Letterboxing on Dartmoor

a historical hobby on dartmoor

What is Dartmoor Letterboxing? A hobby which has been around for over 150 years, and has spread around the globe.  A pastime that delighted intrepid walkers of the Victorian era, yet retains a simple, fun charm that captivates and entertains thousands of fans today.

Participants, or Letterboxers search the Tors and valleys for the hidden treasure, either following clues or simply searching under rocks.  A Dartmoor Letterbox is a container – typically a durable plastic box – containing a rubber stamp, a copy of which is taken for the collection, journal or scrapbook.  

Also inside is a visitor’s book – where a Letterboxer can leave their mark, usually in the form of a ‘personal’ stamp to prove the visit.

The first Letterbox was sited at Cranmere Pool in the middle of the North Moor by a Dartmoor Guide named James Perrott back in 1854. It took 40 years for the second box to be sited at Belstone Tor, but now there are hundreds of Letterboxes sited all over the moor.

To get Letterboxing, in addition to the appropriate clothing for Dartmoor, you’ll need a map, compass and know how to use both.  Clues help and these can be obtained in a couple of ways.  Clue sheets are sold for charity at the bi-annual Letterbox Meet held on clock-change Sundays each March and October at Lee Moor Village Hall.  A catalogue of Dartmoor Letterbox clues is also for sale at these Meets.  Don’t forget an inkpad, and a pad of paper to stamp your finds in.  Remember also to re-hide any Letterbox you find in the site you found them in, as you would expect to find them.  Happy Hunting!

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