Dartmoor – Make Your Views Known at National Park Meeting Tomorrow

RAMBLERS AND CAMPERS PROTEST AT PARKE THIS FRIDAY

Dartmoor National Park Authority Rally – Friday 27th Jan 2023

There is a meeting by DNPA on Friday 27th Jan 2023 at which the agenda reflects that they will be discussing the appeal for the Darwall vs DNPA court case.

It is important that DNPA appeal to prove that Wild Camping should be included as an open air recreational activity on Dartmoor. Dartmoor Wild Camping Action Group are going to host a peaceful protest outside the meeting, to encourage DNPA to appeal the decision

Where?

DNPA Headquarters at Parke, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 9JQ. The protest will be on the area of grass at the entrance of the estate, by the first road fork.

When?

Meeting from 8am with a view to be in place by 9.30am (the meeting takes place at 10am, so we want to show a presence as the DNPA members arrive).

What?

We plan to pitch tents on the grass with messages of our support of an appeal on. Signs, banners and drums will be appreciated.

What to bring?

It is likely to be cold, so warm clothes, snacks and hot drinks would be good. Signs and tents to pitch would be useful, but bodies are more important!

How to get there?

We encourage using public transport where possible. The nearest train stations are Newton Abbot and Exeter.

There is the No. 39 bus service from Exeter to Newton Abbot that goes through Bovey Tracey. http://www.cartogold.co.uk/…/39_NewtonAbbot-Exeter.pdf

If you have to drive, we encourage you to share lifts, but there is plenty of parking in the National Trust Car Park at Parke £2 for 3 hours or £4 all day.

There is another paying car park in Bovey Tracey near the Riverside Community Centre, Station Road, TQ13 9SB. This is about a 10min walk from Parke.

Facilities

At Parke, there is a Home Farm Café, which sells snacks and hot drinks to take away and eat in. There is also many cafes and shops in Bovey Tracey to provide refreshments if needed.

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Winter Walk in Eden

The land was in that strange state which comes along when you’ve had snow and ice and it hasn’t all quite melted. And with the advantage that it’s still frozen enough to keep the mud at bay. The roads were still icy as we drove to King’s Meaburn in the Eden Valley in Cumbria. (Free parking at the village hall).

We’ve done the walk from King’s Meaburn to the village of Morland, out via Chapel Bridge and returning by way of Jackdaw Scar, several times. A really peaceful walk where – apart from in the villages – we saw no one at all, though there were lots of Herdwicks in the fields. Good rights of way too – all properly signed and clear the way public footpaths should be.

Old Barn at Kings Meaburn

Lovely views too, across the Eden Valley to the great frontier ridge of the North Pennines, with Cross Fell – the highest point in the range – still fringed with snow.

Distant Cross Fell

Only just over five miles, and you do have to repeat some of the route, but worth it for the vistas and quietude.

Simple route too on good tracks – King’s Meaburn – Chapel Bridge – Kemplee – Highgate Farm and then the lane into Morland (Ford, Church, then back the way we came to Chapel Bridge, then following the River Lyvenett to Jackdaw Scar, then – from the now raised ford – up the lane back to the start. Sadly, the Crown Inn in Morland seems to have closed, though the cafe is still there at weekends.

Snowdrops

Two fascinating villages too –

King’s Meaburn was probably an Anglo-Saxon settlement in the 7th and 8th centuries. The name comes from “Meadburn”, which means “meadow by a stream”.

King’s Meaburn goes back to the 12th century, when Henry II gave lands to Sir Hugo de Morville in one part, and the other part to his sister, Maud de Veteripont – Maulds Meaburn. Sir Hugh eventually fell foul of the King, after which Henry reclaimed Sir Hugh’s section of the land, hence the name King’s Meaburn.

In 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie and some of his soldiers crossed the ford in the village on their way to rendezvous with more of his troops in Shap.

Chapel Bridge

Morland too has its story – it is believed to have been settled for at least 1500 years. A Viking sword was found buried in the churchyard in the 19th century, which suggests the Vikings settled the area. The church itself – the oldest still functioning structure in Cumbria – still has a Saxon tower. In the porch there are what seems to be some interesting carved stones and medieval graffiti – see below for pictures.

The Ford at Morland
Church with Saxon tower at Morland

Morland was not in the Domesday Book of 1086, as it was then under the control of Scotland. The area was conquered in 1092 by William Rufus and brought under English control. In the 13th century, King Edward I spent the night in Morland on his way north to wage war on the Scots.

Church Path at Morland

It never ceases to amaze me that these now quiet places pop up in the greater history of the nation.

The Lyvennet is a delightful little river and is worth exploring throughout much of its length. The rocky ridge of Jackdaw Scar (yes the birds are there) was at one time a well-known venue for rock-climbing (according to the BMC it still is). The Scar is carboniferous limestone atop sandstone.

Approaching Jackdaw Scar

The ford near to the Scar was raised after flood damage in Storm Desmond in 2015, designed to let migrating fish pass through.

Recommend this walk if you have a couple of hours to spare,

Saturday’s Dartmoor Protest – Final Details

Thanks for signing up to the first of many events against the outrageous decision to ban wild camping on Dartmoor!

