On Gibbet Hill

To the west of Dartmoor is Gibbet Hill, a rounded prominence offering good views and grim memories.. For it was here that criminals who were hanged were gibbeted after death – as an example to others tempted to stray off the straight and narrow. There were many gibbets across the land – for execution wasContinue reading “On Gibbet Hill”

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Echoes of the Past

When I walk I always see more than one landscape. There’s obviously what you see out on your walk today, but there are all those other landscapes too. The landscapes of the past, and those are all merged together in the present lie of the land – a glorious palimpsest. For the observant walker, thisContinue reading “Echoes of the Past”

Smugglers Paths

Walk the old paths near the coast and you are almost certainly walking in the footsteps of smugglers. I’ve walked a great deal in Devon and Dorset, using paths, tracks and hollow ways which would certainly have known the passage of smugglers – for smuggling was a boom industry until recent times. As late asContinue reading “Smugglers Paths”

Walking Sacred Landscapes

There’s no doubt that the people who lived in this country in what we call prehistory regarding the land as sacred. Just look around and see the stone circles, henges and stone rows they left behind. It is hard for us to enter their mindset, though most folk still experience a sense of wonder whenContinue reading “Walking Sacred Landscapes”

Walking to England’s Highest Roman Fort

Epiacum, the Romans called it, a second-century fort built to guard the empire’s interests in Pennine lead mining, and probably to provide backup for Hadrian’s Wall. It’s unique in being the only lozenge-shaped fort in Britain – rather than the more familiar playing-card shape, and has the most complex defences of any Roman fort yetContinue reading “Walking to England’s Highest Roman Fort”

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