UKC

Dartmoor access - continued worrying developments

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.

I saw this article on the continued proposal of changes to access rights to Dartmoor this morning and I thought it worth sharing. 

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/dartmoor-could-ban-group-barbecues-5908338 

There is a lot of stuff in there that appears rather a good idea depending upon your viewpoint - defining backpack camping, limiting group sizes, further clarifying drone usage, making sure that dogs are on leads, etc. 

But, as this blog from the wonderful John Bainbridge points out, the worrying aspect is that under the proposed changes to the bylaws the DNPA is giving itself the authority to change the boundaries of the backpack camping areas without requiring a change in the law. 

https://walktheoldways.wordpress.com/2021/09/12/why-im-defending-dartmoors-wild-campers/ 

The above combined with the Nasty Party's continued attacks on access/camping rights (as well as a load of other really horrible stuff - https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2839) makes it, in my view, a worrying time for hard won access rights in England. 

What are your thoughts? 

 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Any idea where the actual wild camping changes are detailed?

In reply to Wainers44:

There's a map in the Devon Live article, but admittedly it is not particularly clear, I can't find any mention of the above on the DNPA site or on https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/dartmoor-national-park-authority

In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

At least wild camping camping is allowed within certain limits on Dartmoor. And enforcement is another issue

Post edited at 10:29
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Oh absolutely, that's a very positive thing. I suppose that it is the potential for changing this that is concerning. In my view at least. 

 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

https://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/400800/2021-09-03-Authority-Reports.pdf

It's buried in the back of here. Page 63 shows the camping proposals.  

In reply to Wainers44:

Good find. Thank you very much 

 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

> Good find. Thank you very much 

Someone is finding this for me! 😁

In reply to Bulls Crack:

"· Camping is only permitted in single person bivouacs or in 2-person tents that can be carried in a backpack and in groups of no more than six people. This byelaw does not apply to agreed expeditions who have written permission from the landowner and the Authority"

Define a 2-person tent, I guess?  Most tents for two are nominally three-man.

I think the old one:

"6 Camping
No person shall knowingly use any vehicle,
including a caravan or any structure other than
a tent for the purpose of camping on the access
land or land set out for the use or parking of
vehicles except on any area which may be set
apart and indicated by notice as a place where
such camping is permitted.
No person shall knowingly erect a tent on the
access land for the purpose of camping:
(a) in any area listed in Schedule 2 to these
byelaws;

(b)within 100 metres of any public road or in
any enclosure.
No person shall camp in a tent on the same site
on the access land for more than two
consecutive nights, except on any area which
may be set apart and indicated by notice as a
place where such camping is permitted."

...is better.  Nobody is going to carry a family frame tent 100m.

Post edited at 12:27
 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Nobody is going to carry a family frame tent 100m.

Unfortunately some people have done some daft and irresponsible things this year.  I have seen a couple of frame tents out on the open Moor, so maybe a change to that is needed? However going to 2 man tents is daft. DofE and Ten Tors fall foul of that. And stating that they will allow exceptions doesn't cover the training for those things. Their approval process is also rather akin to having toe nails pulled....slowly.

Anyone paying attention could also see the problems coming this year. The most significant on moor campsite, at the Plume in Princetown didn't open and in the context of all the extra demand you could see what would happen. Chaos. DNPA should have been ahead of that and supported other arrangements being made?

I would love to think the consultation would be effective,  but previous experience would suggest otherwise. 

In reply to Neil Williams:

> Nobody is going to carry a family frame tent 100m.

They'll take a sack trolley. Festival style.

In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

New Forest NPA is also running a consultation process about changes to access to the forest.

 scope 14 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

It seems pointless to me, unless its actually enforced. People break the current bylaws all the time. Roadside camping and campervans are prolific.

 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
In reply to scope:

> It seems pointless to me, unless its actually enforced. People break the current bylaws all the time. Roadside camping and campervans are prolific.

Even the little enforcement they do isn't thought through. Twice this year at around 10.30am while sat drinking a cuppa in the doorway of my van while wearing running gear I have been challenged by DNPA Rangers. Pretty flipping obvious that I hadn't been there all night.

