“ I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.” Steven Spielberg.

A new activity taking Dartmoor by storm!

Enjoy a day out on Dartmoor? Want to try something new? Then ‘365ing’ may be just for you!

Back in 1990, John Hayward, a lifelong fan of the moor, noticed that the Dartmoor National Park was exactly 365 square miles in size. He set off on a mission to visit every one of them and made notes and sketches about what he found within them. This became ‘Dartmoor 365’, a fascinating book of history, folklore, and items of interest that can be found in each of the square miles of the national park. The book was popular at the time but missed by many until recently. 

Anthony Francis-Jones, creator of the Dartmoor 365 facebook group, comments, “I found ‘Dartmoor 365’ in the DNP shop in Princetown and bought it as a curio. I thought I knew the moor well from many days spent camping, walking and training Ten Tors groups but as I read it I realised just how much I had missed by not stopping to look more carefully at the area around me. I became hooked and wanted to share my passion more widely by creating a facebook group to share the joy of 365ing.” 

The group now has over 4000 members of all ages who pick numbered grid squares from the book and venture off to find what they contain. Many take photographs or make drawings and share these and their experiences on the group’s Facebook page. The book has a blank grid inside the front cover allowing one to colour in each square as you visit it and even a bonus square should it be a leap year!

Sheron Vowden is a keen ‘365er’ and has visited many of the squares more than once. “I love 365ing because the more squares you visit the more you want to track down those elusive things mentioned in the book. You will find out about things you never knew existed and it will take you to a variety of places from open wilderness to quaint villages. It opens your eyes more to what is around you. Of course as you get nearer completing all 365 squares it becomes a mission to colour in the last few so you can say you have covered them all become a little fitter at the same time.”

365ing’ is suitable for all ages and abilities as squares cover easily accessible villages as well as more remote places on the moor such as Cranmere Pool (square G9) or Childe’s Tomb (P10). Ever wondered what the Hairy Hands (K11) are? What legends surround Crazywell Pool (P7) and Ephraim’s Pinch (K13)? What do Swell Tor Quarry (N6) and London Bridge have in common? Who was Jay of Jay’s Grave (J16) and what are Sett Makers Bankers (M5) or the Miol Stone (K16)? Then 365ing is for you!

By Anthony Francis-Jones

The book is available at all DNP shops as well as many local bookshops and Internet sources.

Facebook group:  “Dartmoor 365”