Princetown for the Night

A pit stop at The Plume of Feathers

As usual, my rather improvised approach to travelling had left me short of a bed for the night, thankfully I was not travelling in high season so I wasn’t refused a night at the first place that I arrived at. The Plume of Feather is well situated on the very edge of the moorland and I’m sure is usually much busier than I found it that day. When I arrived the temperature had just dropped by a few degrees and I found myself grateful for the log fire that was merrily crackling in the corner of the cosy bar. I closed the door behind me and took a look around the place before sitting down.

A quiet pub is a strange thing. Much like a school or hospital, it takes on an eerie air of silence without the usual background hum of noise that these places are usually associated with. The Plume of Feathers, although handsomely decorated, felt a little abandoned and (dare I say it) a touch haunted as I slowly paced through its environs heightened, no doubt, by the lack of any guests or staff.

Part of me was tempted to call out a beleaguered ‘Hello’, but before I could do so a ruffled looking teenage waiter popped his head out of a door and beat me to it. His greeting shocked me out of my reverie and I held my hand to my heart. ‘Sorry!’, came the response from the sheepish lad, before he showed me to the secondary bar which, thankfully, had a small collection of people warming their hands by the fire and tucking into some hearty looking food.

The familiar smell of pub grub sent some pretty urgent signals to my brain which told me one thing: I was absolutely starving.

The sheepish waiter quickly found me a table near the fire and I quickly ordered my food, based on what I’d seen walking in and settled myself down into a book detailing the natural fauna and flora of Dartmoor. Although sections of the moor (as it’s known to the locals) have been sectioned off for use by the military for over two centuries now, there are still plenty of interesting animals worth making the trip to see.

Dartmoor has not seen much intensive farming or any kind of development as a result of it being categorised as a Special Area of Conservation. Four habitats have been singled out in particular these are: North Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix, European dry heaths, Blanket bog and Old sessile oak woods. Each one of these habitats is apparently home to their own specific species and my mouth quickly salivated at the prospect of spotting so many of these rare and elusive creatures. It wasn’t until I was nudged by the waiter that I realised that I’d been salivating at the handsome plate of food on my table. I promptly dropped the book and tucked in, all the time keeping in mind the cornucopia of natural wonders that laid in store for me out in the moor.

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