On the 15th March the Romans celebrated a festival for Anna Perenna, the goddess of the year. People headed towards the River Tiber with their picnics. Some Romans believed that the number of cups of wine they drank would foretell how many years they would live!
In a house near to Bovey Tracey a family bought an old staircase from the abbey at Buckfast and installed it in their home. Soon afterwards a number of Benedictine monks would be seen walking up and down the stairs at the same time each evening.
Eventually it got too much for the family to bear and a priest was called to exorcise the visitors.
Across the river from Bellever Forest there is a house were two sisters once lived. The locals found it very odd that they never saw them buy any food. They thought they must be stealing sheep from the moor so went to confront them. To their surprise they found the ladies sat to the diner table scoffing on piles of slugs and snails.
The ladies were so embarrassed that their little secret had been found out they pined away and died, leaving the house to fall into ruin.
Near to the village of Lustleigh there is a bottomless hole called Peck Pit which was part of an old mine. It is said to be haunted by an old ploughman who was lured into the hole, along with his horse, because he insisted on ploughing on Good Friday.
Ever since that day his ghost appears each year on the anniversary of his disappearance.
The Dart is a beautiful crystal clear river that runs through the heart of the moor, but behind its peaceful exterior lies a dark secret. It is said that it takes one life a year, by gently calling the victim's name thus luring them closer until they fall in and drown.
One day during the Napoleonic wars, French prisoners were being led across the moor from Plymouth to the prison at Princetown when a huge snow storm blew in. Some of the prisoners began to freeze so the guards decided to take shelter in a small gully. Unfortunately the weather worsened and the guards, noticing that their captives were in no condition to run away, left on horseback to get help. Before leaving they called out to the drummer boy to keep drumming, so it would be easier to find them on their return.
When they finally got back the poor boy was frozen solid, and to this day the people of Princetown during a snow storm can often hear the distant beat of a lonely drum.
Beneath the streets of Tavistock there are apparently a number of medieval tunnels built to service the old abbey. One day two clergymen were exploring them when two monks appeared in the distance. As they got closer, the monks bowed with grace and then continued their journey down the tunnel.
On the road between Princetown and Plymouth a ghostly dog can be seen feverishly looking for something. It is said that his master was murdered on the road and he is trying to avenge his death!
(It is also tradition that he occasionally makes mistakes in identifying his master killer!)
During a skirmish in the Civil War in 1643 a young poet called Sidney Godolphin died from a musket shot wound in the porch of The Three Crowns Hotel in Chagford. He was the second son of Sir William Godolphin and was fighting for the king. Ever since his death there have been regular sightings of a young man striding down the corridors of the building in full cavalier uniform.
In the 11th century a man called Bowerman lived near Hound Tor. He was a great hunter and archer (bowman) and one day he charged with his hounds into a coven of witches who were making frightful spells. They were none to pleased, so the next time they saw him they lured him into a bog and turned him into stone!
I am a freelance illustrator based within Dartmoor National Park producing humorous images for people of all ages.