Time Periods

Dartmoor through the ages

Over millions of years Dartmoor has undergone incredible changes.

It was part of a mountain range, frozen in the Ice Ages, settled by prehistoric man, farmed, used for industry and now for agriculture and leisure. Each of these have their mark on the landscape of today.

We have split the history of Dartmoor into six time periods to give highlights of the Moor's history. Enjoy learning about the history of this magical place and we hope it inspires you to contribute your story.

  • Dartmoor Origins

    Time Period

    Dartmoor Origins

    The part of our island we now call Dartmoor looked very different in the past: During the last four hundred million (400,000,000) years, it was sea, then mountains, was covered again by sea, then by warm tropical forest, and was frozen solid in the Ice Ages.

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  • Prehistoric Dartmoor

    Time Period

    Prehistoric Dartmoor

    Dartmoor has one of the highest concentrations of prehistoric monuments anywhere in Europe (though it must be admitted they are not the tallest!).

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  • The Roman Ramble

    Time Period

    The Roman Ramble

    There is very little archaeological evidence for Roman presence on Dartmoor.

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  • Medieval and later Moor

    Time Period

    Medieval and later Moor

    During the Middle Ages, after the previous centuries when Dartmoor’s inhabitants had been mostly temporary residents, farmers once more moved onto parts of the moor.

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  • Victorian Views

    Time Period

    Victorian Views

    In the 18th and 19th centuries the moor was still largely an industrial and farming landscape.

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  • Modern Moorland

    Time Period

    Modern Moorland

    Dartmoor was designated a National Park in 1951.

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