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Dartmoor National Park Authority

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Need to know

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Letterboxing with Moor Care and Less Wear

Photo of Letterboxing on Dartmoor

What is letterboxing?

Letterboxing is a combination of orienteering and treasure hunting where predetermined clues are used to locate boxes placed on the moor by others. These boxes normally contain a visitors’ book and a rubber stamp.

On finding the box, hunters use the stamp to record the find in their own books or on a series of cards, and then mark the visitors’ book in the box with their own personal stamps.

A leaflet is availble to download Letterboxing on Dartmoor PDF icon (554kb PDF Help)

When did letterboxing begin?

Letterboxing started on Dartmoor in 1854 when James Perrott of Chagford set up a small cairn at Cranmere Pool on north Dartmoor. Inside he put a glass jar where visitors who had ventured to the lonely, bleak spot could leave their visiting cards.

Further letterboxes were established at Taw Marsh (1894), Ducks Pool (1938) and Crow Tor (1962). To reach any of these locations was, and still is, a significant achievement.

The popularity of letterboxing has grown, particularly in the last 20 years and there are now a large number of boxes, many in relatively accessible locations close to roads and car parks.

Who goes letterboxing?

People of all ages and walks of life can go letterboxing and the activity often introduces children and young people to the joys of exploring Dartmoor. Letterboxing is a great way to improve navigation skills, is good for health and fitness and helps to instil an appreciation of the special qualities of Dartmoor.

What do you need to go letterboxing?

Who organises letterboxing?

There is no official organisation controlling or regulating letterboxing on Dartmoor. However, an informal Letterbox 100 Club exists. To become a member you need to collect 100 letterbox stamps before joining.

The Letterbox 100 Club publishes a Catalogue of Dartmoor Letterboxes twice a year. This lists letterboxes alphabetically with their clues. The publication of the catalogue coincides with a ‘meet’ which is held on the Sundays when the clock changes in March and October. A monthly update showing new boxes, extinct boxes and other useful information is also published.

Who puts the letterboxes out?

Anyone can site a letterbox and letterboxes are usually hidden either singly or in groups around a common theme. Single letterboxes tend to stay on site for up to 5 years, while themed letterbox ‘walks’ remain in place for six months during which time the clues are sold to raise money for charity.

How do you find letterboxes?

Some letterboxes are fairly easy to find by following a set of straightforward clues, others with cryptic clues present more of a challenge! The charity letterbox ‘walks’ are great for first-timers. Most start close to car parks and it’s often possible to find all ten or so boxes in half a day.

How to get started

When looking for letterboxes please ensure that:

Thinking about siting your own letterbox?

Please remember that a user, and National Park friendly letterbox is sited:

Additionally please ensure:

Further Information

Publications

Let’s Go Letterboxing: A Beginners Guide by Janet Palmer - Orchard Publications.

Letterbox 100 Club

For general enquiries about letterboxing, catalogues and updates:

Tony Moore, Letterbox 100 Club, 25 Sanderspool Cross, South Brent, Devon. TQ10 9LR.
Tel: (01364) 73414
Email:  100club@sanderspool.freeserve.co.uk
www.walk.to/letterboxing (external site, opens new window)

For media enquiries about letterboxing

Pat Clatworthy, Letterbox 100 Club, 1 Dryfield, Exminster, Exeter, EX6 8BJ
Tel: (01392) 832768

Dartmoor National Park Authority

For event approval or clarification on the guidance in this section:

Dartmoor National Park Authority, Parke, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 9JQ
Tel: (01626) 832093
Fax: (01626) 834684
Email:recreation@dartmoor-npa.gov.uk

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