Yet I have never seen the rangers touring the carparks at 0800 full of vans with window reflectors and furniture outside to move them on. 

 Sean Kelly 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Should we consider, perhaps, following the US in pushing for the use of "wag bags" to carry out human waste from national parks rather than burying it (or just leaving it as some do)?

 JIMBO 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> "· Camping is only permitted in single person bivouacs or in 2-person tents that can be carried in a backpack and in groups of no more than six people. This byelaw does not apply to agreed expeditions who have written permission from the landowner and the Authority"

This bit concerns me about school trips too... if the permission process isn't easy for schools then it'll kill off valuable experiences for kids. This is where educating them in responsible wild camping happens.

In reply to JIMBO:

> This bit concerns me about school trips too... if the permission process isn't easy for schools then it'll kill off valuable experiences for kids. This is where educating them in responsible wild camping happens.

Though I suppose they'd argue that a max of 6 people in any one place is responsible wild camping (which probably is about right, though I reckon I'd go 8).  It doesn't say you can't have multiple groups away from each other.

The tent thing is silly, though.  I guess they have tried to define hike tents, but in reality school and Scout groups will often pack 3 into a Banshee 300 or similar (with two carrying bits of tent and one carrying the stove and gas) so this really does need to be allowed.

Post edited at 17:20
 JIMBO 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Though I suppose they'd argue that a max of 6 people in any one place is responsible wild camping (which probably is about right, though I reckon I'd go 8).  It doesn't say you can't have multiple groups away from each other.

I guess it depends if the supervising staff member counts in the group of 6! which is where I think 8 would also help... but if the permission for school groups is easy then it'll work without trying to bend rules like how far apart separate groups need to be.

 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
In reply to JIMBO:

> I guess it depends if the supervising staff member counts in the group of 6! which is where I think 8 would also help... but if the permission for school groups is easy then it'll work without trying to bend rules like how far apart separate groups need to be.

Scouting "rules" would suit 8 too.

I can't help think that when the whole thing proves to be unenforceable, that will lead to a slide into yet more onerous restrictions. For example...

So I turn up at xxx (not giving my camping locations on here!!) late, and it's dark and blowing up a storm. I camp 20yrds from some tents already there, because I have to as there is no other shelter, a common situation on the moor. I have no idea how many people are in the tents. DNPA arrive the following morning and then decide to fine both me and the 6 original occupants of the tents as we are in breach of the Bylaw. So the others, unaware of my late arrival are liable to be fined too? We are a "group", or are we, and how far apart do we need to be?

There needs to be a review and problably some change. However to consult on something so flawed and poorly considered is pretty pathetic IMHO.

In reply to Wainers44:

> Scouting "rules" would suit 8 too.

Good point - the maximum group in "Terrain 1" or "Terrain 2" (basically WGL and ML territory respectively) for a Scouting group is 8, typically 2 adults and 6 young people, and such groups are not supposed to be within sight or earshot of another such group to avoid confusion about who is responsible for who (which has caused serious incidents in the past hence the rule).

I wonder is Scouting making a representation about this?  It'd be a minor change.

Post edited at 17:58
 Wainers44 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Good point - the maximum group in "Terrain 1" or "Terrain 2" (basically WGL and ML territory respectively) for a Scouting group is 8, typically 2 adults and 6 young people, and such groups are not supposed to be within sight or earshot of another such group to avoid confusion about who is responsible for who (which has caused serious incidents in the past hence the rule).

> I wonder is Scouting making a representation about this?  It'd be a minor change.

The whole "group" thing is so vague in these proposals. 

 trouserburp 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Wainers44:

Given that these are amendments not a new document and your objections are pedantic and would apply to the existing wording I would say they are a reasonable starting point for consultation. 

I imagine if somebody camped next to you while you were asleep you could argue that you did not 'do' anything outside the byelaw although it might well be a long legal process and hard to prove, which might be why they haven't tackled it. If you have a better idea why not reply to the consultation and help them instead of expecting a legislative masterpiece from a small authority

 Wainers44 15 Sep 2021
In reply to trouserburp:

> Given that these are amendments not a new document and your objections are pedantic and would apply to the existing wording I would say they are a reasonable starting point for consultation. 

