Photography by Brad Roach


Dartmoor contains 10% of Europe’s Bronze Age remains and many of these sites are becoming smothered in gorse and bracken because there are so few grazing animals out on the moor. As a result, many of the projects that we undertake are tied to this archaeology.

Most of our long-term projects, such as the clearance of the Plymouth and Devonport Leats across Roborough Down, gorse and bracken clearance at Buckland Common Settlement and bracken clearance at Venford Reservoir farmstead are funded by organisations such as the Roborough Commoners Association, Historic England and South West Water.

We also undertake habitat improvement projects creating butterfly friendly habitats at Common Wood, near Horndon and on Roborough Down.

Projects on DPA Land

The DPA owns 4 pieces of land on Dartmoor. We run a monthly programme of conservation work on our land at    High House Waste, near Cornwood.

Work parties carry out gorse and bracken control to improve moorland biodiversity, encourage natural tree regeneration and conserve the archaeological features.

The DPA has owns a set of hay meadows at Pudsham Down. The volunteers are carrying out a land management programme to enhance the growth of flowers and encourage nesting birds.

The summer orchid count recorded over 4,500, of 5 different species in just             3 small fields.

Photo Credit: Ross Barrett
Photo Credit: Ross Barrett


We are sensitive to the needs of wildlife and have a spell during the bird nesting season – in late Spring and early Summer – when we avoid clearance work on the moor. Dartmoor is an important area for ground nesting birds and many other species use the gorse and other scrub to build their nest in.
Whilst most of our volunteers are members of the Association, not all are and anyone is welcome. There is no need to make a regular commitment- just come along on the days that you are free, but please book with the project leader first. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.