Why Britain’s national parks are every bit as precious as their US cousins


Raised above the rest of Devon, Dartmoor has always been a place apart; one minute an aching emptiness of brooding tors and windswept skylines, the next a deep valley at your feet, a falling away of mossy oaks and the sound of a river running far below.

Its hillsides are littered with relics of long ago, drawing you into an ancient landscape of clitters, cleaves and featherbeds – Dartmoor-speak for scree slopes, glens and quaking bogs. 

Granite is the key to getting to know it. Rain or shine, the sullen glitter of its feldspar crystals is everywhere, in every rough-hewn gatepost, in the tall grey tower of Widecombe’s St Pancras church – the Cathedral of the Moor – and in the four mighty slabs…

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