I was fortunate to grow up in the west country with Dartmoor on my back doorstep. I was also fortunate to be allowed to venture out onto it at a fairly young age. I would regularly spend 4 or 5 days at a time out hiking across the moor with friends, generally in a group of 4. Recently I was doing some tidying up and found my old map of Dartmoor. It’s in a bit of a fragile state but is still in one piece.
On the back is my collection of letterbox stamps. Letterboxing was the big thing back then, sort of the precursor to geocaching. People would hide waterproof containers over Dartmoor, inside would be a stamp and a visitor’s book. Once you’d found the letterbox, you’d sign the book and stamp your map. People would leave clues to the location of other letterboxes, some would involve some very tight navigation, others would have cryptic clues. I managed to accumulate just over 120 stamps, but I have no idea how many were, or are, out there.
Here are close ups of some of the stamps. This first one is from 1979 when I was 13 and spending nights out on the moor for the first time.
These next ones are all from the early 80s. I joined the army in 1983 and so gave up on my letterboxing hobby.
This last one is from High Willhays, the highest point on Dartmoor.