Dartmoor National Park consulting on new rules

Dartmoor National Park Authority have launched a consultation on proposed changes to its byelaws, the rules that govern activities on access land in the park. The six-week consultation closes on 1st November, and the local Ramblers Area are busy preparing their response to the proposed changes.

Dartmoor, the National Park in Devon, is famous for its moors, its tors, and being the only place in England that allows wild camping. It’s a unique part of the country and an area that the Ramblers have worked to champion and protect for decades. The freedom to roam across much of the park has been enshrined in law since 1985 and was expanded with the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2000.

In September 2021, the National Park Authority proposed updating its 30-year old byelaws. These changes will update the rules around how, when and where you can walk, wild camp and undertake other activities in the national park. The consultation is open for six-weeks, closing on 1st November.

The Ramblers response to the consultation

Our local volunteers are the experts best placed to review and respond to changes in their local walking environment. We have taken the time to listen to, and work with, local Ramblers volunteers to formulate our response.

We have now submitted our consultation response to the National Park Authority, and our recommendation is:

“Since March 2020 we have been living in very challenging times with the arrival of Covid19 and the need to introduce restrictive lockdowns...However, more recently there seems to be a trend towards a degree of normality and there has not been the reporting locally of as much inappropriate visitor activity...The Ramblers considers that it would be better at this time to focus on a more effective enforcement of the current byelaws rather than to seek changes”

Download and read our full consultation response, including our views on changes to specific byelaws.

We are continuing our history of working to protect the freedom of walkers on Dartmoor. Once the consultation closes on 1st November, in partnership with local volunteers and other interested organisations, we will consider further action if those freedoms are not upheld.

Details of the proposed new byelaws are on the Dartmoor National Park Authority website