Robert Charles Hope tells us in ‘The Legendary Lore Of The Holy Wells Of England’ (1893) that ‘Cranmere Pool is believed to be a place of punishment for unhappy spirits, who are frequently to be heard wailing in the morasses which surround it’.
Specific Location: Dartmoor
Following a 1585 Act of Parliament, Plymouth Leat or Drake’s Leat was built to divert water from the River Meavy on Dartmoor, seventeen and a half miles to Plymouth. The idea itself dates back to 1559 when Plymouth Corporation asked Mr Forsland of Bovey to make an initial survey for its construction, in order to create a new supply of fresh water. A more detailed survey was completed in 1576.
A Black Dog story is attached to a pool near Deancombe, and James Mackinley in his ‘Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs’ (1893) referred to the hound as its guardian, doomed to haunt there until the pool could be emptied by a nutshell with a hole in it. The following earlier and fuller account of the tale appeared in Notes and Queries, Number 61 (28 December 1850):
This particularly sinister folktale of the wild hunt is from Devon, and is based in the Dartmoor area, a place full of tales of the supernatural, especially the wild hunt.
One wild stormy night a farmer was returning home from Widecombe, somewhat worse the wear from the strong local beverages brewed on-site.
The pool is haunted by the spirit of a woman who wears a red head-dress. The pool was probably venerated in ancient times.
This strange and twisted woodland is thought to be one of the few remnants of ancient woodland dating from prehistoric times. The woodland broods with the feeling of enchantment and visiting the wood is like a walk in the otherworld.
The B3212 near Two Bridges has been the scene for one of the most frightening hauntings in Dartmoor, that of the phantom hairy hands, which try to push people of the road.
Grimspound is a late Bronze Age settlement enclosed by a huge stone wall. The inhabitants were probably cattle farmers and the hut circles are the remains of their homes and pens for the cattle. It is not clear if the outer wall was for defence purposes or to keep the cattle enclosed.
Spinsters Rock is a burial cairn dating to the early Bronze Age. The structure was re-erected in the 1862 after collapsing earlier in the year.
According to folklore the rocks where erected by a group of three spinsters who where on a journey to deliver some wool. Obviously these three women where seen as giants having the strength to carry such a heavy burden.
A winged dragon made its lair in an old tin mine here. The dragon’s hissing was said to be audible for miles around. It was finally slain in the mine but history does not record by whom. The story was recorded by the late 18th century writer Polwhele.