A good walk: Rattlebrook Peat Railway, Lydford, Devon

� Evening at Arms Tor, Dartmoor
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  • A good walk: Rattlebrook Peat Railway, Lydford, Devon
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    � Evening at Arms Tor, Dartmoor
    Alamy


Christopher Somerville

Published at 12:01AM, January 17 2015

�The peat fires!� rhapsodised Sabine Baring-Gould in his 1900 Book of Dartmoor. �What fires can surpass them? They do not flame, but they glow, and diffuse an aroma that fills the lungs with balm.�

It wasn�t the dream of a lungful of balm that lured so many 19th-century prospectors out into the wilds of Dartmoor, but the chance of turning a fat profit by distilling naphtha oil from the �black gold� of the peat that blanketed the moors. Naphtha oil could be converted into candles and mothballs, as well as the spectrally flickering naphtha flares that lit the evening markets

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