Sladeite Memories. . .

On discovering the Website . . .

Dear Chris, I have some new information for your Slade web-site, which I was thrilled to come across the other day. (What a brilliant idea!) I spent some unforgettable summers at Slade in the early sixties and I am still in contact with Lena Brattström, who is married and lives in Tranås.

Eva Hedin August 2012

Eva 2013

Dear Chris, How did I discover the site? As a matter of fact, it wasn’t by total luck. I was googling around in a vague attempt to find out the possibilities to take a walk down memory lane on Dartmoor (preferably on pony back). So you can imagine that I got excited when I found your site! Eva Hedin August 2012

Hi Chris,
I just cannot believe that I have just found your wonderful Slade website and gosh, what a lot of lovely memories it has brought back.I always drive past Slade when I go down and it hasn't changed at all. I like to walk my dog down Gobbett Hill and up the Swincombe valley where we used to ride most days. I think the years I stayed at Slade, which were from 1962 until, I think, 1964 or 65, were the best years of my life and certainly the best summers. I have so many wonderful memories and seeing your list of people who had stayed there brought back even more.
Vilya Fuller August 2012



Hello again I had trouble getting to sleep last night - I was so excited to find the Slade website and my mind was buzzing with memories. For some inexplicable reason, I had googled my own name and was amazed at how many different websites came up, most of them in my village but including your Slade site. I was amazed to see my picture on the front page and was immediately transported back to the sixties. You put it SO well when you said that your summers there had a profound effect on you - that's exactly the way I feel. I have such a love for Dartmoor, especially Hexworthy . . . . Vilya September 2012

Hi Chris, I was messing about on my son's computer yesterday and found your memories of Slade site and then found myself in one of Gill's photos, I am Jenny Reeves in her winter recollections. I was at Slade from Boxing Day 1962 until end of March 1963 then went to Sherberton. I had been going trekking at Sherberton since they first started and used to stay at Prince Hall with the Allen family, Ruth and I were the same age so we became firm friends and


I often went to Prince Hall in winter school holidays which was great, when I left school, after a short time on a Somerset dairy farm I was at Slade and then Sherberton full-time. The attached photos are end of February 1963, we dug that drive so many times to try to get Mrs C,s car out and eventualy succeeded! The other one was on top of a drift somewhere on the main road near Brimpts, I can't remember who took the photos it could of been Gill. Of course I looked through all the pictures on the site, it is a real joy to see old haunts and the people who were so much part of my life then and some of the happiest years of my life. In your photos Chris I can help out with some information, no.61 is definitely Widecombe car park the trekking ponies used it as a lunchtime stop in early spring when there were few cars about. Photo no.62 the skewbald pony is Quince, I bought him when I left Sherberton, he lived to be 31, I had him for 29 years, I think the photo may be Drizzlecombe usually the Thursday trek. Another photo is of Laddie eating from a bowl on the tin mine road, it looks like it could be Jane McKilwain's (not sure of spelling) Highland Laddie, she went to Slade from Sherberton in 1963 I think. The last time I was on Dartmoor was for Janet Hammond's wedding to Peter who worked at Beardown, the wedding was in Princetown in I think 1966, I was her bridesmaid but lost contact with her in the late 60's, she worked at Sherberton for a few years, the same time as Janet Sharp, I have a photo taken at her wedding near Taunton with all the Sherberton staff of 1963 or 1964. It was with sorrow I read of Rosie's death, she was great to work with, such a lovely person, the world could do with more Rosies and Mrs Cs and John and Diana. I have lived in a lot of places since leaving Sherberton, three different parts of Lancashire, Anglesey, two parts of Lincolnshire and since 1984 up a mountain in West Wales always wide open spaces, it's the Dartmoor influence!  Quince went everywhere I went and I have 2 ponies now but don't ride anymore my knees don't bend like they used to. Your site is great Chris, I hope you don't mind my ramblings, I have more photos of Sherberton and my brother who came to stay there sometimes has lots of Diana riding in point to points etc. if anyone would like to see them I can get my son to scan them for you. Best Wishes to you Chris and anyone else who reads this, the bond of Slade and Sherberton lives on through us all. Jenny Reeves 25/08/2013


One quite vivid memory I have is of John Ricketson-Hatt. On one occasion, (around 1959) I went "rabbiting" with John. Mrs C had some nets which I think used to hang inside the downstairs toilet, either on the back of the door, or on the coat-hooks opposite the door - if I remember correctly. These nets were

a metre square, with brass rings at each corner and there were about 8 of them.John and I went with "Becky" who seemed to understand instinctively what was going on and what was required . . .We walked up along the top road towards Sherberton and cut up left into the "Old-Take".Becky started casting about among the mass of gorse bushes, and soon got exited about a particular bush, and John laid the nets over conspicuous gaps in the base of the bush, and over several rabbit holes nearby.One hole at the base of the bush was then uncovered - and Becky encouraged to enter - she didn't need much prompting - seemed to be having the time of her life . . . !This process got repeated as we progressed, and finally we were successful - as a rabbit came bundling out of a nearby hole straight into the net that was over it.John had previously remarked "We've got this one on hot buttered toast".It was duly dispatched and we headed home. I can't remember if we got more than one on that occasion, but rabbit was on the menu for dinner a day or so later. I'm hoping John can put me right on that at some point.

