"Moor Memories" oral history project which ran between 2001 and 2008 recorded the story of everyday life on Dartmoor during the 20th century and has created a permanent record of the lives of the people who have lived and worked on the moor and who have contributed to the way it is today.
In making these oral history recordings the project has preserved some of the more intangible aspects of Dartmoor's recent cultural past and provided an opportunity for the people of Dartmoor to tell their own story about life on the moor during a period of great change. Collectively the memories tell of a way of life which in many ways endured on Dartmoor for centuries but has, in just one generation, largely come to an end; a life without mains supplies of water or power in remote areas with limited transport, when all that was required for daily life was produced and acquired locally or gleaned from the moor itself.
The archive has been disseminated through a series of CD collections which can be heard on listening posts at the High Moorland Visitor Centre and Information Centres, museums and through the library service.
All the recordings made as part of the "Moor Memories" oral history project have been fully transcribed and archived in full onto CDs for research purposes
Here you can listen to samples from the archive.
About the CD collections:
Three sets of CD collections have been produced by the "Moor Memories" project. Each set includes three CDs, with a total running time of approximately three hours, and an accompanying booklet.
‘Rabbits, whortleberries and railways'
Includes memories of housing and transport, developing farming practices and changes in the landscape and industry of the moor.
Includes memories of tending stock on the moor, managing moorland vegetation, community and home life and early days of tourism on Dartmoor.
‘Blacksticks and Blizzards'
Includes memories of the effects of World War II on the moor, changes in weather patterns, gathering produce from the moor, and importance of the railways too moorland communities.
The CD collections can be heard at listening posts currently situated at the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s High Moorland Visitor Centre in Princetown; the Information Centre in Postbridge; the Ashburton Information Centre and the Museum of Dartmoor Life in Okehampton. There is also a listening post at Torquay Museum on which you can hear a specially produced CD about life on a Dartmoor Farm. The CDs are also available through the Devon Library Service.
Collections 1 and 2 also have accompanying curriculum guides which are available on request for educational purposes.
"In the summer when the coaches would come by we used to stand outside Rundlestone and shout out "Coppers please!"… and they used to throw out a penny or two" Harry Warne
"…of course there was the bus, and taxi, very few had cars, no, very few had cars; it was quite [an] event in my day even for a car to come up from Bovey Tracey; if he did he was boiling or the plugs had oiled up or something." Arthur Courtier