DARTMOOR’S TRACY ELLIOT-REEP

I grew up on Chittleford Farm, near Widecombe-in-the-Moor, riding Shilstone Rocks Dartmoor ponies. I now live on the edge of Widecombe, where I run my Dartmoor business, producing Dartmoor cards, calendars and books.

I started working with and sketched the animals in a travelling circus, then travelled through Europe and North America, teaching horse riding before qualifying as a photographer in South Wales. For several years I worked as a freelance photojournalist for magazines, during which time I had the honour of interviewing royalty at Buckingham Palace, and rode all 2,000 miles from one end of New Zealand to the other.

This year I am celebrating the 25th anniversary of my business, which I started with just six Dartmoor postcards, while living in a caravan with my Jack Russell dog, Sam. My faith in God and my love of horses, adventure and photography have taken me to many places, including Africa, Tibet, Israel and Russia.

It was actually a four day ride around Dartmoor, aged sixteen, that inspired these epic riding adventures further afield. We made packhorse bags by sewing two hessian sacks together and attached it to our pack pony… who either refused to move, or rushed forwards so fast that all the contents of the pack ended up on the ground!

Since then I have completed five long distance rides, lasting between six weeks and six months. Journeys from the top of Scotland to Land’s End in England, around Southern Ireland and Wales, across North America, and from Greece to north west Spain. I have published these adventures in colourful photographic books.

My latest adventure was the most testing – from the arid heat of Greece, to the high altitude of the Alpine mountain passes, and on to an ancient pilgrim trail, the Way of St. James, via France and the windswept plains of northern Spain.

Despite my passion for horse-riding adventures, it’s always so good to come home to Dartmoor, which is such a special place to me. It’s where I grew up, and on most days, my camera and I will be out there exploring its beautiful landscapes.

Although I have lived here most of my life, I still find Dartmoor exciting. I’m always discovering places I have never been to before, under ever-changing skies, adding light and shade to the rugged landscape. I especially love to be out photographing on the moor when the clouds are racing across the sky and casting shadows in one place, while the sun illuminates another – like a solitary tor, a hawthorn tree or a stone cross. This changeable landscape is always exciting to see and photograph.

I love the diversity of the moor, with its patchwork of small fields. I also love meeting the weather-beaten farmers, moving their stock along narrow country lanes adorned with wild flowers. Or the cows and ponies trimming the hedgerows, which are such a contrast to the windswept high moorland, carpeted in purple heather in the summer, peppered with livestock and – on a clear day – offering views of the sea. I adore the autumn, when the mist cascades over the hills and tors, and rises from the wooded river valleys whose colourful leaves fall like a mass of confetti and float downstream.

I’ve tried to capture so much of this in my photos, you can see them for yourself on my website:
www.traceyelliotreep.com

Stuart Clarke

Author: Stuart Clarke

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *