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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Devon Cattle or Devon Bus

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas SEPTEMBER. 12, 2020

[38-365] 12th September 2020- A cautionary tale about driving in Devon.

We went for a day out to Dartmoor today, home of ponies, featured previously, cattle and sheep, most of which given hundreds of square miles to eat, much prefer standing on or around the only roads, which are few and far between. I am not sure of the breed of cattle but from what I can find out these are probably Welsh Black cattle, possibly Black Galloway. I think both are hardy types which they would need to be up on these moors in winter.

Dartmoor is a Common. Commons can be defined as a social practice of governing a resource not by state or market but by a community of users that self-governs the resource through institutions that it creates .

Every animal grazing on the Common is required to have an identification mark that is clearly visible and these marks must be registered with the Dartmoor Commoners’ Council. Each commoner has his or her own identification marks, often the first letter of the owner’s surname. Ponies are marked with a brand on the body and cattle must have tags in their ears.

Traditionally in Britain, Commons were usually allocated or left over, as the poorer quality land not desired by the upper classes for the use of commoners or landless people. Commoners did not have titles.

The British parliament still consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. If you were not aristocracy you were a commoner. Hence when Prince Harry married Meghan Markle he was said to have been marrying a commoner. I don't know how many cows or sheep she had though.

When you leave the countryside you enter Devon's small villages. The dangers of livestock may be less but in villages designed around horses and carts travelling at three miles an hour, two buses coming head to head offers far more entertainment than television does these days. Incidentally the white line on the road is what passes for the pavement or sidewalk should you wish to risk it. It is also advisable in cottages like these to stick a small mirror on a stick out first before you step out yourself, because that pavement also serves as part of the road.

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