STICKLEPATH on Dartmoor in Devon. An Introduction
Despite tracing its existence to the 11th Century and probably even further back, Sticklepath, located in the north east of the Dartmoor National Park, has only been a separate parish since the mid 1980s. It covers an area of approximately 400 acres and has a population of about 450.
Previously, it was split into three parts with houses to the east of the bridge in South Tawton Parish, the Cleave Mill complex in Belstone whilst the greater part of the village was included in the Sampford Courtenay Parish.
Like so many settlements in Devon, Sticklepath has a long and varied history. The road running through the village was for centuries the main route west from Exeter. Consequently, travellers of all walks of life passed through. Hence, its association with John Wesley, whose itinerary took him through the village on his preaching missions to Cornwall. It is recorded that he preached from an ‘open place’ which is now the White Rock clearly visible from the centre of the village to the West.
Sticklepath has a reputation in the county for being very active. The Finch Foundry, owned nowadays by the National Trust, attracts many visitors, who then have a choice of two traditional English public houses for their refreshments. In addition, there are wonderful walks besides the River Taw along the Valley towards the neighbouring village of Belstone, ‘gateway’ to the sweeping moorland with its challenging terrain for walkers.
During the 17th Century, the Quaker movement became predominant in the village, later superseded by the advent of Methodism in the 18th Century. The Methodist Chapel, built in 1816, is located in the centre opposite the village hall, which was built toward the end of the 19th Century and donated to the inhabitants by Ellen Thompson, daughter of Thomas Pearse, whose family had converted Cleave Mill into a flourishing woollen mill in 1810. An outreach post office operates in the village hall twice a week and there is a thriving village shop.
Details of Sticklepath life can be gleaned from the other parts of this website: comprehensive information about the various activities that keep this village a vibrant community, helped by the diversity of its population, whose ages and backgrounds are unusually varied for a rural settlement in the centre of Devon.
Old Photos of Sticklepath
Photos copyright of The Dartmoor Trust Archive
For more old photos of Sticklepath, and Dartmoor, please visit the Dartmoor Trust website.