The response has been overwhelming. But it does pose some logistical challenges in a remote part of Dartmoor. We’ve been working hard to make this happen at very short notice. So please read the information below carefully.

We’re looking forward to gathering at Cornwood War Memorial for the main event to start promptly at 1.30pmSee below for the different options to arrive at this time.

**PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN CORNWOOD ITSELF UNLESS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL** See below for further details.

If you have signed up to the event but can no longer attend, please could you cancel your Eventbrite booking. The clearer the understanding we have of numbers, the easier it is for us to plan! If you’re unsure whether to attend, fear not – there will be plenty more ways to contest this decision coming up…

To support the Right to Roam campaign with costs associated with events like this please visit: righttoroam.org.uk/donate

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GETTING THERE

Help us minimise the impact of cars on the local area by using one of the following options:

1) PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO IVYBRIDGE, then either JOIN THE WALKING PARTY or take one of our shuttle buses / coaches (see below)

The Stagecoach GOLD bus runs every half an hour from Plymouth and Paignton/Totnes – see timetables here: https://www.stagecoachbus.com/plan-a-journey

Trains to Ivybridge station run from Totnes (e.g. 12.03 arriving 12.17) and Plymouth (e.g. 11.27 arriving 12.17).

2) PARK IN ONE OF THE LARGE CAR PARKS IN IVYBRIDGE, and then either JOIN THE WALKING PARTY or get one of our SHUTTLE BUSES (see below)

Erme Court Car Park and Leonards Road Car Park in town, and the Ivybridge Park & Ride Car Park at the train station, all have good parking capacity. (The Park & Ride is prioritised for rail customers).

The shuttle buses will depart from the Ivybridge Park and Ride Car Park to take you to Cornwood (see below). Please make sure you fill your car if possible. If you have space in your vehicle, or are looking for a lift, you can make use of our car pool spreadsheet (see below)

3) TAKE THE SHUTTLE BUS from Ivybridge Station Park & Ride Car Park

If you have travelled to Ivybridge by train, bus or car, you can then get on one of our shuttle buses or coaches leaving from Ivybridge Park & Ride for Cornwood.

Minibuses and coaches will be doing constant shuttling between Ivybridge Park & Ride and Cornwood Village Hall between 10:30am and 13:30.

The earlier you arrive the better(you’ll be doing the organisers a huge favour!). The shuttles will be overwhelmed if everyone turns up at once! Tea and coffee will be served at Cornwood village hall from 11 – come early for a brew and make some friends.

Return shuttles will run from Cornwood to Ivybridge between 4pm and 9pm.

4) JOIN THE GUIDED WALK FROM IVYBRIDGE TO CORNWOOD

A longer, guided walk will set off from the Watermark Cinema in Ivybridge at 10.30am (Erme Court, Leonards Rd, Ivybridge PL21 0SZ). PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY as the walk will leave at exactly 10.30. It takes approximately 20 minutes to walk from Ivybridge Station to the Watermark.

The walk is around 4 miles / 7 kilometres and takes about 2 hours to get from Ivybridge to the START of the event in Cornwood. You would then join the main event for an additional 2.6km walk onto Stall Moor (one way).

The walk will be on small back roads, footpaths and open access land, and involve a number of stiles and gates: it’s a beautiful route but we advise you need to be a reasonably strong walker to do this. No dogs please, or if they must be brought please keep them on short leads.

There is NO OFFICIAL GUIDED WALK back to Ivybridge.

Return shuttles will run from 4pm – 9pm.

IMPORTANT: If you intend to walk back to Ivybridge at the end of the event, please *BRING A TORCH* – it will be dark. And please stay safe whilst walking along roads. Please bring hi-visibility clothing if this is your intention.

5) CAR POOL

Please make best use of the space in your car. If you have space in a car, or are looking for a lift, you can add your details to the spreadsheet below to self-organise lift shares.

NOTE: this document is shared with all other attendees and will likely be passed around WhatsApp groups etc, so details are provided at your own risk. We will delete the spreadsheet the day after the event.

CAR POOL SPREADSHEET:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HW-TgqZS_mzrCLtLl4TctPmIJl1wZa9NNrMViz76Lms/edit?usp=sharing

B) THE WALK FROM CORNWOOD TO THE CEREMONY

Please arrive in good time for the event to start at 1.30pm at Cornwood War Memorial. We will walk from there to Stall Moor for the ceremony to summon Old Crockern, the spirit of Dartmoor, before returning to Cornwood for around 5.30pm.

Accessibility: the walk from Cornwood to Stall Moor is around 2.6km, mostly over metalled road surfaces, but for the final 500 metres involves walking over rough and uneven ground on the side of the moorland (at this point there is a place where pushchairs etc can be left before proceeding on to the final section). We expect to be outdoors from 1.30pm to 5.30pm, and will be standing on the open moor for 30 minutes to 1 hour – please dress warmly.

C) WHAT TO BRING AND FACILITIES

What to bring:

-Wear warm waterproof clothes and sturdy boots or welly boots.

-Bring water, and flasks of tea to help stay warm.

