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Dartmoor is famed for its wide open spaces, its dramatic tors, wooded valleys, rushing rivers and for its wildlife but it is also important for its diverse cultural heritage. The history of people on Dartmoor goes back more than 10,000 years.Much of what we see on Dartmoor today reminds us that people continue to live and work here - in fact, about 33,400 people live in the National Park.  By using skills necessary to conserve and maintain local distinctiveness and by continuing traditions of use, many local people  - such as farmers, thatchers and wallers - are part of this heritage.

Dartmoor’s cultural heritage encompasses prehistoric, medieval, industrial and military archaeology; the historic built environment including settlement patterns, towns, villages, hamlets, farmsteads and other historic buildings and routes.  It also includes historic landscapes such as parks and gardens, forest and commons, field patterns, and managed woodland and orchards.  

This heritage also reflects a wealth of archive material, oral history, long-established institutions, traditions, events and customs (such as Widecombe Fair and Lustleigh May Day), and Dartmoor-inspired literature, art, legends and folk music.

Scattered throughout the area, particularly on the fringes of high Dartmoor, are towns and villages which have played - and continue to play - an important part in the area’s history and well-being.

The Dartmoor National Park Authority plays its part in seeking to protect and enhance the built environment of Dartmoor.  Where possible, and often in partnership, it also supports the provision of local services and facilities in such a way as to support community well-being without harming the character of the local environment.

Where possible, support the local community by buying locally-produced goods including food, souvenirs and crafts, and please support local Post Offices and petrol stations.

Dartmoor’s towns and villages are full of historic and cultural interest.  You can spend many rewarding and enjoyable hours exploring churches, side alleys, shops, architectural splendour, amenities and the surrounding countryside. Listed alphabetically they are: Ashburton; Belstone; Bovey Tracey; Buckfast; Buckfastleigh; Chagford; Cornwood; Drewsteignton; Horrabridge; Ivybridge; Lustleigh; Lydford; Moretonhampstead; Okehampton; Princetown; South Brent; South Zeal; South Tawton; Sticklepath; Widecombe-in-the-Moor and Yelverton.

While Dartmoor, with over 1,200 ancient sites, is said to have been home to the first tried of hunter-gatheres some 8,000 years ago, even earlier human remains were discovered under Torquay. Taken from The Little Book OF Devon