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HER Number:MDV5076
Name:The Abbot's Way, Dartmoor


Alleged route of monks between Tavistock and Buckfast Abbeys, across the southern moor. First named as such in the late 18th century, Hemery and Worth doubt the route and suggest alternatives. Also known by the moormen (and recorded by Crossing) as 'Jobblers or Jobbers' Path'; indicating a route used by yarn-jobbers to cross the moor.


Grid Reference:SX 606 705
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishUGBOROUGH

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of the early 20th century China Clay works at Redlake Mine and the associated railway, as well as prehistoric remains on Ugborough Moor
  • SHINE: Structural and earthwork remains of Medieval or later tin streamworks on the River Erme and its tributaries, Blacklane Brook, Dry Lake and Red Lake, as well as blowing houses and tinners buildings and possible prehistoric enclosures at Wollake
  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of tin streaming and trial pits at Wheal Katherine Mine
  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of medieval or later streamworks on the tributary streams of the Nun's Cross Brook, tinners pits, openworks and buildings
  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of medieval or later tin pits south of Foxtor Mire
  • SHINE: Earthwork and structural remains on Walkhampton Common including 19th century Swelltor and Foggintor Quarries, a section of the early 19th century Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway, later converted to railway, also streamworks along the Yes Tor Brook
  • SHINE: Earthwork and structural remains of a section of the late 18th century Devonport Leat running from Raddick Hill to Nun's Cross, including extensive tinning remains at Cramber Tor
  • SHINE: Earthwork and structural remains of a section of the late 18th century Devonport Leat running from Nun's Cross to Princetown including extensive tinning remains at Whiteworks Tin Mine

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NW/1
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRACKWAY (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 35, 71, 75, 104, 134, 141, 365, 373, 375, 377, 418, 433 (Monograph). SDV320981.

Description of various sections of the path. Crossing comments that he had always known the name of this route described by moormen as 'Jobblers' or Jobbers' Path', likely to be from its use by yarn-jobbers in former days.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 4275 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

(Ugborough section).

Worth, R. H., 1967, Worth's Dartmoor, 395-6 (Monograph). SDV337618.

Worth questions when the 'Abbot's Way' gained its name and why the alleged course from Buckfast to Nun's Cross is unmarked by crosses (excepting Huntingdon Cross, by Wallabrook Foot). Also it is not the most convenient route to choose; Worth believes that if the Abbot of Buckfast had sponsered a route it would have been via Holne across Holne Ridge to Horns Cross, then over Horse Ford on the O Brook to the two crosses on Down Ridge, and so to the cross on Ter Hill, continuing by way of Mount Misery (where there is still one cross; formerly two), passing on to Childe's Tomb, also formerly marked by a cross, then to a cross set on a boulder to the west of Fox Tor Mire, and so to Nuns or Siwards Cross.
From this last point, the only course affectively marked by crosses runs westwards and Worth notes the crosses that may have marked the path.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 12 (Monograph). SDV249702.

In agreement with Worth, Hemery considers 'Abbot's Way' to be a spurious label attached to a southerly trans-Dartmoor route, first occuring in an account by a traveller named John Andrews in 1794, two and a half centuries after the dissolution of the monasteries. He agrees with Worth that there are far easier routes (that also include more crosses) that would have been a more likely monks route across the moor and theorises that Crossing's mention of it's name being Jobblers' or Jobbers' Path may well be more accurate; a route used by yarn-tradesmen to cross the moor.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

(Section in Ugborough) 'Abbot's Way', the old moorland path, passes through Ugborough parish for about 823 metres from the Harford boundary in the north-west at Red Lake, to where the path meets the Zeal Tor tramway track at a point known as 'The Crossways'. The parish boundary follows this path. The path is seen as a shallow depression, grass-covered, its width varying with the nature of the ground. It crosses the clay works rail track where there is the ruin of a stone and brick building on the n side of the railroad.
This path was referred to as 'Jobbers Cawse' by John Andrews in 1799.

Ordnance Survey, 2015, Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Digital Colour Raster Map (Cartographic). SDV319717.

The modern Ordnance Survey maps depict 'Abbot's Way' and this has been used to digitise against. It should be noted however, that the actual route may vary; see Worth and Hemery's comments (Richards, A. F.).

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4275.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 12.
SDV319717Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Digital Colour Raster Map. 1:25,000. Digital. [Mapped feature: #93789 ]
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 35, 71, 75, 104, 134, 141, 365, 373, 375, 377, 418, 433.
SDV337618Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1967. Worth's Dartmoor. Worth's Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 395-6.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV126721Related to: A/Head Rock, Erme Head (Monument)
MDV126717Related to: Broad Rock, Erme Head (Monument)
MDV6366Related to: Cross north-east of Nun's Cross (Monument)
MDV5016Related to: Cross on Walkhampton Common (Monument)
MDV122896Related to: Dry leat channel supplying tin works on Erme Pits Hill and at Erme Head (Monument)
MDV24752Related to: Field system north-east of Dean Moor, West Buckfastleigh (Monument)
MDV5161Related to: Ford at Plym Steps (Monument)
MDV5154Related to: Foxton Cross (Monument)
MDV7778Related to: Hawson Cross, West Buckfastleigh (Monument)
MDV5077Related to: Junction of the Abbot's Way and Zeal Tor Tramway (Monument)
MDV128368Related to: Leat west of Roundy Farm, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV25116Related to: Line of trial pits on the bank of the River Plym east of Eylesbarrow (Monument)
MDV3587Related to: Pixies' Cross: a wayside cross and associated earthwork enclosure on Whitchurch Down (Monument)
MDV24741Related to: Quarry at Crossways, north of Quickbeam Hill, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV122889Related to: Redlake Cottage, Ugborough (Building)
MDV123445Related to: Settling pits at Red Lake Mire, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV121030Related to: Smallholding at Rendlestone Tor, Princetown (Monument)
MDV6301Related to: Stone cross east-north-east of Childe's Tomb (Monument)
MDV54463Related to: Tavistock to Ashburton pack-horse track (Monument)
MDV25115Related to: Tin pits and opencast workings 800 metres north of Plym Head (Monument)
MDV123441Related to: Trial pit near Crossways, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV5018Related to: Wayside cross near Crazy Well Pool, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV6406Related to: Wayside cross on Down Ridge 1.1km south west of Saddle Bridge (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6239 - Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine
  • EDV7375 - Archaeological recording during construction of the Dousland to Rundlestone water main (Ref: 94.40)
  • EDV7382 - Condition Survey of the Cramber Tor Training Area
  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley
  • EDV8148 - The Upper Plym Valley: The Management of an Historic Landscape

Date Last Edited:Jun 2 2020 3:51PM