The Hound of the Baskervilles’ written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and based very much in and around this area. The silhouette of Hound Tor appears in the forms of hounds, Fox Tor Mires, Grimpun Mire (Grimspound?), Squire Cabel, a landowner of Brook Manor, near Buckfastleigh, all seem to feature in the story. Cabel kept his own pack of hounds! His tomb is in Buckfastleigh Parish Churchyard. He was considered an evil man and when he died he was buried in a lead coffin, under a large stone, a building erected above with iron railings around it so that he could never get out again. The church was burnt down a few years ago and at the time stories of ‘Black Magic’ abounded.
Hairy Hands, reputed to be active near Cherrybrook. This story was first heard about 100 years ago, when someone was driving along there, when the hairy hands grabbed the wheel and pulled him off the road, (or that was his excuse – could it have been the strong cider or ale?) Bowerman’s Nose, story has it that Bowerman the hunter was out hunting and chased through a witches coven and scattered their fire and cauldrons, the witches thought that they would get their own back on him. One witch offered to turn herself into a hare and when he next came hunting she would run across the bog and he would follow and get stuck there. The hounds crossed and Bowerman followed only to get stuck up to his waist, (it is only the top half of him that you can see there today). The hounds then turned to stone thus forming Houndtor. The witches then had an argument, one quickly cast a spell on the other two and turned them into stone, at certain angles they too can be seen on the Tor.
Kitty Jay, of Jay’s Grave fame, came from the workhouse to work on a farm in the Manaton parish. The son of the house, had his wicked way with her, then discarded her, on finding that she was pregnant, she committed suicide and, as was the custom in those days, a suicide could not be buried in consecrated ground, but buried at a crossroad on the parish boundary. Her grave is on the Widecombe to Houndtor road where the footpath to Natsworthy Gate begins. It is a fact that there are always fresh flowers on her grave. How they get there is a mystery, and sometimes small sums of money are also left there. In the 19th century the site was excavated and the bones of a young woman were found. They were re-interred and the grave has stood there ever since.