> I imagine if somebody camped next to you while you were asleep you could argue that you did not 'do' anything outside the byelaw although it might well be a long legal process and hard to prove, which might be why they haven't tackled it. If you have a better idea why not reply to the consultation and help them instead of expecting a legislative masterpiece from a small authority

Well your idea of pedantic is very different to mine

Pedantry once the base principals are established after consultation is one thing,  but ensuring that you are putting together a coherent and considered document for consultation in the first place isn't being pedantic. 

Who needs a masterpiece? Not me. And if you bothered to read the thread you will see I am up for change as it is needed.

If you want a set of rules or bylaws that are respected they need to start by making sense, be clear, and that way they will be followed. Real enforcement will be hard enough, so why make it even harder.

 trouserburp 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Wainers44:

In what respect do the amendments not make sense? Your objections are just how they will be enforced, which is currently the case e.g. you sitting in your van drinking coffee in the morning without having slept there. Regulating behaviour that is difficult to evidence beyond all reasonable doubt is difficult. If somebody actually in breach of the byelaws appealed using your excuses they would probably win. That does not mean the byelaw was wrong. This is why you are being pedantic

Instead of calling people pathetic, why don't you write to them explaining how you would word it so it is more enforceable whilst not risking unfair penalties against innocent parties. Having sat on the other side of the table I can tell you that your attitude of scorn rather than helping makes life pretty miserable for some underpaid, overworked employee

 Wainers44 15 Sep 2021
In reply to trouserburp:

> In what respect do the amendments not make sense? Your objections are just how they will be enforced, which is currently the case e.g. you sitting in your van drinking coffee in the morning without having slept there. Regulating behaviour that is difficult to evidence beyond all reasonable doubt is difficult. If somebody actually in breach of the byelaws appealed using your excuses they would probably win. That does not mean the byelaw was wrong. This is why you are being pedantic

> Instead of calling people pathetic, why don't you write to them explaining how you would word it so it is more enforceable whilst not risking unfair penalties against innocent parties. Having sat on the other side of the table I can tell you that your attitude of scorn rather than helping makes life pretty miserable for some underpaid, overworked employee

Again, try reading what I said. I didn't call anyone pathetic.  It's more that something so important should be following a more careful process and not come across as something that is being rushed out. Alternatively,  go for total blank sheet of paper consultation? I assume you have looked at the proposals and the map.

And as for being sat on the other side,  as far as I am concerned I'm not. What's regrettable is that as someone who loves the moor, it feels like this is heading towards being an opportunity missed. Where is the encouragement coming back to be involved? Maybe that comes on the 20th? However read the article linked by the OP and people who know far more about this than me (and you) are seriously concerned that the will to  consult properly isn't there.

Thanks for the advice on what I should do next.  I will be contributing and taking a continued interest in what happens here. The moor is too valuable to do anything else.

 BuzyG 16 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Great thread.  One important fact, is that folk can wild camp pretty much any place on Dartmoor, as they do in Snowdonia and the lake district. As long as they are descreet and gone early no one is at all likey to disturb them or lock in them up.  The changes to the rules merely empower the park authorities to sort out those that cause a nuisance. They are very unlikely, IMHO, to change a thing for responsible wild campers. It is a shame though that beautiful spots, like Believed forest next to the Dart, have to be included. But unfortunately the beauty a accessibility of that particular area is much of what has brought about this whole issue.

Post edited at 20:13
 petecallaghan 17 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Great to see Dartmoor National Park Authority in the mood to review the land on which camping is permitted. There are large swathes around Princetown, Two Bridges, Postbridge and others that are currently excluded. I'm looking forward to making the case to DNPA for including new areas in permitted camping, such as these, as well as objecting to the exclusion of existing areas. 

In reply to petecallaghan:

That's a great approach Pete. Funnily enough I'd just finished a run on Dartmoor and popped into the Devonshire Inn for a soda while waiting for the bus back. In there I met a lovely chap who was part of a conservation group working on Dartmoor.

