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Hound Tor Medieval Village

medieval village hound tor

Step Back in Time at Hound Tor Medieval Village

Nestled amidst the rolling moorland of Dartmoor lies the atmospheric ruins of a Hound Tor medieval village. This fascinating free attraction offers families a glimpse into Devon life in the Middle Ages amongst the evocative granite remnants.

With its remote hilltop location and tangible sense of history, Hound Tor makes an educational and adventure-filled day out for families in Devon. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this ancient site.

hound tor medieval village
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Getting There

Hound Tor is located around 3 miles west of Bovey Tracey in Devon. It sits high on the rocky outcrop above Haytor Vale.

By car, follow the B3387 towards Bovey Tracey then turn off towards Haytor Vale. There is a free car park along the lane leading to the site.

For a more sustainable journey, you can hike to Hound Tor from Bovey Tracey. Follow the Templer Way walking trail which takes 1-2 hours.

Opening Times and Entry

Being an unstaffed ancient monument, Hound Tor is freely accessible at any time. You’re able to explore the open site during daylight hours all year round. It is managed by English Heritage.

As the ruins are unsupervised, visiting with younger children requires close parental supervision for safety. Sturdy footwear is also a must when clambering over the rocks.

Background and History

The atmospheric ruins at Hound Tor represent the remains of a small medieval village dated to the 13th and 14th centuries AD. The settlement was centred around a Great Hall manor house owned by the Augustinian Canons.

Remarkably the crumbling village was lost for centuries before excavations in the late 1940s and 70s uncovered the full extent of the village foundations and many domestic artifacts.

It’s believed the residents abandoned the exposed hilltop village during the Black Death and harsh conditions of the Little Ice Age. The old Great Hall manor became a long-forgotten buried relic.

hound tor

Top Things To See and Do

Some of the key medieval features to spot include:

  • The Manor House – the granite rubble outlines show the scale of the grand 14th century hall house. Look for the front entrance steps.
  • House Platforms – the platforms and enclosed rectangles mark out where smaller homes would have stood around the manor.
  • Enclosures – see the remains of garden plots and enclosed areas used by villagers.
  • Stone Walls – winding pathways lined by low walls that would have divided up the settlement.
  • Rock Overhangs – the eroded granite boulders created natural shelters used as barns.
  • Ruined Well – peer into the medieval village’s water supply.

Let kids imagine what life was like living in the remote but self-sufficient village centuries ago. Encourage them to use the ruins to build stories and play games.

Wider Exploring

As well as wandering the evocative site and admiring views over Dartmoor, nearby Haytor Rocks are great for some family-friendly outdoor exploring.

Follow the short, steep path up Haytor to scramble over the impressive granite tors. The iconic rocky outcrop is a fun place for children to play and burn off energy. Watch out for dartmoor ponies along the route.

Afterwards, follow the Templer Way back to Hound Tor village ruins to complete the loop. Stop at the free parking area for a snack or picnic.

hound tor

Practical Information for Families

  • Bring sturdy footwear for uneven, rocky terrain
  • Take care supervising children near steep drops
  • Watch out for loose rocks and trip hazards across the ruins
  • Bring plenty of water, snacks and weather protection
  • Have hand sanitiser and wipes as no facilities on site
  • Take all litter home and stick to marked paths to conserve the landscape

Make a Day of It on Dartmoor

Make the ruins part of a full family day out exploring Dartmoor’s wider history and scenery:

  • Begin at Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre in Bovey Tracey to introduce kids to the moor
  • Follow the circular walk route via Haytor Rocks loop to Hound Tor ruins
  • Enjoy a post-walk picnic back at the car park
  • Drive the scenic route to Becky Falls nature reserve near Newton Abbot
  • Discover the woodland waterfall walk and adventure play trails
  • Stop at a cafe in Bovey Tracey for a cream tea on the way home

With its beautiful Dartmoor views, hands-on ancient history and great base for outdoor family adventures, a visit to the lost village ruins of Hound Tor offers a brilliant day out back in medieval times. IIt has been included as one of the best English Heritage places in Devon.

hound tor medieval village

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed? – Yes, dogs are welcome and will love visiting Hound Tor medieval village, but make sure they are on leads when sheep are near.

Is it wheelchair accessible? – There is a lot of uneven and steep ground. It is in a natural area of hills and rock making it very difficult for wheelchairs

Is there a cafe? – There is no formal cafe, but there is nearly always a van in the car park selling tea, coffee, crisps and sandwiches

Other nearby attractions

As mentioned above there are loads of great things you can do on Dartmoor. Other places to vist include:

  • House of Marbles – Intriguing attraction with marble runs, games and puzzles. Shop selling classic toys, games and glassware onsite.
  • Okehampton Castle – Impressive medieval ruin with interactive exhibits bringing history to life. Great for kids and set amidst picturesque Dartmoor scenery.
  • Berry Pomeroy Castle – Picturesque 15th century castle ruins surrounded by woodlands. Tales of ghostly apparitions add to the atmosphere.
  • Buckfast Abbey – Working Benedictine monastery with medieval church and tranquil grounds. Homemade produce for sale in the shop.
  • South Devon Railway – Heritage steam railway with scenic journeys along the Dart Valley between Totnes and Buckfastleigh.
  • Becky Falls – Beautiful ancient woodland site with a cascading waterfall and tranquil lakes. Lovely riverside trails and cafe.
  • River Dart Country Park – Activities like canoeing, archery, high ropes and hiking centred around the idyllic River Dart. Cafe on site.
  • Woodlands Leisure Park – Family theme park with animal encounters, shows, indoor and outdoor play areas, and rides.
  • Pennywell Farm – Family friendly open farm with animal interactions, indoor play, tractor rides and more. Great rainy day option.

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