Where can you find Dartmoor ponies on the village green? In Belstone.
A really charming village on the very edge of wonderful, dramatic, mystic Dartmoor. A place to live, stay, or as a stop off point for a touring holiday.
A great centre for walking holidays over the moor. starts close to the village highlighting the adventures of Tarka the Otter, from a novel by Henry Williamson. The trail follows the Rivers Taw and Torridge.The Taw rises at Taw Head in the vicinity and the village itself lies above Belstone Cleave a beautiful wooded valley with the new born river running through.
East Okement River waterfall on the Tarka Trail near the village
Photograph © Grant Sherman 2005
It is one of the Beacon villages, Cosdon Beacon (once knowns as Cawsand Beacon), the local landmark 1800 ft high with its summit cairns, dominates the landscape. Sticklepath the parish's sister village is also one of the villages, South Tawton, South Zeal and Throwleigh are the others.
The delightful moorland village was formerly a farming community but at the beginning of the 1900's the village expanded. Nice place to live.
St Mary's Church, Belstone
Photograph © Derek Harper 2007
The Church of St Mary the Virgin, dating from c1260 and tucked away down a lane, is one of the highest churches on the moor, 1000ft above sea level. There is evidence of an earlier Saxon church.
Village stocks still exist and so does the original village pound that was once used for stray animals.
Like Sticklepath, the village has a Holy Well or spring which can be found not far from the road near the church. Not many are holy wells. It does not look much these days, a small stone construction with nowadays water oozing out of it into a little bog. Wells on the moor were important before modern times, both as waymarkers and sources of sweet water for local habitations. There are some wells still in use.
The local pub, Tors Inn, is said to be haunted by a lady who once lived there. If you don't mind that, the pub does very welcome refreshments.
There has been settlement in the area for centuries before mention of the village was made in the Domesday Book.
A pleasant moorland walk is one from the village to Belstone Tor, which rises 1568 ft. It has the site of the Nine Maidens Stone Circle at the base, a Bronze Age burial mound or kistvaen as they are known locally. A sure sign that centuries ago this area of Dartmoor was popular then.
Photograph © Sarah Charlesworth
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Tors Inn, Belstone
Photograph © Mike White
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See the picture above! The Tors Inn, a Dartmoor pub with rooms.
A stay in Okehampton would be an idea for touring around this edge of Dartmoor
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Village stocks, Belstone
Photograph © Derek Harper