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“Wisht” is the ancient word for eerie or ghostly, and the “Wisht Hounds” are still seen on Dartmoor, England’s largest national park, which lies in the southwest, in the county of Devon. Great Hound Tor itself is in the northern part of the moor between the market town of Moretonhampstead and the village of Widecombe, and can be seen for miles around. There is a parking space on the road below, and it is an easy climb up to the Tor. A path leads down from the rocks into the basin of a valley, where the ruins of stone buildings are clearly visible.
There are several excellent places to stay while you look for the Wisht Hounds, or any of the other many spectral inhabitants of Dartmoor:
Gidleigh Park in the village of Chagford is one of Britain’s most famous and luxurious country house hotels. Winner of many accolades, it is considered by many in the know to serve food that is “the best in England outside of London.” Gidleigh Park features 15 rooms and a restaurant. For reservations call 011-44-1647-432-367 from the U.S. From within the UK, call 01647-432-367.
Also in the village of Chagford is the excellent restaurant, 22 Mill Street. It serves lunch and dinner and has two rooms for accommodation. Call 011-44-1647-432-244 from the U.S. From within the UK, call 01647-432-244.
Just outside the northern limits of the park in the tiny village of Doddiscombleigh is The Nobody Inn. This wonderful pub, run by three generations of the same family, is famous for its Devon cheeses and its impressive list of wines by the glass. It was voted the Best Pub In Britain for 2000. The Nobody Inn has seven rooms for accommodation, serves lunch and dinner, and is closed Sunday and Monday. Call 011-44-1647 252-394 from the U.S. and 01647-252-394 from within the UK.
And last, but not least, in the market town of Moretonhampstead, “gateway to the moor,” stop in at The Lion House Gallery (01647-441-007), which always has a few lovely pieces of equestrian art, and a wonderful collection of signed photographs of Dartmoor, and pieces of Georgian silver, perhaps once owned by a mysterious nobleman…
Then cross the street to buy everything you need for a picnic at Great Hound Tor at the aptly named Barry Moore, Butchers (01647-440-267),which carries delicious sandwiches and pastries, and the best ginger beer in England–and for heaven’s sake, if you see a black brushed fox, be certain to throw it a chicken leg!