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Letterboxing on Dartmoor

Dartmoor Letterboxing

What is Letterboxing?

Letterboxing is an outdoor pursuit with similarities to orienteering.

A small pot (the letterbox) containing a stamp and visitors book is hidden on the moor wiith a written clue to lead others to other letterboxes.Clues may be as simple as a map reference and list of compass bearings or may be more cryptic.

When a letterbox is found, the letterboxer takes a copy of the stamp, as well as leaving their own personal print in the visitors' book.

Basically anyone can put a box on Dartmoor, as long as it complies with the rules. However each person has to ensure that the box they place is maintained, i.e. it doesn't get waterlogged and any missing pieces are replaced. When a box is placed it has to be registered with Tony Moore.
Registration lasts 5 years, after which the box has to re-registered. This is to ensure that boxes are kept in good condition and that people don't go searching for boxes that disappeared 20 years ago.

History of Letterboxing

Letterboxing began in 1854 when a Dartmoor guide named James Perrott placed a glass bottle at Cranmere Pool and encouraged hikers who made the considerable walk to the site to leave a calling card as a record of their achievement. By the early 1900s a tin box had replaced the bottle and a visitors book was provided.

In 1937 the Western Morning News erected a granite box at the site and in 1938 this was followed by a second structure at Ducks pool, which was built in memorial of William Crossing by a group known as the Dobson’s Moormen.

Clues were circulated for other Dartmoor 'letterboxes' that had been hidden on Dartmoor and, after a map that marked the position of several letterboxes was produced, Letterboxing began to take off.
Nowadays, a rubber stamp and visitors book are hidden in a small container and a clue to its position is shared, by word of mouth or through an unofficial group known as the '100-Club'.

In the past stamps were hidden in army ammunition tins, but today they are more likely to be concealed in 'pill-pots'.

A set of Letterboxing rules has been established to avoid damage to the moor and to cause the minimum of fuss to its users. Although there are now thousands of letterboxes hidden on the moor they are generally well hidden and unlikely to be found by the casual hiker.

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