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Cracker Stone

Both of the main Dartmoor authors William Crossing (WC) and Eric Hemery (EH) made reference to this stone, the former whilst commenting on Red Lake explained that; "The water is perfectly clear, it is only the pebbles in its bed that are coloured. Heaps of stones thrown up by the tinners here line the banks of the stream, the large rock standing in the midst of the workings some little distance below the crossing place is the Cracker Stone." Some 75 years later EH provided a little more detail; "Below Red Lake Ford on a mound at the foot of the mire is the oddly shaped boulder called the 'Cracker Stone'." The area that was described by EH seems to be a collection of boulders rather than just one rock at SX 6394 6645, set just below a willow clump some 300 metres or so below the ford at a distance that is far from Crossing's 'little'.

Whilst visiting the area in July 2019 with Paul Buck to try and make sense of the accounts, Tim Jenkinson noted; "A cluster of large mostly earthbound boulders in Red Lake one of which is of considerable stature set below a fine willow clump in the mire. This could be the Cracker Stone." The dilemma is that previous authors imply a single entity, an apparently distinctive 'stone', one that EH called 'oddly shaped', yet nothing quite fits that description. When looking downstream from Red Lake Ford the top of a prominent boulder is just visible in about the right place but this is part of the aforementioned cluster. Unfortunately Mike Brown (MB) gives a skewed grid reference that is more akin to the ford where no rocks are seen.

In a 2012 Dartmoor News article, Steve Mason (SM) supplied us with a grid reference that matched the incorrect MB location at the ford but purported to show a photo of the Cracker Stone which strangely in another article in the same issue, this time by Alan Watkins, was located at SX 6390 6442, a little to the west of the cluster on the mound and at a distance even further from the ford. Another visit to the area in August 2020 by the Tors of Dartmoor team located the rock in SM's photo but this rock is by no means 'large' as Crossing describes and is not very impressive, so one doubts if this is the Cracker Stone and also begs the question why it was singled out when there are various other rocks in the area that are of equal importance.

Cracker Stone
The map above is not a navigation tool and we recommend that the grid reference shown below is used in conjunction with an Ordnance Survey map and that training in its use with a compass is advised.
Grid Ref:
SX 6394 6645
Dartmoor Forest
Tor Classification:
Rock Type:
William Crossing
William Crossing: Guide to Dartmoor
Eric Hemery: High Dartmoor
Mike Brown (1995): The Gazetteer of Dartmoor Names
Steve Mason and Alan Watkins: Dartmoor News Issue 129 November/December 2012: 'Dartmoor Place Names' and 'A Selection of Dartmoor Lakes No.8'

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