• Lily Waugh

Our first steps onto the moor

In October 2017 Toby and I began our search for a place we could make into our home and artist residence. We had been dreaming this up for years whilst travelling around the world: staying, working and making in beautiful residences and communities from Peru, Chile and Ecuador to Wales, Croatia and India . We toyed with the idea of setting up abroad but soon realised the UK is where we need to sink our roots down deep.

We had recently arrived back from Peru, feeling energised and inspired from a stay with our dear friends Trina and Daniel in Sachaqa Centro Del Arte in San Roque de Cumbaza. It was the second house we viewed, and hiking up the rocky track during 'Hurricane Brian' with our puppy Marcy shaking under Toby's coat and our skin being delightfully scoured clean by the powerful rain, we knew we had come home. So, after a rocky 6 months of negotiations we can finally call Routrundle our home.

Routrundle is a 600 year old Devon longhouse made of granite from Ingra Tor, who watches over the house and the tumbling moorland that outstretches before her. This is the last property before you hit miles of open moorland and is a very special place indeed. We have picked up the baton of becoming guardians of this house for the time we are honoured to be given to be there. This is a humbling task, and we take it on with an open heart, deep observation, bowed heads and respect for the wild lands of Dartmoor.

We are beginning restoration and refurbishment of this special property. First of all we are working to have heat, electric and potable running water in the house. As it is so remote it is off grid, so we are fixing up the 25 year old wind turbine (apparently one of the first in the UK) getting some up to date battery packs and a bio- mass boiler for heating. We want to burn as little diesel as possible and gather our energy from the abundant resources around us, we are excited as the possibilities for off grid living are incredible in 2018 ( especially with wonderful government grants) !

We will then be making the inside a little more habitable before winter sets in and work will have to stop for a while for hibernation and snow appreciation. Stone floors will be layed over the current raw concrete and some old fireplaces will be restored to get the heat and fire flowing and thus warmth and energy moving in areas of the house that haven't seen warmth for many years. We will be doing the beginnings of lime pointing to allow the precious granite walls to breathe again, but this will be a many, many a year long task that we will cherish doing each summer. Most importantly Toby is making us a kitchen from beautiful wood and old slate roof tiles from the garden that I know will be glorious, this will also be the heart of the communal space of the artist residence where we will hold communal meals and much more I am sure.

We are staying open to what comes to us in this place, open to what this place may become. We have had much advice about living in a wild place and we know we must remain respectful, humble whilst moving slowly with deep listening. I will use this blog to keep track of our progress and goings on here on the moor, it will also be a lovely connection to all those we love now we are living so rurally !

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