Pictures of Moretonhampstead
Often called 'The Gateway to the Moors' the picturesque town of Moretonhampstead is set to the eastern edge of Dartmoor amid glorious moorland scenery. It is an ancient town with 13-centuries of history, that for the most part has been mostly peaceful. Reference in the Domesday Book tells us that the manor of Morton, together with other close manors, held in excess of 5,000 sheep. Hence we know that the town and it's inhabitants prospered, firstly from wool and in a later period, from the production of woolen cloth.
In the year 1207, the town was granted market and fair rights by King John, this sealed Moretons' importance within the area. Progress continued through the Middle Ages, when the town enjoyed long periods of economic stability until the end of the 17th-century when the wool industry declined. From here on the fortunes of Moretonhampstead have fluctuated with the various centuries and today we see a town which is at the centre of tourism. It is a charming place to visit and from which to tour the vast moorland territories of Dartmoor.
This quiet market town retains many old attractive buildings, most of which have been graded and listed and are preserved within a designated conservation area. The Church of St.Andrew is a stout granite building of the perpendicular period. It has a clock tower and dates from 1450. Throughout the ages, the church has had many benefactors and the beautiful carved oak rood was gifted by the Hon.Mrs.Seymour in memory of her husband who served as churchwarden for many years. Interestingly, the church has memorials to two French soldiers, prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars, who died whilst on parole from Dartmoor Prison. The colonnaded almshouses, seen in the town, date 1637.
Moretonhampstead occupies a favoured position and is close to some of Dartmoors most famous beauty spots. A short drive of around six miles to the north of the town will bring you to Drewsteignton and there you should leave your car and explore on foot. It is here that the River Teign enters a deep gorge and flows for several miles through a wonderland of soft English countryside. Here, vast wooded areas tower above the snaking river which swirls over rocks and boulders as it heads towards a beautiful old bridge known as Fingle Bridge. Here you can stand on the bridge and watch the river life, brown trout bask in warm clear pools, and just occasionally a salmon might pass warily by. All is cool, calm and peaceful, not much stirs, and nothing can be heard but the rippling river and the sweet sound of birdsong. This is a place in which to tarry and drink deeply of the peace and quiet - and enjoy Mother Nature at her very best.
Other attractions in the area are; A nearby miniture pony centre, there are several Iron Age fort sites and the NT property of Castle Drogo. Moretonhampstead provides good shopping facilities and the area offers a wealth of excellent restaurants and pubs.
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