“The history and romance of Dartmoor is unbeatable” – Barbara Smith’s account of her adventures with us on Dartmoor

By | 2017-07-07T13:52:05+00:00 August 2nd, 2016|

The first morning there was heavy mist across the moors and visibility was limited. What I could see looked exactly like I imagined a scene from Hound of the Baskerville's or Jamaica Inn. Ghostly hedges revealed hidden farmyards, complete with thatched roof cottages and low barns. We had come to Dartmoor National Park in Exeter, England to ride across the famous moors for a couple days before continuing onto Devon and Cornwall. Rosie Campbell, MFH of Bull Run Hunt in Culpeper, Virginia, her husband Chris Allen and son-in-law, Spencer Allen and my husband, Michael and I, had driven down to Bovey Castle from London on Tuesday. It had been cool, with some showers and by 4 Pm we met in the lovely sitting room for a traditional Devon cream tea. Delicious and decadent. We only had it once! Buttery biscuits, topped with berry jam and then the cream, which really looks like butter, is so good. Bovey Castle is a luxurious spa in the heart of Dartmoor and caters to hunting and fishing activites of all sorts. They have partnered with Liberty Trails, the equine brainchild of Elaine and Robert Prior, (www.libertytrails.co.uk) which offers riding holidays across these moors made famous by Sherlock Holmes and more recently, Stephen Spielberg's movie "War Horse". I received an invitation from Liberty Trails to ride in their inaugural Dartmoor Derby in September 2015. Loosely based on the idea of the Mongol Derby, which I did in 2014, they were offering a 3 day "race" across the moors with more luxurious "camping" than the aforementioned Mongol Derby. As I believe I used several of my 9 lives completing the Mongol Derby I declined the race opportunity but asked for [...]