Hound Tor

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Hound Tor
Dartmoor Hound Tor.jpg
View of Hound Tor
Elevation 414 m (1,358 ft)
Prominence c. 26 m
Location
Hound Tor is located in Dartmoor
Hound Tor
Hound Tor
Location of Hound Tor in Dartmoor
Location Dartmoor, England
OS grid SX742789
Coordinates 50°35′46″N 3°46′44″W / 50.59623°N 3.77878°W / 50.59623; -3.77878Coordinates: 50°35′46″N 3°46′44″W / 50.59623°N 3.77878°W / 50.59623; -3.77878
Topo map OS Landranger 191

Hound Tor is a tor on Dartmoor, Devon, England and is a good example of a heavily weathered granite outcrop. It is easily accessible, situated within a few minutes from the B3387 between Bovey Tracey and Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Sabine Baring-Gould said that it derived its name from the shape assumed by the blocks on the summit that have been weathered into forms resembling the heads of dogs peering over the natural battlements.[1]

Medieval village[edit]

To the south-east of the tor, on a north-eastern-facing slope are the remains of Hundatora,[2] a deserted medieval village, which was excavated between 1961 and 1975. It has four Dartmoor longhouses, many with a central drainage channel, and several smaller houses and barns. The three grain storage barns appear to have been adapted to include corn dryers, indicative of the deteriorating climate which led to the abandonment of the settlement by 1350.

The settlement is first mentioned in the Domesday Book as belonging to Tavistock Abbey:

Land for 4 ploughs. In Lordship 1 plough; 2 slaves; 1 virgate, 2 villages and 4 smallholders with 1 plough and 1 virgate. Meadow, 9 acres; woodland 2 acres; pasture, 1 league. 1 cattle; 28 sheep; 18 goats. Value 20 s.

The villagers apparently left little behind when they left, though the acidic soil would have destroyed much evidence; the excavations unearthed a single coin from the time of Henry III, and some broken pottery originating from Crockerton in Dorset.[3]

Other archaeological remains[edit]

There are a number of older remains of human occupation nearby, including a prehistoric farmstead 400 metres north-west of the settlement, and to the south are some Bronze age hut circles.

Outlines of medieval fields can still be seen, especially from vantage points on top of the tor. The fields are bounded by "corn ditches" - granite walls fronting a ditch, with earth piled up behind the wall.

Culture[edit]

According to a local legend Hound Tor was created when a pack of hounds were turned to stone (see Bowerman's Nose).

Hound Tor was used extensively in location filming for the 1975 Doctor Who story The Sontaran Experiment.[4]

It is also thought to have inspired a number of artists and writers, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Hound Tor was used as a location in the BBC Sherlock TV series when adapting that story.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eric Hemery (1983). High Dartmoor. London: Robert Hale. pp. 739–740. ISBN 0-7091-8859-5. 
  2. ^ "Houndtor Settlement". Legendary Dartmoor. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  3. ^ Chapman, L. The Ancient Dwellings of Grimspound and Hound Tor. Orchard publishing (Newton Abbot) 1996, pp. 22-25
  4. ^ "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): The Sontaran Experiment". www.shannonsullivan.com. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 

External links[edit]

  • Hound Tor - official site at English Heritage