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Higher Uppacott


The Dartmoor National Park Authority has owned the Grade I listed Dartmoor longhouse, Higher Uppacott, since 1979, purchasing it with the help of a 50% grant from the Countryside Commission.

A longhouse is a medieval farmhouse in which both people and cattle were accommodated. Higher Uppacott is one of the few remaining examples of this historic building type which has retained its original unaltered shippon (cattle shelter) - preserving and maintaining the building in its unaltered state was the prime motivation behind the purchase. In 2001 the historic wing (a separate dwelling since at least the 19th century) and adjoining outbuildings, converted to domestic use in the 1970s and known as Uppacott, came onto the market. With the help of a Heritage Lottery Grant of 75% the Dartmoor National Park Authority was able to purchase this and thus reunite the two halves of the building.

Built in the middle of the 14th century, Higher Uppacott started life as a single storey thatched building with a central cross passage dividing the shippon at the lower end from the domestic accommodation in the upper end; the hall (main living area) would have been heated by an open hearth fire and everything took place here from sleeping to cooking and eating. The upper end was rebuilt sometime towards the end of the 15th century and low partitions inserted between the cross passage and hall and the hall and the inner room, but it wasn't until the middle of the 16th century that the first bedroom was created at the upper end of the house above the inner (far end) room with a partition running the full height of the building; access to the bedroom was via a ladder from the hall. More modernisation occurred towards the end of the 16th century with the building of the fireplace and another bedroom above the cross passage, but it wasn't until the mid 17th century that a floor was inserted above the hall creating a fully two-storied house. The house clearly enjoyed increasing prosperity throughout the 1600s and sometime in the second half of the 17th century a parlour wing was added to the house, with its own fireplace and bedroom above. Finally in the 18th or early 19th century a stable and shippon were added to the 17th century wing which at this stage had become a separate cottage; these farm buildings were then converted into domestic use in the 1970s.

One of the things that makes Higher Uppacott so special is that its development from its medieval beginnings through to the present day is still evident within the fabric of the building and it tells its own story through key architectural features. This virtual tour tells the story of Higher Uppacott by combining expert interpretation of its historic features with the memories of people who have lived in there throughout the last 80 years.

As part of this virtual tour you can also visit the deserted medieval settlement at Houndtor, to look at the archaeological remains of longhouses that date from around a hundred years earlier than Higher Uppacott. The settlement at Houndtor was discovered in the 1950s and excavated by a local amateur archaeologist, Mrs Minter, in the 1960s. Her work established the national importance of the site and the significance of medieval archaeology on Dartmoor.

The site consists of the remains of 11 stone buildings, constructed sometime in the 13th century and abandoned about 150 or 200 years later. Four of the buildings are longhouses; others are smaller houses or outbuildings. Surrounding the settlement is an extensive field system, where cereal crops were grown and animals grazed.

Houndtor deserted medieval settlement is a scheduled monument; it is managed by the Dartmoor National Park Authority in association with English Heritage.

Presentation created - November 2005

To view the Grade 1 listing please click here.
3D Navigation
3D Navigation
Interactive Spaces
Interactive spaces
Photographic Galleries
Photographic Galleries
Expert Interpretation
Expert Interpretation


Because of its location and the nature of its surroundings, Higher Uppacott is not routinely open to the public.

However, the Dartmoor National Park Authority does arrange guided walks to the property. The guided walks programme can be found on the Authority's website , or in its free newspaper, the Dartmoor Visitor. Groups of six or more people may arrange a visit through the Authority's Guide Hire Service. Contact the Dartmoor National Parke Authority at Parke, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 9JQ. Tel: 01626 832093. Email:
Higher Uppacott, secluded and not routinely open to the public
Higher Uppacott, secluded and not routinely open to the public

Using the Tour

Each space in the Higher Uppacott interactive visit may be accessed by clicking the buttons on the 3D map, or the arrows that hover adjacent to public access areas within the site. Each space will have a series of speakers associated with it. You may select any speaker, or just sit back and allow the narrative to unfold. As the speakers deliver their presentation, supporting images will appear in the presentation panel, from which you may gain access to the gallery of photographs. This will pause the presentation and give you the opportunity to peruse the images in your own time. For those users with Apple's Quicktime plugin, fully immersive 360° spherical panoramas of each space are also available.

Please leave your comments in the guest book provided.

Navigate the interactive features is easy and intuitive

Technical Info

The Higher Uppacott visit is an interactive multimedia presentation that uses Macromedia Flash, there is also an option to use Apple Quicktime.

If you don't have these plugins you can download them from here:

Get Flash Player

Get Quicktime Player
Interactive features
Interactive features


Base coat:
The first layer of thatch to be fixed to a roof, visible from the underside.
The bottom end of a straw stem.
The surface formed by removing the right-angled edge of a piece of timber (such as floor beams or lintels) to form a bevelled edge.
A timber which spans across a truss at high level, linking the principal rafters. A cambered collar curves slightly upwards.
Combed wheat reed:
Wheat straw that has been put through a machine called a reed comber which removes the grain and 'flag', (leafy waste material).
A form of truss, which has the principal rafters curving into the wall. In a raised cruck, the principal rafters start about halfway up the wall. (as opposed to on the ground) A jointed cruck is where two straight timbers are joined to make the angle between wall and roof slope.
Dating wood (especially in this context, the time of the felling of a tree) by studying tree-ring growth.
Timbers supporting the floor of a building.
A horizontal timber beam or stone spanning across an opening such as fireplace, window or door.
Principal rafters:
The main components of a roof truss, linking wall to apex.
Longitudinal timber between trusses, located about half way down the principal rafters, used to support the common rafters.
Ridge piece:
Horizontal timber at the apex of a roof.
A cattle byre, or house.
A thin strip of hazel bent and twisted into a U shape like a staple, with points at each end, used to secure a new layer of thatch to the old.
Spar coating:
The fixing of a new layer of thatch on the outside of a roof, using spars.
The decorative device by which a chamfer ends and a piece of timber returns to the square. The different designs of stops are useful dating tools.
A first floor hayloft.
A hybrid of wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale).
Framework of wooden beams forming the main support for the roof.
This refers to the form and style of buildings which is typical of their area, often influenced by local building materials and conditions.
Weathering coat:
Topmost layer of thatch (i.e. that which is seen from outside), which weathers back over time and is periodically re-covered with a new layer.
Small piece of wood at the apex of a truss joining the two principal rafters on the underside and supporting the ridge piece above.

A Base Coat
A Base Coat
A Cruck Truss
A Cruck Truss


Here at the Dartmoor National Park Authority making sure the information on our websites is easily accessible to all is a high priority.

We have made sure this site is fully Accessible (see our Accessibility page for details) and we have introduced features within the Interactive Visit that accommodate users with visual / hearing impairment:
  • Visits are primarily audio tours, playing sequentially without the need to click anything.
  • All objects are captioned.
  • All text/captions are re sizeable.
  • Transcripts for all audio elements are available for the hard of hearing.
Sequential Audio with clear icons
Sequential Audio with icons
Dartmoor National Park AuthorityMoor MemoriesDartmoor Sustainable Development FundEnglish HeritageThe Dartmoor Trust