Dartmoor, a land of magic and mystery, is a sometimes starkly beautiful sometimes desolate moorland covering 954 square kilometres (368 sq mi) in South Devon, England.

To a first time visitor, listening to folklore and fable over a pint in a centuries old pub can be a once in a lifetime experience. Spooky tales 
encompassing pixies, ghosts and weird happenings stir the imagination; mostly dismissed or forgotten in the outside world they are an integral part of everyday life on the moors.

From the Dewerstone, a hundred meter plus granite outcrop associated historically with the Devil, to the ghosts of Roman legionaries visible under a full moon at the old hill fort on Hunters Tor, to the Hairy Hands [1] disembodied appendages that suddenly appear and grab at the wheel/handlebars of your car, motorbike or cycle, the tales of “Old Dartymoor” can send shivers up the spine.

As an escape from the ordinary a vacation on the moors is an invaluable tool, a chance to experience the sights and sounds of something different. From the paranormal to the great outdoors to just plain having fun, that's Dartmoor.

[1] By way of balance and to satisfy skeptics (and they may be right) a spoiler:

It was about a hundred years ago that drivers and cyclists began experiencing unusual accidents on the road (today called the B3212) between Postbridge and Two Bridges. In many cases the victims reported ending in a ditch or off the side of the road their vehicle having become unmanageable.

Those involved usually emerged unscathed but not always:

In June 1921, Dr. E.H. Helby, the medical officer at Dartmoor Prison was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle and sidecar. The passengers in the sidecar survived.

A few months later, in August, an army officer reported that two invisible hands took control of his motorcycle causing it to crash. The story took wings and became nationwide news.

Journalist Rufus Endle spun things further, claiming he fought for control with a pair of hands while driving near Postbridge. He narrowly avoided a crash, the hands disappearing as inexplicably as they had come.

Not all incidents took place on the road. A woman camping in the ruins of Powder Mills (a mid-19th century gunpowder factory) allegedly saw a hairy hand attempting to enter her trailer. The hand supposedly withdrew after she made the sign of the cross.

Many locals (rolling their eyes) claimed accidents were caused by "grockles" (tourists) driving too fast, the high hedges and narrow winding and unfamiliar country roads causing them to lose control.

Several investigations seemingly bore this out, with the camber (steep incline) of certain sections of the road's surface deemed to be dangerous. (Fixing the road coupled with some judiciously placed road signs and a liberal dose of traffic tickets did to some extent fix the problem.)

* Writers such as Conan Doyle “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and J.K.Rowling “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (the final of the 1994 Quidditch World Cup was held on the moor) have used the desolation and majesty of the region as a backdrop for their work.

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