We’re biased when we say that Devon is a picturesque and stunning place to spend some time. It’s full of charming villages, plenty of activities and no end of incredible food and drink but like anywhere, it has a darker side and as Halloween is just around the corner, here are some of the most spine tingling places to explore while in Devon.
Hound Tor, Dartmoor
The inspiration behind the Hound of the Baskervilles, Hound Tor remains one of the most atmospheric places in the National Park. Conan Doyle got the idea for his Sherlock Holmes mystery after visiting Dartmoor and hearing of the story of a local squire who was believed to have made a pact with the devil and was subsequently taken to hell by a pack of demonic dogs that roamed the moors.
If this wasn’t spooky enough, this part of Dartmoor still contains evidence of the remains of a medieval village – the deserted village can be found just half a mile from another spooky site, Kitty Jay’s grave. If you park at the carpark here, make sure to check whether the mysterious flowers have appeared and then head over to the village where you can see the walls to old buildings.
Berry Pomeroy Castle, Totnes
Rumoured to be the most haunted castle in England, Berry Pomeroy Castle has been stood on this site since the 15th century. Originally home to the Pomeroy family, it is now owned by the Seymour family (yes, those Seymours – Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour’s family), though it has been in ruins for hundreds of years. There are said to be several ghosts that have been spotted around the castle, including a Blue Lady who is said to have been the daughter of a Norman Lord and is thought to wander the grounds morning the death of her baby, which was murdered as it was sired due to assault. She is said to beckon to visitors from the towers, hoping to lure them to their deaths. Another ghost is known as the White Lady who is said to be the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy. She haunts the dungeons after being imprisoned by her jealous sister. Other reported ghosts include two young brothers who are dressed in full armour and can be seen riding their horses around the castle.
Dare to visit Berry Pomeroy?
Buckland Abbey, Dartmoor
Now managed by the National Trust, Buckland Abbey was originally a Cistercian abbey before becoming a family home. One of its most famous residents was Sir Francis Drake who is said to still haunt the building. His spirit is said to ride across Dartmoor in a black coach pulled by headless horses and being chased by a pack of barking dogs, something that stems from the rumours that Drake made a deal with the devil in order to complete renovations on the home so quickly.
As per his dying wishes, many of his possessions are still at the house and can be seen by visitors.
Powderham Castle, nr Exeter
Another Grade I listed building, Powderham Castle near Exeter has been the home of the Courtenay family since around the 14th century. It is still home to the Earl of Devon and also doubles as a tourist attraction – it is however said to be haunted. One of the most feared ghosts at the castle is the Grey Lady, who is usually spotted in the library, it is thought to be the spirit of Lady Frances, one of the Courteney family. She isn’t seen very often, luckily, as her appearance is said to foreshadow the death of the head of the house.
Another reported ghost sighting includes the spirit of a young mother who is frequently seen holding her child as she walks around the castle. Reports of these two go back hundreds of years and their identities are still unknown.
Do you dare visit one of these haunted sites?
Find out more about Halloween celebrations in Devon below.
Visiting Devon over the Halloween period is a fantastic idea. With wide sprawling moorland, an abundance of imposing properties and attractions galore, there's loads of hair-raising fun at this time of year.