Odes to Manaton

Peter Mosley's idea of inviting poems about Manaton for a Poets Corner at Show and Fair, produced a collection which looked at our village life from several directions. One poem noticed its hectic social calendar, whilst another looked at the story of how they came to be living here. Then there's the one written by a co-operative of poets, each with a different thought to add to the whole. The limerick is fun, while another is more serious, with a gloomier look at who can afford to live in this special place.

The poem which follows its alphabetical lead takes a clever approach (opposite), whilst the peace, wildlife activity and pleasing wholeness of village life is looked at in another. We were reminded that there's more than one Manaton. Then we were taken to the tors on the high moor and then to the tempting vistas from Trendlebere.

1. Trendlebere

Coming over Trendlebere
I bought a house in Manaton
Well before I got there,
Sight unseen.

Others who’d inspected it, toured it, checked it
Said the house in Manaton
Didn’t tick the boxes,
Wasn’t what it seemed.

But coming over Trendlebere
Above the Bovey Valley
Soaring up to Dartmoor where the
Far tors gleamed,

I forgot about the boxes, must-haves, no-no’s,
Never mind the fishing rights, south facing sea views
I have to live in Manaton,
Live the dream.

So here we are in Manaton
A dozen years later
Daily over Trendlebere -
And still as keen.

Peter Mosley


Where I find peace,
In the winding lanes, with snowdrops, primroses,
Buttercups and dandelions; bluebells, cow parsley, dog daisies
Ragged robin, foxgloves and more;
until nettles and bracken give way,
and the turning year brings ice and snow.

Oaks and beech, ash, sycamore,
Lime guard the ancient green,
onetime centre for community.
The School, the shop, the pub – gone?
Our millennial Church stands firm;
in their graves my ancestors lie quiet
as times change;
down the road the Kestor
(successor to Half Moon, and Slinkers Lane}
offers generous hospitality.

The Parish Hall holds sway with arts,
Music, exercise, the medics and the Post,
Building community in cream teas,
celebrations, endless meetings –
our local market, and delight.

I love the animals, horses rescued, ponies,
Dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, wild and tame,
And birds! Finches, tits and sparrows,
Thrushes, blackbirds, rooks and shouting crows,
a wandering pheasant,
gliding buzzards watching over all.
With them my spirits soar.

Climb our Rocks; stand monarch of all you survey;
the moors, the farms, the villages,
Hay Tor presiding and distantly the sea.
Huge clouds bring rain, or shield us from the sun,
Black, grey, pink, or white, from sunrise to setting,
Marking nights and days.

Above all, in meeting, greeting, smiling and supporting,
Each to each within our small community
radiates goodwill.

Have you your own special place of peace?
For me it’s here – “Thank you, Manaton”.

Hilda Flint

Failed Ode to Manaton

What on earth rhymes with Manaton?
I can only think of Marathon
Too much Olympics telly watching
And anyway it doesn't scan.

These lines are getting shorter,
Perhaps I oughter

Other entrants will be better (wetter, Feta)
Oh for goodness sake (bake, cake, fake, Hake, lake, make, quake, rake, shake, wake)*

Just stop
Right now.

*Feel free to add more.
Jill Rogers

No Moor Poor

Because of the natural beauty
Of the forest and the moor
Only the rich can live here,
It’s no place for the poor.

The rents are much too high
So they had to move away,
The cottages they left
Are where the tourists stay.

Chris Harford


There are crags and tors
On the high moors
Where wind and ponies run wild,
Yet on the edges
Through tall winding hedges
The air and impression is mild.

Here Manaton nestles
Wearing old thatch
With a sleepy expression
And doorways that latch,
Old stone and old roses,
Church tower with clock,
Gardens that tumble
On moss covered rock,
Cloaked in dappled woods
Streams dance by every door,
Manaton lays dreaming
In the presence of Hound Tor.

Chris Harford


There was an old housewife from Manaton
Who thought Tesco self-service scan a con
"If I do my own packing
Friendly service is lacking
So I'll do all my shopping at Mann & Son".

Clare Boughey

Once upon a time in Manaton
Climb up the Bovey beanstalk
and here begin your walk -

Fee-fi-fo-fum .....
come smell the peace...

in dear ol' Manaton.

Our Mr & Mrs Giant
are always kind, if not compliant.

And tho' our harps need playing.....
and our hens can't magic gold, when laying,

just look around and you will see
how life was lived in fifty-three.

And that's the treasure....

we, who've fetched up here....
count at the beginning of each year!

Edwyna Prior (Edwyna Beaumont)

Ode to Two Manatons

Slinkers Lane they said
Was used by those too late in bed
To reach the church in public gaze
And so to gain the Half Moon pub
Took the hidden path instead.

For those in Water, Slinkers Lane
Linked – in sunshine and in rain -
Major (Upper) and Parva (Lower)
Manaton, now all one.
Stones and granite stand as telling

Voices, memories impregnated
In the walls of ancient dwelling.
And now we have no need in Water
To think that we are any less than them up there…….

Ann Mosley (with apologies to McGonagall)

Busy busy Manaton

Manaton Manaton busy busy busy
Manaton home of the busy busy bee
Ring the Bells for church on Sundays
Bake a Cake for the next Cream Tea

Market Quiz Night Book Clubs Yoga
Art and Dance and Plays to see
Target practice Handbells chiming
Tennis balls go flying free

Show and Fair come bring your Produce
Whoops! a nonconforming pea
Children's Races Morris Dancing
Classic Cars at half past three

Manaton Manaton busy busy busy
Manaton home of the busy busy bee
Ringing Baking Art and Dance
It's Much Too Busy For Me!

Janet Wellingham

1946 – 2012

How did I fetch up in Manaton?
That`s a long story to tell.
It`s mainly to do with good friendships.
And coincident meetings as well.

There`s JACQUIE, a school friend aged 12
Whose mother lived up on Hayne,
Daughter baptised in St Winifred`s
I pledged my support to maintain.

There`s ANN, now living in Coffinswell.
A pony we shared in our youth.
And later my daughter`s grey mare
Died there in peace, that`s the truth.

Ann knew LYN. They met up at art school.
Now Lyn`s at Sandy Meadow
Singing the praises of Manaton,
The loveliest place to know.

My sister and I went to Skokholm –
Island, seabirds, flowers new.
Met MICHAEL “Puffin” from Ilsington.
He vouched for Manaton too.

I, widowed, with children both nest-flown,
Settled in Manaton here.
So – to Jacquie, Ann, Lyn and Michael –
Thanks, you are ever so dear.

Mel Veal

Manaton and the Millennium Bug
From our Devon hilltop village there are no towns to be seen
And Millennium festivities are few and far between.
London's Dome and fireworks are 200 miles away
So the neighbourhood's preparing for a freakier display.
THE BUG will strike at midnight, and nothing's going to work:
Toaster, tractor, trouser press - they'll all be going berserk.
So we're gathering our gadgets from up and down the road,
We'll set 'em up and plug 'em in
And watch them all explode.
Author’s note: this ode to electrical malfunctions won a runner-up prize (some cases of sparkling wine) in a 1999 “How will you celebrate the Millennium?” competition. The Bug never struck, but we opened the first celebratory bottle rather too close to our brand new, allegedly “Y2K-proof” laptop. So our first purchase of the 2000s was another brand new laptop…

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