Dartmoor wilderness camp deal reached

Dartmoor protest with man holding sign

There is fierce opposition to the disappearance of the tradition of wild camping in Dartmoor.

Days after the Supreme Court imposed restrictions on the practice, the landowners agreed to allow people to “camp in the wild” without permission in most of Dartmoor.

Last week, the court ruled that the long-standing tradition of wild camping was unlawful, following a lawsuit filed by a landowner.

There is now an agreement between the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) and most Devon prairie landowners.

An unknown amount will be paid by the park to registered land owners.

Right-of-way campaigners called it a “stitched deal.”

Dartmoor was the only area in England and Wales that, under local law, was supposed to have the right to set up wilderness camps without the landowner’s permission.

But a Supreme Court judge ruled last week that this is legally wrong and requires permission.

The lawsuit was filed by Alexander Darwall and his wife Diana, who have owned 4,000 acres (16 square kilometers) in south Dartmoor since 2013.

According to Dartmoor National Park, the agreement between the landowners will go into effect at 5 p.m. when a new map is posted on its website. It does not create a wild camping entitlement – it is a private arrangement and will last twelve months.

The amount to be paid to the land owners will be covered by DNP. The amount has not yet been decided and the wild camping entitlement can be revoked at any time.

It became clear that the Darwalls could allow access to some of their property.

As part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, the popular Ten Tors hiking activity and wilderness camping are permitted “with immediate effect”.

John Howell, President of the Dartmoor Commons Owners Association, said: “We recognize the importance and benefits that people can bring to be able to enjoy Dartmoor’s natural beauty, including wilderness camping.”

The deal is based on campers having minimal impact on the natural environment – ​​a principle known as ‘leaving no trace’.

tent in dartmoor

Wild camping ‘must leave no trace’ on Dartmoor, according to deal

Dr. We are working together to continue all our good work in helping to keep Dartmoor special for everyone.”

But Guy Shrubsole of the Right to Roam campaign called it a “stitched deal”.

“The people’s right to wild camping was recently taken away by a wealthy landowner – now we are expected to be grateful and pay the price for the privilege to the landowners who have allowed us wild camping.

“This is a ransom note from the landowners… We will not accept any attempt to force people to pay to the wilderness camp, and we urge lawmakers to support a new Right to Roam Act to advocate and expand public access to nature.”

He said a protest march across the steppe, scheduled for Saturday, would still continue. Reactions to the court decision poured in from social media.

Dr Bishop stressed that the DNPA is still considering appealing Friday’s supreme court decision. At a two-day hearing last December, Darwalls’ lawyers argued that a charter that celebrates a historic tradition of open access “on foot and horseback to all communal spaces for the purpose of outdoor recreation” excludes wilderness camp. .

Judge, High Court Chancellor Sir Julian Flaux agreed. He said the law “does not give the public the right to pitch a tent or otherwise camp overnight on Dartmoor Commons. Any such camping requires the consent of the landlord.”

The Duchy of Cornwall, which owns by far the largest portion of the steppe at 67,000 acres (270 square kilometers), is one of the landlords to agree. A spokesperson said: “We recognize the many benefits of enjoying Dartmoor’s natural beauty, including camping in the wild.

“We are delighted to have found a way to move forward quickly and in partnership with the Dartmoor National Park Authority and other landowners to ensure that the enjoyment of this short-term, backpack-style camp continues on Duchy grounds.”

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