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A Dartmoor journey

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 October 2014

Images by Jamie Grant for the book 'Dartmoor, The High Oak'

Images by Jamie Grant for the book 'Dartmoor, The High Oak'


A long - and sometimes rain-soaked - walk across Dartmoor has inspired a new book, as ALEX HURLEY discovered

Images by Jamie Grant for the book 'Dartmoor, The High Oak'
Images by Jamie Grant for the book 'Dartmoor, The High Oak'

Three friends, Marcus Gladstone-Noble, Jamie Murray Grant and James Richardson journeyed across Dartmoor, connecting three isolated woods – Piles Copse, Wistman’s Woods and Black-a-Tor Beare – by the physical act of walking.

The Quercus robur oaks of each wood are brought together as The High Oak – A journey across Dartmoor; a documentation of the men’s inspired responses to their surrounding landscape.

Over five September days, the men cut out their path, walking in whatever weather the Moor decided to bestow upon them – and on some days the rain was so heavy its only intent was to soak them through.

Images by Jamie Grant for the book 'Dartmoor, The High Oak'
Images by Jamie Grant for the book 'Dartmoor, The High Oak'

Making efforts to connect with Dartmoor, the men delved into its midst; the outcome being beautiful pictures showcasing the Moor’s expansive scenery complemented by pieces of thought-provoking poetry and prose.

Yet being only passers-by, Marcus, Jamie and James were humbled by the majestic nature of the Moor that is at once both beautiful and dangerous. Capturing this majestic quality within the book, readers are able to feel each moment as the men did.

Haikus taken from the booK

Bronze-age hut circles

tattooed amongst the heather.

Such old skin is this.

Down in this gully

we pick our way through loose rocks

where winter-bournes rush.

The journey is mist.

Our footsteps turn to water -

the Moor pulls away.

The men behind the visual and literary recordings:

Photography: Jamie Grant. The base for Jamie’s relationship with photography stems from childhood hikes with his father and a camera. He has since worked in Bolivia and for a number of Scottish-based charities.

Haiku, sculpture and prose: James Richardson. A professional puppeteer with his own puppet theatre company, James lives on Dartmoor and continues to draw inspiration from his surroundings in his work as a poet and a sculptor.

Poetry: Marcus Gladstone-Noble. Discovering his passion for scriptwriting and poetry in his 20s, Marcus has since become a founding member of the Echo Project and self-published his first poetry collection Snow in the Copse.

Graphics: David Harbott. David joined the group later, bringing his design skills to the layout of the book. n

The High Oak – A journey across Dartmoor is published on 29 September by Black Tor Press in collaboration with Watermill Books.

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