By: Blonde Two

It seems like a hundred years since our Gold DofE trip to the Exmoor Centre bunkhouse. It hasn’t been that long, but I suspect that if it had, Hoar Oak Cottage would still be there. It is so mysterious and in such a beautiful spot that it demands to be blogged about even after all this time (besides which, we met someone whose descendants once lived there).

The cottage is one of those ruins that you could easily imagine with a roof and cosy fire. It no longer has either of these, but there is evidence that both once existed. It sits on its own just above Hoar Oak Water, a beautiful and lonely Exmoor valley.Hoar Oak Valley

Our route card wasn’t supposed to take us past it, but I was really pleased when some badly placed cows meant that we had to do a detour.
The Friends of Hoar Oak Cottage give lots of interesting information about the place, and an amazing level of detail about the occupants on their website. They suggest that the cottage in its original form would have been a simple shepherds’ shelter, and then later a more permanent home. Since the last family left, the cottage has had a mixed history, but is now established as a stable ruin.HO Cottage 1

It was impossible, wandering around, not to find yourself looking out of windows and wondering what life would have been like there. Would the fire have kept you warm? Would you feel isolated? Was there an upstairs? What was this room? Where were the animals kept?HO Cottage 2

Maybe you can answer the questions for me; even if you can, I can guarantee that if you take your own detour (big or small) to visit Hoar Oak Cottage, you won’t be disappointed; and you will probably come away with more questions of your own!HO Cottage 3