The Hounds of Dartmoor

Hound Tor from up close

“Over the green squares of the fields and the low curve of a wood there rose in the distance a grey, melancholy hill, with a strange jagged summit, dim and vague in the distance, like some fantastic landscape in a dream”

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles


Dartmoor is home to many legends and myths, but one of the best known worldwide is that of the “spectral hounds”. Made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, this legend brings forward the darker, more sinister side of the moors. In his story, Conan Doyle illustrates not just the legend of the hounds, but also the atmosphere of Dartmoor, its mythical beauty, and mystery.


The Author and the Detective


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) is the author remembered for creating the renowned Sherlock Holmes. Born in Edinburgh, he moved to Plymouth in 1882, close enough to Dartmoor to have been familiar with the legends and folklore of the region. While he is best known for the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle did not want to be remembered merely for his detective novels, and therefore attempted to kill his character in the 1893 publication “The Final Problem.”


Due to the popular demand of his world audience, however, Conan Doyle ended up reviving Sherlock Holmes at the turn of the century. The Hound of the Baskervilles was the first story to be published after Holmes’ reappearance in 1901.