (Moor Gate) farm from the east, showing the relative locations of the Chapel foundations and the Ash House (in the small copse).
Liapa 2
Chapel foundations can be found at SX70407 83042. In the Dartmoor HER (MDV 8748) the chapel footings are not dated but are described as consisting “of two parallel banks running north to south with a foundation of loose stones and packed earth between them. The footings consist of definite walling of roughly rectangular stones plus others of cruder working”.
Liapa 3
Side view of the Chapel footings. According to the Dartmoor HER “The chapel area has been dug out and put to use as a pit for manure”.
Liapa 4
The Chapel footings in relation to the farmhouse and the garden drystone wall, alongside which the Mariner’s Way footpath finger post can be seen.
Liapa 5
Looking closer at the drystone wall around the garden some large worked stones can be seen, which are believed may have been originally a part of the Chapel.
Liapa 6
The Ash House at Liapa (Moor Gate) farm can be seen just inside a hedge / fence at SX70417 83065. The National Monument Record describes this Ash House as being “a massively built ash house with corbelled stone roof, the walls of which are disintegrating due to neglect. The walls stand to 3.5 metres high, are 0.5 metres thick and 3.5 metres internal diameter”. Ash Houses had two functions; firstly to provide a safe place for the old embers from the farm house fire and secondly for a storage place for accumulated ash together with vegetable waste so it could late be used as a fertiliser.
Liapa 7
Another view of the Ash House from the north showing its location in a small copse near the farm
Liapa 8
Liapa or Leapra Cross is approx 500m from Liapa (Moor Gate) farm, where is once was located. It is also called Leeper Cross and is medieval in origin. It was set up in its present location in 1937 on the insistence of the Dartmoor Preservation Association. However, prior to that at the turn of the 20th century William Crossing had noted the cross at Liapa Farm and wrote about it (Crossings Guide page 263). In his guide he describes “a fine granite cross may be seen built into the garden wall” . Shortly after Crossing’s comments, a Viscount Hambledon had the cross removed and taken to his house  at North Bovey. More information about the cross can be found here: https://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/liapa-wayside-cross.htm
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