National Geographic : 1963 Aug
hedges. Set solidly there, they once marked field boundaries. Now, sunken, they serve to hold the field edge in place. Hawthorn, ferns, blackberries-ripe and lush and wonderfully tasty-all sorts of vegetation flourishes, often over car-top height. "Three inches on this side," Mel Grosvenor called out to the driver as, for the tenth time on a typical morning, we backed cau tiously down a steep gradient to a passing place about five yards wide, to allow a small car to squeeze by. Cars Must Yield to Cows Three inches! Soon it was noth ing. Prickly blackberry stalks brush the car. Just as we approach the small widening that serves as a passing place, a herd of large red cows comes calmly round the corner, big-uddered, orderly, unconcerned. It's their road and they know it. We just have to stop until they plod by, one at a time. Such are the frus trations-the charm-of Devon's lovely, winding lanes. Just out from Plymouth lies Dartmoor, with its dramatic scenery, its famous ponies, and its somber prison built to house prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars. From that dread structure success ful escape across the sinister, wind- seasi swept, and often mist-shrouded book moor is almost unknown. Beyond, across Dartmoor, lies the fascinating north, with beauty spots like Clovelly, Westward Ho! of literary fame, Lynton and Lynmouth, Water's Meet, Ilfracombe. Back of Dartmoor, to the northeast, is Exmoor. To see all this, I set off with an old wartime shipmate, Comdr. V. Judge Glassborow, O.B.E., and his wife Gwen, who now live at Yelverton by the edge of Dartmoor. "The commoners who farm the fringes of Dartmoor or patches of land on the moor itself have rights to graze stock, cut peat, and remove a certain quantity of stone," the commander said. "It's been that way for hundreds of years." Suddenly the well-tilled fields dropped be hind. All around instead was open ground, hilly, rolling away for miles. We rattled over a cattle grid set in the roadway. 224 ipy cobbles of a natural wall shelter sun bathers at a de community named Westward Ho! for Kingsley's .Swimmers test breakers that sometimes bring in relics "That grid is to stop the stock from stray ing into and out of the moor and to keep the ponies in," my friend said. We saw a knot of the famous Dartmoor ponies, sturdy little fellows with their rough coats (page 218). They looked friendly and docile. Two or three raised shaggy heads. No Handouts for the Ponies I reached for some crusts to throw them. "Don't feed those ponies. It's against the law!" I pulled the crusts back quickly. "A lot of tourists stop their cars and feed the ponies," Gwen Glassborow explained. "Then the poor little things crowd onto the roads. And there are some nasty accidents."