The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Burning Dartmoor


By cmsue


Swaling – sounds like some sort of manic folk dance, but it is a practice that has been carried out for centuries. Swaling is the annual burning of the gorse and scrub in order to thin out the old vegetation in order to allow new grass shoots to grow thus providing grazing for the livestock. The first recorded instance of the word ‘swaling’ comes from a poem written in around 1205AD by Layamon called Brut, it is suggested that the actual word comes from the Anglo Saxon word – Sw├Žlan meaning to burn.

As you can see the men doing there work, there were about 12 of them

They do this all over the moors a bit at a time.

More blog posts by cmsue

Previous post: Cheering me up

Next post: They are back!!



Interesting ... quick way to get rid I suppose

6 Mar, 2012


Very interesting.

6 Mar, 2012


They do this here, too, on the grouse moors to let young heather shoots grow to feed the grouse population - then guess what.......?

6 Mar, 2012


Then they shoot them , poor little things :(

6 Mar, 2012


Scary work though - looks as if it could easily get out of control doesn't it?

6 Mar, 2012


This happens on the mountainsides here too. Looks so scary until you understand what's happening!

7 Mar, 2012


i have seen this before sue and wondered what it was for, hope the wildlife dont get harmed.

7 Mar, 2012


Yes sanbaz that was my first thought,s but they have to do it i surpose.:)

7 Mar, 2012


It's amazing how quick it all grows back too.

8 Mar, 2012


If we see smoke on the hillside, it's a sure sign of real danger. This looks spectacular and dangerous, but I'm sure they know exactly what they are doing. LOVE the etymological bit - very interesting. I just hope, like you, Sanbaz, that the wildlife can shift themselves out of danger. Those that can run will, and those that can burrow won't have to go too deep to escape the superficial heat, I think. I hope.

16 Mar, 2012

Add a comment

Recent posts by cmsue

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Aug, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    6 Jun, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    31 May, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Dec, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Apr, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    18 Sep, 2011