He seemed in favour of the proposals largely due to the antisocial behaviour seen on Dartmoor from individuals in/after lockdown. I completely understand his viewpoint and it must be so frustrating to be cleaning up /repairing damage caused by the mindless few. What I worry though is that this reasonable annoyance will be used to push through legislation that has the potential to remove the freedoms we enjoy without proper consultation.

Very much in the same way that politicians present intrusive bills as a way of ensuring security against terror/protesters/etc.

Great to read all your views above, loads of interesting information in there. 

 Wainers44 17 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Right, if I hear things correctly the document linked here might not be the one to be consulted on soon, so need to look carefully at what is issued. That may well be because even DNPA thought their first attempt was poor.....

 Gerry 18 Sep 2021
In reply to Wainers44:

They're trying to separate wild camping (small groups, away from the road, leave no trace) from fly camping (often large groups or congregations of several, not far from the road, noisy, leave a mess). There's been similar problems in Scotland even before covid. Not an easy problem but something needs to be done to protect the moor from abuse.  

 Thunderbird7 18 Sep 2021
In reply to OneBeardedWalker:

Mixed feelings. The right to roam was a hard won right but in the modern internet and social meeja world, too many people take the p**s. I believe in the original intent of such camping rights - couple of blokes in a tent in the middle of nowhere, behaving responsibly 'taking nothing but photographs, leaving nothing but footprints'.

Too many people, too many cars, access too easy, too little responsibility. Regrettably, I reckon subtle changes are needed and the proposals seem to highlight car parks and road access areas.

Living in Cornwall and having just been upto the highlands after many years, I wish all the tw*ts in camper vans leaving shite all over the place would just eff off home. And I know I was a tourist in Scotland though it pains me to say it - we saw locked up picnic sites around Fort William due to too much litter, fires and general arsehole behaviour. Can't wait for Costa del Sol to open up so they can all go there again.

In reply to Neil Williams:

> ...is better.  Nobody is going to carry a family frame tent 100m.

Family tents are loads lighter and more portable than the frame tents of the 70's nowadays.  A 6 man Vango airbeam weighs 15kilos according to a quick google.

 Aussynick 21 Sep 2021
In reply to Gerry:

Exactly. And don't forget us locals have to look at damage to ancient wooded areas that have taken hundreds and a thousand years to make. Poo and burning and litter and damage. Not to mention bloodied dead sheep and lambs from many times from many times dogs have been left to wander off lead by irresponsible holiday makers. Great thanks. Lets roam outside your street and do the same. You'd be up in arms. We live here. 

Post edited at 10:45
 fred99 21 Sep 2021
In reply to Aussynick:

New poster, registered TODAY. I ask you ....

By the way, people from the countryside DO roam in my street. Not only that, but they DUMP their cars - usually requiring TWO spaces to put their singular vehicle in - and wander off to a pub, the cricket ground or the racecourse. Then when they drive off I'm sure they're over the limit.

Reason they park here - to avoid the Police.

In reply to fred99:

> New poster, registered TODAY. I ask you ....

Aussynick, living in the middle of Dartmoor, presumably in a tent...

I call troll.

 Aussynick 21 Sep 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

There are many villages on dartmoor, it's rural. If you want to ramble please do. Just don't destroy. Ps why the need to troll. Have you seen slaughtered sheep. Do you get your pay taken away randomly by someone visiting your workplace? That's how a sheep owner feels. How is parking alike to destroying ancient woodland by tearing it up and setting swathes of moor on fire, irreparable.. 

 fred99 22 Sep 2021
In reply to Aussynick:

Those calling you a troll are wholly against those selfish actions that destroy both the environment and wildlife.

What we do query however is why a brand new poster should appear in such a manner, particularly as recent history has led us to expect some anti-vaxxing drivel (or similar) to appear next from such newcomers.

If you are a previously existing poster - then why have you come up with a new identity ?

If you are completely new to UKC, then how come you feel the need to post quite so quickly on a matter with complicated undertones ?


Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Loading Notifications...