This book is a celebration of Dartmoor National Park--highlighting its dramatic beauty, captivating wildlife and the cultural heritage of its landscape and inhabitants. One of England's greatest expanses of wild country, Dartmoor attracts countless visitors each year, who are keen to experience its vast open and ancient scenery, high craggy tors and secluded valleys; its peace, tranquillity and humbling splendour.
This is a landscape largely created and maintained by generations of people whose lives are deeply entwined with a wild and beautiful place. Dartmoor National Park paints a colourful picture of Dartmoor today, featuring stories by people passionate about their work and life on the moor. Their accounts reflect their emotional or spiritual attachment to some very special places, offering a fascinating insight into the history of the land and demonstrating the benefits and pleasures the National Park brings to both visitors and the local community. The book features chapters on Dartmoor's geology, history and archaeology, and describes the important role played by farming and livestock in managing the land. Beautiful colour photographs, including stunning panoramas, illustrate the magnificence of one of Britain's first and finest national parks.
Foreword by Clare and Michael Morpurgo
1. Tors and torrents - Birth of the landscape
2. Rock and roll - The uses of granite
3. Wet and wild - Climate and people shaping the landscape
4. Standing stones and summer homes - A remarkable heritage
5. The National Park - The creation and cultivation of a national icon
6. Cattle, sheep and ponies - The importance of free-roaming stock herds
7. Wildlife - Hawkers, harriers and hippos
8. Dartmoor people - The stories of 20 people who live or work on Dartmoor
Endpiece: Why Dartmoor is special
Andrew Cooper was born and brought up in Devon, worked in East Africa with Richard Leakey and team exploring human evolution, and then travelled around the world a few times for the BBC. Although a biologist and anthropologist by training, he has spent most of his working life as a television producer and broadcaster with the BBC Natural History Unit based in Bristol. For as long as he can remember, Dartmoor has cast a powerful spell over Andrew. He was born and brought up in sight of the moors and his weekends were often spent playing among boulders and paddling in cold streams. As a youngster, Andrew was enthralled by huge sea trout leaping in the twilight, buzzards wheeling above craggy tors and the creeping closure of carnivorous plants consuming prey. It is no surprise that these uplands motivated Andrew to become a wildlife film maker.
After a lifetime spent producing BBC Natural History documentaries all over the world, the opportunity arose for Andrew to revisit the highest remaining wildwood in Britain and meet some amazing people. To stand waist deep in a frozen white wilderness, walk among drifts of native daffodils and revel in a story millions of years in the making were just some of the reasons to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Dartmoor National Park in a special book. Andrew is also Chairman of the Devon Wildlife Trust; a fouding trustee of the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and a Trustee of the Whitley Wildlife Trust, the owners of Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts and Slapton National Nature Reserve, Devon. Andrew lives with his wife on a farm in the historic and picturesque valley of Haccombe in South Devon. He is the author of nine books including The Secret Nature of Devon also published by Green Books. His website has webcams focussing on everything from Barn Owls to Badgers, and attracts over 22 million visitors a year.