Bogs, fogs and dogs: a tour of Conan Doyle’s Dartmoor

Our writer gets into the Halloween spirit by scaring herself silly on a Hound of the Baskervilles tour, exploring the bleak landscapes that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel

The wind is howling as I peer through the mist at a particularly bleak bit of Dartmoor, trying not to let my boots sink into the thick, black mud. I’m on the edge of swampy, fog-shrouded Fox Tor Mire, which was the inspiration for Grimpen Mire in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s hardly surprising that this gloomy landscape inspired him to write one of his darkest Sherlock Holmes novels.

In the story, the detective is investigating the death of Sir Charles Baskerville, who died with a look of terror on his face, the footprints of a giant hound nearby. Conan Doyle wrote the novel after sharing a voyage from South Africa to England with Vanity Fair editor Bertram Fletcher Robinson, who regaled him with ghostly tales of his Dartmoor home.

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