The Well-Watered Land by Jez Wilkinson
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The life of a Dartmoor hill farmer
Jeremy (Jez) Wilkinson was born in the autumn of 1946 at Laughter Hole Farm, a thousand feet up in the heart of Dartmoor. His grandfather Arthur farmed at Babeny, just over a mile away across the East Dart. In 1958 when Arthur retired and moved to Lake ‘just down the road’ at Poundsgate, Clarence Wilkinson moved his family – wife Freda and son Jez – across the river to Babeny. Years later Jez too moved to Poundsgate with his wife Tracey, leaving his daughter Dee Dee and her husband Darren to work the land at Babeny, the fourth generation of the Wilkinson family to do so.
This beautifully written and evocative book tells the story, in his own words, of Jez’s childhood on a traditional Dartmoor hill farm. The story covers his schooldays and the move to Babeny, the onset of mechanisation on the farm, his hunting and horse racing endeavours, the creation of the National Park, his time as Foreman of Spitchwick Common and member of the Dartmoor Commoners’ Association (later the Dartmoor Commoners’ Council).
This is a book about changing times on Dartmoor, seen through the eyes of a man who is truly immersed in the traditions of moorland life, and has spent all but a very short spell living and working within a few miles of his birthplace.
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