Friday, 30 May 2014

The VW Adventure and Gallery Opening!

What an exciting weekend this is going to be for us at Active Dartmoor. Our lovely editors John and Anna are heading off with their young daughter for an adventure on Dartmoor in a wonderful VW Camper Van. The rather regal Ordell has been generously loaned for a couple of days to the intrepid trio for their weekend jaunt by those lovely folk up at O'Connors Campers in Okehampton.

The idea behind this little jolly will be to bring you a feature article in the upcoming summer issue of Active Dartmoor magazine, about the ins and outs of camping, living and traveling in one of these really fun old vehicles while you discover the many delights of Dartmoor.... I'm really looking forward to the photographs.

The other project which is bringing me joy is our new Dartmoor Photographers Gallery on the website, which should be up and running live by the end of today. We have such an enormous wealth of photographers on and around the Dartmoor area, some of whom have been hugely supportive and generous with their images to us over the years. We want to say Thank You to all of them, for the joy they bring us with their gorgeous photographs, many of which means those Togs setting alarm clocks for the middle of the night in order to catch the mists and special light of the early dawn on Dartmoor.

Do have a look, there is information on our home page, or you can go straight to the Photo Gallery. Each of the photographers has two or three images, plus some of their personal information and a link to take you direct to the rest of their extraordinarily beautiful work. If you are reading this on Twitter or Facebook, go to   And enjoy!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Show season is upon us.

It's Devon County Show today. 
Part of me wishes I was there, but looking out of the Active Dartmoor office window at the rain lashing down, I think maybe I'm in the right place! 
Two years ago we took the show trailer and a wonderful old VW campervan courtesy of O'Connors Camper Vans in Okehampton and camped at the show for the duration. We were situated in the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association compound by kind permission of Charlotte Faulkner and had a marvelous time promoting all things Dartmoor. The DHPA performed their wonderful musical ride twice a day in the ring directly in front of us, designed to raise awareness of these lovely ponies and show what versatile animals they are. 

That was the year that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police attended the show, they were stabled a mere few yards away from the trailer so we had plenty of opportunity to chat to the riders and get to know their amazing horses a little. The sight of one of their 17.2 hands black horses gently touching noses with one of the Dartmoor Ponies was very moving. The Mounties were fascinated by the Dartmoor Hill Ponies, and the Dartmoor Heritage Ponies, and so impressed by the children's musical ride they invited the entire team into the ring for a photo call! Happy days :-)

But enough reminiscing! We're really looking forward to going to the Dartmoor shows this year with the Active Dartmoor magazine trailer. We will be at Okehampton, Chagford, Lustleigh, Widecombe Fair, and Belstone Village Fair. We love chatting to our readers, getting feedback about the magazine and catching up with the other Dartmoor based trade stands folk. We may well have some very interesting visitors to the trailer this year, all of them with feathers. Some have feathers all over, some have feathers just on their legs, as we are hoping to have birds of prey and the big friendly giants from Adventure Clydesdale spending some time with us on our stand.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Hens and hoola hoops

What a glorious weekend we had on Dartmoor! Belstone seemed to be a magnet for every sort of activitity over the wonderfully warm couple of days. Walkers with huge rucksacks, presumably inspired by the Ten Tors event, cyclists dressed from head to toe in brightly coloured Lycra, hordes of walkers with assorted dogs and various riders on animals ranging from the small hairy type to very fit looking warmbloods. There was a definite air of jollity and friendliness emanating from everyone, it's quite amazing the effect that warmth and sunshine can have on people when it coincides with their two days off work!
But without doubt, the most unusual activity taking place on the moor here in Belstone was being enjoyed by the lovely group of ladies celebrating a Hen Party. All of them were stood in a circle on the green above the Taw River twirling hula hoops for all they were worth :-) My 20 month old grandson was enchanted and promptly gate crashed the party to join in!
It just goes to show you don't need to be super fit, equipped to the hilt with outdoor gear or expensive hiking boots, well versed in navigation skills or carrying laminated maps in order to come out and have fun on the moors. A simple hoola hoop and a group of like minded friends was all it took for these ladies to have a wonderful time excercising amongst the glorious scenery that we have here on Dartmoor.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dartmoor ponies in danger from drivers.

I visited the Dartmoor National Park visitor centre at Haytor yesterday to top up their supply of Active Dartmoor magazines and was virtually surrounded by Dartmoor pony mares and their very young foals. They are absolutely enchanting, who can resist them! Lots of people were enjoying taking photographs of them in the car park, on the grass outside the centre, and on the edge of the road when a white van came hurtling through, clearly hell bent on getting to his next stop as fast as possible. Not one of these ponies, mares or babies, even batted an eyelid, regardless of the fact that they were literally inches from potential injury or death. Small wonder then that we hear of so many of these iconic and wonderful ponies meeting their end at the hands of reckless and dangerous drivers across Dartmoor. What can be done to educate people? To teach them that just because the way looks clear between the ponies on either side of the road, a split second is all it takes for a mare or foal to step innocently into the path of an oncoming vehicle leaving itself no chance of survival?

Friday, 9 May 2014

Ten Tors is upon us.

I have been out delivering magazines to a few of our outlets across the moor today, and there was really only one topic of conversation wherever I went. Yes, it's that time of year again, when 2400 intrepid youngsters head out across Dartmoor to tackle the two day challenge that is Ten Tors. The skies have been full of helicopters flying personnel and gear out to various checkpoints over the moor, ready for the weekend event which will start with a boom from the cannon at 7am tomorrow morning. I wish them well, and hope to be able to watch some of the teams coming home on Sunday. The weather is due to be pretty vile this weekend, making the routes even more difficult, but the teams have trained in some truly awful weather since the beginning of the year and I am sure they are more than up to the challenge. Go well!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

The Future!

In the coming days and weeks I will be introducing various features, including a blog, newsletter, list of shows and events on Dartmoor, both sporting and agricultural, what's happening during this part of the year, background information on what you see going on as you walk, ride, run, cycle, climb or just drive your way across this stunning area, who's responsible for what, and a whole host of other stories, articles, myths and legends! Primarily I am concerned with activities on Dartmoor, but everyone visiting needs a place to stay, eat and drink, so there will be information on accommodation, activity providers, outdoor gear suppliers, cafes and pubs. Various members of the team will be travelling to the Dartmoor shows this coming summer, including some of the Active Dartmoor Dogs! Keep an eye open for our trailer, we will usually have back issues, competitions, a quiz, and most importantly, cake, so come and say hello to us, we love talking to our readers! We are all very excited about this new venture, and will welcome hearing your thoughts and suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you and meeting you, hearing your stories and learning from you too. Welcome to Active Dartmoor!!