By: Blonde One
As you know, Dartmoor has much to offer. It has cream teas aplenty, herds of livestock, glorious scenery and even the odd pixie or two. What it doesn’t have, it seems, is an earl grey tea plantation!
I was recently informed by someone normally very reliable that when they went walking up on the moors a few years ago near to Holne they smelt the very distinctive smell of earl grey tea. Upon their return to the fantastic Community Tea Rooms at Holne they asked and were told that there was indeed an earl grey tea plantation and the produce could be purchased at the cafe. I had never heard of this before so I made it my mission to go up and explore. Firstly I just had to stop at the cafe! For research purposes only, you understand?! Apart from causing some hilarity, the results were fruitless. The lovely lady in the cafe even phoned a friend to see if he knew anything about the mystery earl grey tea plantation … no luck.
Not one to be put off, I set out onto the moors heading to the two distinct field areas that were nearby. I guessed that the plantation must be in a field rather than the open moor. (Just call me Sherlock!) I found many interesting things along the way: a sign directing me to Peacock Blue, a Pure Dartmoor Water head office, some orchards, a sign on a gate telling me to ‘call at West Stoke’ (I don’t know what I would find there). I definitely didn’t find any sign of earl grey though.
After a lovely, tea-less, walk I called into the Church House Inn at Holne to conduct some more research. Over a pint of Jail Ale I quizzed the landlady and her staff about the tea. Needless to say, they had never heard of it either!
I think this walk most definitely qualifies as a ‘wild goose chase’!