Dartmoor – Open Moor
Like all wild places in England, Dartmoor is neither true wilderness nor a natural landscape. Thousands of years of clearance by man and grazing by animals have altered it beyond recognition. In many ways it is a denuded landscape, stripped of the great forest that once sustained a biodiverse ecosystem. Loving trees as I do, I can’t help but mourn their loss. I hope one day to see a more enlightened conservation policy that allows more areas to be returned to their natural forested state. Nevertheless, the open moor has a stark beauty of its own. For me, as a photographer, it is the place where the land meets the sky, where storms gather and break, where clouds whirl overhead, and the wind and the rain unleash their raw power. It is a gritty, weatherbeaten place, all dark granite and leaden skies, but lit from time to time by spectacular light of the kind only seen in the exposed uplands of the northern hemisphere. At its elemental best, it is a theatre of light.