By: Blonde Two
The enclosure in the picture below would be a bit of a surprise if you came upon it unintentionally. This is unlikely to happen because, although it is only two kilometres from civilisation, it can be a bit of a mission to get there and is definitely not on a path (the term “path” on Dartmoor is always a very loose one).
The first thing that might surprise you about “The Sheepfold” (as it is marked on the map) is that it is remarkably intact. Most Dartmoor walls have a charming “starting-to-fall-down” look about them, the kind of effect that a Chelsea Flower Show designer would spend years trying to perfect. The Sheepfold is different, it is entirely solid looking and its construction of solid person-sized stones with a neat smaller stone infilling, is a pleasure to examine. The other thing that you would soon notice is the height of the enclosure. We didn’t have a tape measure, but Not-at-all-Blonde and I decided that the walls were officially “tall”.
The Sheepfold or “Scotch Sheepfold” has a puzzling history that, if the tales are to be believed, involves a mixture of starch, sheep and potatoes. Maybe the mysterious remains of what looks like pens inside the fold once housed very stiff, potato eating sheep. You can find out a lot more on the fabulous Legendary Dartmoor website: http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/scotch_fold.htm