Dartmoor Explorations

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

West Coombe

West Coombe was first documented in 1562 and comprises two farms (Higher and Lower West Coombe). The farms are 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 Mariner’s Way at this point also shares its route with the more modern “Two Moors Way”, which was officially opened in May 1976.

To the intrepid hiker following either the Mariner’s Way or the Two Moors Way, it is worth spending a few moments to take in the history of the two farms which include a 16th Century Longhouse, a 17th Century Shippon and a 18th Century Ash House as well as other historical buildings. This post shows some of the buildings which can be found here.

West Coombe Map
Map showing some the buildings at West Coombe and shown in this post.
Lower West Coombe. The longhouse was built in the early 16th century and has had later alterations. It is listed on the 19th century Tithe Map Apportionment as ‘Higher Westcombe’ with the alternate name of Lower Westcombe. The barn is circa late-18th century. and constructed from granite rubble with dressed quoins, corrugated iron roof and is gable ended.
Lower West Coombe residents
Lower West Coombe: The longhouse was built in the early 16th century with 17th and 18th century alterations. The building is constructed partly of granite ashlar and partly of granite rubble. At the Shippon gable end (which is north east end of the Longhouse) is a round-headed granite arched doorway. This is original, yet an unusual feature in a longhouse and whose purpose is unclear; possibly it served to muck out the Shippon.
Higher West Coombe: The farmhouse (formerly listed as Higher Westcombe) is circa early 16th century, altered probably in 18th century. It has granite walls, large ashlar blocks extending approximately half way along the front then changing to rubble. The Shippon is believed to be 17th century constructed of granite ashlar and rubble.
Ash House: It is probably 18th century and has granite rubble walls with conical corbelled granite rubble roof covered with turfs. The loading “hatch” faces Lower West Coombe farm. 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.
Ash House: On the opposite side to the loading hatch is a doorway, which in spite there being no door, has iron door fastenings which still remain.
Ash House: Dimensionally it is 4m high with an external diameter of 3m.
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