Following a long-standing dispute between nature enthusiasts and a wealthy couple who own part of Dartmoor National Park in Devon, campaigners have successfully appealed for the right to camp on the land.
Alexander and Diana Darwall had raised concerns about the impact of wild campers on their property, prompting them to seek a court declaration stating that public tent pitching could only be done with their consent. In January, the couple won their case against the Dartmoor National Park Authority, prohibiting unauthorised camping on their estate and leading to widespread protests regarding public access to England’s countryside.
However, the park authority appealed the decision, asserting that the judge had misinterpreted the 1985 law governing access to moorland. Last Monday, the appeal judges granted the appeal, determining that the law grants the public the right to rest or sleep on Dartmoor Commons, whether in a tent or otherwise, as long as all relevant bylaws are adhered to.
Down at Terra Nova we're surrounded by examples of Scott's determination and spirit of adventure. 'to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield' is emblazoned over our entranceway, it certainly stokes the fires of adventure in me; and I've been told the same by Tilley hat clad walkers stopping in off the Devonport trails. They talk about wanting to dream bigger and experience a fraction of what those great arctic explorers felt a hundred years ago.
So, let's talk about the epic advantages of wild camping on Dartmoor! When you ditch those typical campsites and venture into the wild to set up camp, you're in for a seriously mind-blowing outdoor experience. Dartmoor, the best national park in England, and as the reestablished only legal spot in England to wild it out is the perfect spot to get your wild camping game on. Get ready to discover all the rad benefits, from getting to feel one with nature and boosting your mental health to becoming a self-reliance champ and appreciating the environment like never before.
1. Call your mum, tell her you love her:
Wild camping on Dartmoor is like having a one-on-one with mother nature. Say goodbye to the hustle and bustle of city life and hello to the raw beauty of moorland. The epic landscapes, from towering tors; to rivers and lakes filling untamed valleys, will blow your mind. Camping in the wilderness helps you find tranquility and get in touch with the essence of the great outdoors. It's a natural high that no regular campsite can replicate, and it'll leave you feeling stoked and refreshed.
2. Free Therapy:
Need a break from this crazy, stressful world? Wild camping on Dartmoor is your answer, bro. Escaping from the chaotic concrete jungle and immersing yourself in nature does wonders for your mental health. The serene moors, jaw-dropping starry skies, and peaceful sounds of wildlife create a Zen-like atmosphere, making your worries melt away. Like putting your feet up on the psychologists sofa, reducing stress, boosting your mood, and helping you find your inner peace and clarity.
3. Future Proof Your Life:
The end is coming, if you believe the worst bits of the news. So when it all goes to pot and we’re fighting over the last tin of beans; don’t be caught with your pants down.
Wild camping is no walk in the park, but that's what makes it awesome! On Dartmoor, you'll learn to be a self-reliant badass. You gotta plan it all out, from navigating the moors to picking the perfect campsite while keeping an eye on that unpredictable English weather. Setting up your tent is the easy part! You could throw yourself truly into natures deep end and take on foraging mushrooms for your breakfast, or filtering stream water for your canteen, but we recommend studying up before heading out. This DIY attitude builds your skills, and you'll come out of it feeling like a bonafide survival expert. The confidence you gain from conquering the wild is next level.
4. Don’t blow it:
Wild camping on Dartmoor ignites a fire in your soul for the environment. When you embrace the minimalistic camping approach, you're leaving no trace behind. It was the ridiculous damage being done by uncaring yahoos over the lockdown that caused wild camping to be banned and fuelled the fire that led to the court cases. If you learn to appreciate the beauty and fragility of nature, it's a total game-changer. You become aware of your impact on the environment and strive to be an eco-conscious camper. You'll develop a love and respect for the wild and become an advocate for its protection.
On that note, here’s some tips to make your trip the best it can be.
1. Research and Plan: Before heading out, research the area where you plan to wild camp. Understand the local regulations, any restrictions, and obtain necessary permits if required. Plan your route, taking into consideration access points, water sources, and proximity to facilities.
2. Leave No Trace: One of the most important principles of wild camping is to leave no trace. Respect the environment by packing out all your waste, including food scraps. Avoid damaging vegetation or disturbing wildlife. Leave the campsite as you found it, or even cleaner if possible.
3. Pitch Late, Pack Early: Set up your campsite late in the day and pack up early in the morning. This minimises your impact on the landscape and reduces the chances of disturbing wildlife or other campers. Don’t borrow your mates bright pink 8 berth tent, you’re not holding a wedding reception, you’re kipping down for the night.
4. Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and ensure that your presence does not disrupt their natural behaviour. Avoid feeding wildlife, as it can disrupt their natural diet and behaviour patterns.
5. Campfires: Check local regulations regarding campfires. In areas where fires are permitted, use established fire pits if available. Otherwise, choose a safe spot away from vegetation, and always fully extinguish the fire before leaving.
6. Water Source: Locate a water source before setting up camp. If drinking directly from rivers or lakes, use purification methods like filtering or boiling. Be mindful not to contaminate water sources with soaps or other pollutants.
7. Safety First: Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Pack appropriate clothing, equipment, and emergency supplies. Inform someone about your planned location and expected return time.
8. Consideration for Others: Be considerate of other wild campers, hikers, and local residents. Keep noise to a minimum, respect designated camping areas, and follow any specific rules or guidelines provided by the landowners or authorities.
Remember, wild camping is a privilege, and with responsible actions, we can help preserve these beautiful natural spaces for future generations to enjoy.
So, my dear readers, wild camping on Dartmoor can be an absolute blast! It's a chance to disconnect from the daily grind and immerse yourself in the incredible beauty of Devon. From reconnecting with Mother Nature and finding mental peace to building mad skills and becoming an eco-warrior, the perks are there to be seized. If you're looking to feed your burgeoning sense of adventure that'll leave you feeling like a true wilderness connoisseur, Dartmoor and wild camping are the way to go!