RICHARD COPUS, director of Woods Distinctive Homes and division and regional executive for the West Country region of the National Association of Estate Agents, has lived in the National Park for 29 years and says it is an acquired taste that you either love or hate.
"Visiting and living on Dartmoor are two quite distinctive things," says Richard. "The moor is an acquired taste, but just like the best Scotch it only gets better!"
Richard lives in his barn conversion just outside the village of Holne, on the moor's southern slopes.
"Living in the villages on the southern slopes is very different from living on the open moor.
"The villages are relatively large, most with a pub and some with shop and primary school.
"The communities tend to be lively and have a cross section of inhabitants from locally born and bred to commuter families and the retired.
"Because most of these places are within 10 minutes' drive of the A38, they tend to attract people who work in Exeter, Newton Abbot, Totnes or Plymouth.
"Property values tend to be higher than average and second home owners are in a minority (one of the reasons that the schools and shops still exist).
"The south facing slopes mean that the area is a lot warmer than the top of the moor and the landscape tends to be small pasture fields enclosed by traditional high hedgebanks rather than open moorland.
"You could say that the edge of the moor is Dartmoor for softies, but it is a very comfortable area in which to live and a wonderful one too.
"Move on up to the top of the moor and you are in a different world. Surprisingly flat, the land tends to level off at around £1,000 feet.
"Here are individual homesteads, most little changed since the Middle Ages, and small villages and hamlets, such as Postbridge and Hexworthy, nestling into sheltered valleys.
"The weather can be quite harsh and is usually 3 to 4 degrees lower than Newton Abbot or Torquay.
"Many of the properties are Duchy of Cornwall leaseholds, and not freehold. Duchy leaseholds are an unusual form of tenure and because they are not normally mortgageable; they tend to have lower capital values and appeal to a different type of home owner.
"The natural centre for the south side of the high moor is Widecombe – a thriving village with a great deal of character and not spoilt by the many tourists that come to appreciate it.
"Housing types vary a lot. Many of the Medieval and Tudor homes still exist and are typically constructed of locally quarried granite under a straw, thatched roof, often with storm porches.
"Most of these properties are grade II or grade II* listed as they are an important part of the visual environment. Church Cottage in Buckland-in-the-Moor, which Woods is marketing at £450,000, is an excellent example of one of these period gems.
"Modern houses or bungalows are permitted where these fit into existing settlements or are for social housing and these nearly all tend to be externally rendered in light grey under a natural slate roof.
"There are still a handful of old 1930s timber-framed bungalows on the moor, constructed before planning controls came in, and many stone barns have been given planning consent for full residential or holiday use so that they remain a part of the landscape rather than fall into ruin.
"The planning authority for Dartmoor is the National Park.
"All National Parks deal with their own planning maters, with most other responsibilities being dealt with by the relevant district council in the normal way.
"Many of the planning regulations are similar to other rural parts of England and Wales, but the Park has certain added powers and can be more stringent in the application of policy.
"Conservation, as opposed to preservation, is the order of the day, which means that development is allowed within the policy guidance framework and this ensures that the communities can stay alive and move forward rather than being preserved in aspic.
"To live on Dartmoor does not mean living in the sticks. It is a fabulous place with a great deal to offer, but don't move there if you want sun, sea and pizza deliveries!"