On a day that threatened rain 19 stalwarts of the Dartmoor Preservation Association conservation team enjoyed an exploratory visit (perhaps the first of many) to Hawns farmstead, on the National Park’s land at Hawns and Dendles, instead of their monthly visit to our adjacent land at High House Waste.   The 40 minute walk for the volunteers to the worksite was made easier with the help of Derek’s son Christopher, obligingly carrying the tools in his Land Rover Defender to within 200 metres of the worksite. 

Under the direction of Bob Bruce, two hours of strimming, slashing and raking revealed the substantial remains of the post-medieval farmstead, with large stones used in the walls and much evidence of pre-1800 stone cutting in the vicinity.   Access to the site was also improved.

Hawns farmstead before we started

Hawns farmstead after a busy days work

After lunch, everyone having consumed seasonal mulled wine and mince pies, Bob led us round the north and east parts of the site describing the other important archaeological features.  Whilst Derek and Chris  removed the tools, the rest of us looked at the moorland and tree regeneration, including substantial deer exclosures, carried out by the National Park in recent years. From an elevated viewpoint close to the north wall, the dedicated volunteers could clearly see the significant results of their several years’ work on High House Waste.   We were back in the Cornwood hostelry for our usual debriefing just before the heavens opened.  

The team

We will be returning to High House on 8th January; existing and new volunteers are, of course, very welcome.  Contact Val for further information – valerie.barns1@btinternet.com.