Chris Miller - 25th September 2012

Going to Princetown to see a film & riding home in the dark was not that rare nor that hard if there was a full or near full moon. Later we rode to Sherberton in the evening, riding home to Slade in the dark. My Mother & I rode in the dark when we lived in Holne in the 1980s/1990s - indeed, I have jumped leats & gorse bushes at midnight. A full moon on a clear night away from a town produces a lot of light. Caroline Belam - 15th October 2012

From Barbara Hoes - April 2018 A ramble through my memories which have been aroused by your wonderful web site and my photos; In 1946 my family were holidaying at Holne. My mother enquired in the local pub where my sisters could ride horses and were told Sherberton ( I was 3 at the time). In those days the Coakers – (senior) lived in Sherberton farmhouse they farmed and took in visitors providing everything on a larger scale than at Slade. Visiting boys slept in the loft above the cows and the girls slept over the horses, adults in the house. They organised lots of activities , many featuring horses including daily rides of course. My father rode a big bay carthorse called Paddy, who had a habit of sitting down midstream when fording rivers! The hoards entered the house for meals Mrs C organised food , I recall one time being the centre of unwanted attention as I had a loose tooth, the consensus was to tie it with string to door handle and slam the door. They also organised fun, I have photos of a picnic at Sandy Pool and a paper clipping with a photo including Caroline and Nicky Czernine and 3 Hoes girls and others at the 1948 Sherberton gymkhana. Hay making was a great time with people armed with pitch forks throwing the dried hay up to be formed into a hay stack. Everyone was involved even "Billy Bunters" (a ram who had a habit of chasing people and head butting them) and there was lots of fun and celebration when the job was finished I was a teenager when I first went to Slade , initially sleeping in bunks in the house before graduating later to the garage. I remember the anticipation (Harry Potter couldn't have been as happy at Kings Cross as I was getting on the train at Paddington) the increasing excitement as the train went along the beachfront ( near Torquay?) meaning that I was almost there. But best was being in Mrs C’s car and the first view of Slade from Coombestone Tor. Handyman Reg was around with his colourful language which seemed to be his identity. Reg’s shed originally moved from near the scullery up to the road side of the garage.. I told my parents, ( much to their amusement ), about assisting Reg to take Mrs C’s cow to Sherberton to help him mate her! I so loved Slade that I introduced school friends, the Drucilla Graftons and Penny Gardiner and my cousin Tony Taylor. Rosemary lived not far away from us but we met at Slade. The senior Millers were regulars , they used to explore a lot - Were they very interested in lichens at one time, or was that someone else? Chris and Jane were quite small then. In the 50ies we used to spend many afternoons going straight down to the river, ( path to the right of the fields below Slade), where we'd swim and rock jump. The place opposite - Huccaby House was empty then I think, someone lived at HH before it had a refreshment stall . Later we were excluded from accessing the river that way and had to go down the road and then only used to swim near the bridge.. We'd walk to Badgers Holt, occasionally to Dartmeet, and sometimes Beryl and Pat Langdon would take us on a longer walk to Duckspool or Belever Tor. On the occasional evening we went along to the community hall to play games and socialise. Pat and Beryl were our heroines who supervised most activities. Nicky and Caroline stayed ( with their grandmother ?) in Hexworthy but used to come up for rides. Irene and Tord from Sweden were slightly more mature and sophisticated, Ian Hutchinson was way ahead in maturity - tall handsome and so out of reach - but Irene managed. Whenever I hear Elvis singing "Teddy Bear" I am back at Slade with it playing on Pat’s wind up gramophone ,after Beryl left to be married, Pat moved into the hut near the scullery . She used to do a wonderful rendition of Robins Return on the old piano located initially in the hall. Before trekkers, John and Diana farmed Sherberton , D rode competitively and J did a lot of animal transport runs driving his big green truck to the Continent. Ann Coaker lived in Karachi but visited home with Ming (Caroline) . Little Peter Coaker used to come and play in his sandpit opposite the front door at Slade with his gentle dapple grey pony (Terry?) Other people I remember include Lavinia, Gill, and Whizzy. I also remember hearing about Prince Charles leaving his escorts at Sherberton so he could go out walking alone on the moors. Dogs, Becky and Taffy, Badger and Ninkynoo, Jane and another Jack Russel before Jane Cats: Mothies Horses: Ranger, Catkins, Shamus Shanty, Bonny, Impy , Jubilant Food: bread with golden syrup with clotted cream (or Butter) The separator in the scullery- Mrs C milking the cow then separating it and putting the cream in a bain-marie on the Aga Feeding lambs in spring-more than a dozen sometimes, and taking them inside to keep them warm around the Aga (much to my prudish disgust) One Winter 2 prisoners escaped and after a week of rumours, one was found dead in a reservoir not far from Hexworthy Weren't we lucky to have been alive and able to have such wonderful times and now memories of the best place in the World.? Barbara Hoes (Leonard) April 2018