Hatherleigh Beating the Bounds 2007 //-->
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Page updated: July 23, 2008

Hatherleigh Beating the Bounds 2007 - 1

Geoff's pictures | Paul's Pictures | Neil's pictures

May 28th was a bright sunny day. 235 people gathered near the market to beat the bounds in traditional fashion. The actual 'bounds' seem to change slightly each time, according to diehard beaters, especially as the new houses at Moorview tend to sit on the route and have to be traversed (or bypassed) somehow.

The tradition, held every 7 years, was revived in 1899 after a 40 year break, but is believed to date back to medieval times. (No walking took place during the two world wars, if you're doing the maths!) The original aim was to mark the boundary and remind the younger generation of the responsibilities they would one day take over. Some sources claim that the eldest member of the family would be beaten at a particular landmark to reinforce the memory, but in actuality 'beating' refers to making the journey itself - 10 miles in the case of Hatherleigh.

Having said that, above left is Tom Strawbridge being bumped on the Millenium stone 7 years ago ... and this year, see right, being bumped again. (Dennis Bater supplied both pictures)

Deb Laing Trengrove, whose family holds the title of Lord of the Manor, and Geoffrey Cleverdon, Chairman of the Hatherleigh Moor Committee, organised things while Deb herself led the walkers.

Literally all ages took part, with light hearted banter being the order of the day throughout the 5 hours it took to get round. Even 7 year olds walked the entire route without complaining! Now, if you could bottle that ...!

Strangers talked with strangers and it was surprising how many walkers had returned to their home town from far and wide just to take part. It was also surprising how many visitors there were.

Background helpers included the Guides who organised the refreshments.

All kinds of walker were involved.

Dennis was helping behind the scenes.

Deb Laing Trengrove, in pensive mood at the start.

The walkers gather to listen to ...

Geoffrey Cleverdon, who this year was unable to walk due to a gammy hip. He nevertheless gave us the benefit of some good advice just before the off.

After a notional climbing into the churchyard by Deb, the walkers streamed off towards Meeth!

The first of many stiles, fences and hedges to scramble over, through and under.

Sometimes the route was easy

A completely new (to us) and stunning view of Hatherleigh with Dartmoor in the distance.

Another hedge.

Sometimes gates had to be opened (and - NB - closed!).


Barbed wire was the greatest enemy, although thoughtful organizers had previously laid carpets over the most difficult points.

Some walkers rode!

At last, a chance to rest.

But not for long. Off again!

Finally, we reached the ...

Monument to William Morris, a local man who led the 17th Lancers at the Charge of the Light Brigade. Here most of the walkers assembled for the now traditional group photo. It's nothing to do with walking, but it's absolutely representative of the day. More about William Morris.

Then it was 'off again', this time around the southern edge of the Moor.

The most difficult gulley to traverse was 10 feet deep, both sides were like a skating rink and, for the first and only time, the organisers had forgotten to provide any aids! Perhaps even they could not get close enough! This one was a tough call.

A break for lunch. More drinks ...and pasties!

But, too soon, it was time to go again. Some said we were half way round. We were not so sure!


Another ditch to cross.

Off the moor and on to farmland again, where it became easier and a feeling of 'home run' was in the air.

Passaford Bridge, so definitely homeward bound now. Here, amid lots of splashing, the kids were thrown coins for good luck, while pasties and other refreshments were available for a second time.

Off and over, yet again! But home was now in sight so spirits were lifted.

Tired? Who me?

Some help for a friend.

Another unique view of the town, from somewhere west of the town. Can't be far now.

Soon we were walking through farms and gardens.

In Moorview, a few walkers scaled back garden fences to ensure the Bounds were fully Beat.

A tricky descent.

Another barbed wire barrier.

The final hedge, this time into the cricket ground where we Beat the Boundary this time.

The (new) market at last!

Finally, the (old) market square, where cider and a chance to stop walking presented themselves!

Geoffrey brought things to a conclusion: it's important to keep the tradition alive, he told the crowd, thanking them all for their collaboration. Younger walkers (there were a lot) were urged to look forward to the day when they could take over the responsibility.



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