January 2023 –
Today the Dartmoor Preservation Association have written an open letter to the National Park Authority calling on them to vigorously appeal the disappointing wild camping judgement. We also remind them that there is 85,000 acres of moor that they could take the lead on with their peers by granting ‘assumed permission’ to keep wild camping alive:
‘Ms Pamela Woods
Chair of Dartmoor National Park Authority
Cc’ Members of the DNPA
Cc’ CEO DNPA
We are writing this open letter to you and the members of the DNPA board in response to the recent judicial ruling against wild camping. We recognise the time and effort, emotional energy, and public money that the DNPA have already put into fighting this case. The recent judgement has come as a bitter disappointment to the Dartmoor Preservation Association and many thousands of people around the UK. It is a further assault on rights of access to the natural world and the beautiful open spaces of Dartmoor National Park. We have three specific requests of you.
- Appeal this decision. Urgently seek leave to appeal, having sought the expert advice of a King’s Counsel (KC). We cannot speak forall, but we have no doubt crowdfunding for legal costs would be offered to DNPA from thousands of supporters.
- Publicly commit DNPA to wild camping. DNPA own 3,512 acres on the moor. A further 82,000 acres is owned jointly by The Duchy of Cornwall, SWW, The National Trust and the MOD, all of which DNPA have considerable influence with. Concurrently to an appeal, build a coalition of landowners who will give ‘presumed consent’ to wild camp. The end result may be a reduced area permissive wild camping map, but it will safeguard this last bastion in England.
- Delay byelaw review. The wild camping byelaw has been exempted from the second iteration of the byelaw consultation process. The whole byelaw review should be paused until the wild camping issue is resolved. The impact of the current judgement will over run into other byelaws as it stands.
The Dartmoor Preservation Association has defended Dartmoor since 1883. We were instrumental in the creation of the national park and have spent 140 years ensuring that the moor is wild and free for all. We have prevented inappropriate development; telecoms masts and more reservoirs, fought for access rights, managed land for nature and conserved heritage and archaeology on Dartmoor. We value our relationship with the DNPA, you may count on our support in any appeal, and we now call on the board to vigorously appeal this judgement.
Dartmoor Preservation Association
With and on behalf of the Chair and Trustees of the DPA’