Hutholes Abandoned Medieval Settlement, Widecombe in the Moor, Dartmoor National Park

Hutholes Abandoned Medieval Settlement, Widecombe in the Moor, Dartmoor National Park

An information board on site reads that 'this is the site of a deserted medieval settlement known today as Hutholes. Within an area of just under an acre lie the remains of six buildings dating to the 13th and 14th centuries A.D.'

We've positioned Hutholes on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location. To visit, head for Widecombe-in-the-Moor. From the village, the eastern section of the Two Moors Way passes over Dunstone Down near Wind Tor on its way to Jordan and the Jordan Valley. Just beyond the crossroads west of Wind Tor is a sign for Hutholes. You walk along a path in woodland and then emerge in a field. You'll see an information board to your left and the foundations of buildings. This is Hutholes. Again, zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting and you'll see a crossroads and the abanoned village on the satellite imagery.

It's an atmospheric place. You usually get it to yourself. Wander into one of the buildings and you'll see the typical form of the Dartmoor longhouse. The animals lived in the 'shippon' at one end of the building. At the other end was, sometimes, an inner room. Between shippon and inner room was an open hearth. As you'll see from the outline of the foundations, the buildings were small.

So, when and why was Hutholes abandoned? The information board on site suggests that the 'process of abandonment was gradual, but it is thought that by the second half of the 14th century the site was totally deserted and the buildings were falling into ruins. A number of similar settlements on Dartmoor were abandoned in this way at about the same time. One major reason for this was the steadily worsening weather making it increasingly more difficult to grown, ripen and dry crops'.

Dinna Clerks Longhouse is nearby.

Hound Tor Abandoned Medieval Settlement is a little further away but still within the eastern section of Dartmoor National Park.

To experience a Dartmoor longhouse, visit Higher Uppacott Longhouse just up the road from Poundsgate. Note that Higher Uppacott is not open to the public except through guided tours. See the Dartmoor National Park Authority website for details.