A ‘Dartefact’ or ‘Dartmoor Artefact’ can be defined as; ‘an object, site or feature found on Dartmoor, typically of cultural, historical or geological interest’. Dartefacts are hard to find – not just because they can be small, barely inscribed rocks hidden under prickly gorse but because the information as to their whereabouts is located and spread throughout a vast collection of various books and tricky to locate online sources and blogs!
Dartmoor is rich in these ‘points of interest’ and Dartefacts (the website) seeks to efficiently communicate and share this aspect of the moorland. A Dartmoor excursion often involves navigating between points of interest and Dartefacts attempts to provide both a listing and map location of these many features. Many, many books have already been published on the various types of items that can be found on the moors; tors, granite crosses, bound stones, prehistoric sites etc., etc., however, many of these books are out of print, difficult to find, expensive to purchase, out of date with later findings or so old that they don’t utilize Ordnance Survey/ GPS location data etc. There is also a wealth of data available online on Blogs, Facebook etc. that is not being efficiently collated and shared. In the past the Dartmoor explorer had to do their own research and then copy down this data onto their own lists or maps. GPS has made finding items easier although before Dartefacts there was no single, central location where ALL items of interest could be listed, together with their GPS/ Ordnance Survey National Grid Reference locations.
One sunny, Sunday afternoon as I was walking down from Crazy Well Pool, I had a crazy idea, it suddenly dawned on me that a list of a few items to visit on a tatty piece of paper and a few indelible marks on a map could be given a 21st Century digital makeover and shared with others! Dartefacts (Dartmoor’s Artefacts) was born! Thus, beyond providing a ‘shopping list’ of interesting items to visit this project makes full use of the power of a digital database combining an easily navigated classification system and Ordnance Survey Mapping. This approach provides a number of methods for users to ‘interrogate’ data both at home and ‘out in the field’. A unique ‘classification’ system was devised to allow users to easily find items.
Additional information such as images, height at location, general information, related web links, Ordnance Survey ten-figure grid reference (suitable for GPS) and downloadable GPS data for each Dartefact will be provided as this project develops. A tick-list combined with individual User Registration is also planned so that the Dartmoor walker can easily record their visits to these many hidden gems. This will also enable Users to see how other Dartmoor Walkers are using and visiting Dartmoor and provide an element of ‘gamification’ to the walking experience.
Although ‘location of items’ will always remain central, the ‘Dartefacts Project’ encompasses much more. As well as a digitally enhanced ‘shopping list’ Dartefacts is also a location where artwork derived from my experiences exploring the moorlands is exhibited. Dartefacts is also a place for tourists to explore and for local businesses (that have a strong connection to tourism/walking) to be placed.
This is an ongoing, amateur (very!) historical research/ art project. Current estimate for project completion is circa 2046! Many items are researched through old books and require their locations to be ‘guesstimated’. Therefore some items may not be in exactly the right places on the maps – you use Dartefacts at your peril! ;o) Only items provided with a height (in metres) have been ‘physically’ visited and their coordinates accurately ‘fixed’ by GPS. Some items may no longer exist – but are recorded anyway as it is curious to know that they were once there – and they may yet turn up! Many of these items are on private land and in that instance access must be sought from the landowner before visiting. Do not assume that a listed item is legally accessible. No responsibility for trespass, injury or damage to property etc. can be attributed to this project.
The book ‘Dartmoor 365’ by John Hayward (1991) has proven to be very popular with Dartmoor explorers and there is an element of ‘crossover’ between Dartefacting and 365’ing. If you find a 365 item then you have also found a Dartefact – and vice versa! As such this site provides assistance for 365’ers in terms of general locations and a tick-list if you are a Registered User with Dartefacts. Further information about 365’ing and how it relates to Dartefacts is provided HERE. I would also like to point out that the incorporation of 365 items to find is to assist the book user and to encourage further purchases of this excellent book and does not supplant the book or provide published and copyright information contained within the book itself – beyond what is already available online from other sites. The information/drawings contained within the pages of the ‘Dartmoor 365’ book will not be published here. So in order to ‘play’ the ‘Dartmoor 365’ game one will need to purchase the book.
Dartefacts on Social Media:
I did once keep a Dartefacts Facebook account but was asked to reveal my name by providing documents and evidence of who I was! I couldn’t be bothered and so the account has lapsed. I have to admit social media did absorb a ridiculous amount of time so I didn’t miss it! I have wondered about getting back to it with Instagram.. one day maybe..
If you would like to help please email a grid reference and description of any interesting items found on Dartmoor via the CONTACT page. I also ‘hang out’ at the Facebook ‘Dartmoor 365’ Group and can be contacted there. Any errors reported will always be gratefully received. If you do help in any way your name will be listed on the ‘ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS‘ page.
Happy ‘Dartefacting’, fellow ‘Dartefacters’!!
Rob/ ‘dartefact’ (June 2016)
Total Number of Dartefacts so far: 3296 items.
Total Number of Dartefacters (Registered Users) so far: 216