-Bring all the food and snacks you need – we are unable to provide these.

-DON’T leave litter – we will be picking up any litter we find on the route.

Toilets: there are toilets in the Village Hall (open 11am-7pm) and public toilets next to the Cornwood Inn, but there are no toilets after we leave Cornwood village.

Village Hall: We have booked Cornwood Village Hall from 11am to 7pm and will be using this for rehearsals 11am-1pm and for serving tea and coffee. From 1pm to 6pm, the Village Hall will be a family friendly space where people can stay if you are not coming on the walk, to stay warm, drink tea and talk. Between 6pm and 7pm we will need to clean the Village Hall and leave it as we found it.

Pub: the Cornwood Inn (https://www.cornwood-inn.com/) is open 12 noon – 11pm, with food served between 12 noon – 3pm and 6pm – 9pm. It is essential to book in advance for food, please do so using the online booking form here: https://www.cornwood-inn.com/eat. Please be aware that the pub may be very busy on Saturday, particularly after everyone returns from the walk after around 5.30pm.

PARKING IN AND AROUND CORNWOOD

If you do have to drive directly to Cornwood, please be aware that parking spaces are very limited.

There is very little parking in the village centre. Availability may be possible at Delamore Park Car Park and Abbots Park Car Park.

The local community is broadly supportive of the action this weekend, but that will change if they are inundated with cars – so please be as responsible as possible.

Only use clearly designated parking. Do not on any account block people’s drives or make passing places impassable!

OLD CROCKERN RISES! LET’S CELEBRATE THE TRUE SPIRIT OF DARTMOOR!

Right to Roam

Dartmoor Land Protest

So what happens on the disputed Dartmoor land… click on the link to read all about it… http://thecornwoodshoot.com/the_shoot.php

And if you don’t think this is a valid reason to keep people out of several thousand acres of a National Park then please support the protest next Saturday.

Let’s get something straight – Darwall has won a battle, not the war. And, by taking this course, he’s sowed the seeds of his own – and other like-minded landowners’ – destruction. This has provided a focus for an entire campaign against the injustices of land use and added recruits to a greater Right to Roam campaign. We should now press the National Park Authority to appeal. We should now press organisations such as The Ramblers, Open Spaces Society etc. to launch massive campaigns both against this ridiculous judgement and in favour of access legislation on the Scottish model. In the meantime please do keep camping on Dartmoor just as you have always done. I’ve had my disagreements with the Dartmoor Preservation Association in recent years, but I salute the strong stand they are now making.

Protest Cornwood Sat, 21 January 2023, 13:30 – 17:00 GMT

Join Right to Roam and The Stars are for Everyone as we unanimously call on the spirit of Old Crockern to protect Dartmoor’s ancient rights!

The High Court has judged in favour of abolishing the right to wild camp on Dartmoor; the only place in England where it was legal.

Alexander Darwall, a multimillionaire estate owner in south Dartmoor has used his wealth and entitlement to remove our ancient right to connect with the land: all by contesting a byelaw from the 1980s which simply acknowledged the long established practice of sleeping under the stars.

We say: absolutely not!

We are calling on the spirit of Old Crockern, the ancient protector of the moor, to oppose this decision. Old Crockern represents the values that sit within our campaign and those that embody Dartmoor: inclusivity, freedom, growth, relationship and humanity.

We call on the many generations of people who love Dartmoor; locals, visitors, campers, farmers, walkers, students, naturalists, land workers, fishers, climbers, swimmers, bikers, canoeists, stonewallers, hedge layers, spirits old and new, to join us in opposition.

Raise Old Crockern to Defend Dartmoor!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/raise-old-crockern-to-defend-dartmoor-tickets-514716339427?aff=ebdsoporgprofile&keep_tld=1

Raise Old Crockern to Defend Dartmoor!

Summon the spirit of Old Crockern – Dartmoor’s ancient defender

Raise Old Crockern to Defend Dartmoor!

Save Langdale – Fight the Planning Application

From Zip Off

United Kingdom

13 JAN 2023 — 

The planning application has just arrived. It’s a first stage in the Elterwater theme park, and has been severely stripped back, to appear more acceptable, but with the hundreds of thousands of pounds that ZipWorld has thrown at buying into the Lake District National Park (they own the TreeTop Treks facility at Brockhole, the LDNPA visitor centre), their investment is huge, and this first application is one of many more to come.

So, here’s a link to the planning application general information (https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/planning/elterwater-quarry) and detail (planning application), for you to see what is planned. We’ve reviewed this closely over the past 48 hours, and the amount of detail far exceeds what this application purports to be. The transport plan alone is 120 pages long!

There are several mistakes in the planning application, that reference “rides” when this application doesn’t include any! See the photo above as an example. This application is the start of converting the site into a theme park.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Simply write a short e-mail of objection to the planners. Even a few lines will do. Send your comments in e-mail to planning@lakedistrict.gov.uk quoting planning reference number 7/2023/5012. You have until 10 February 2023 to send this. Do it today – it’ll only take 5 minutes at most of your time.

Thank you all those who can spare the time to e-mail, and help spread the word. There’s over 75,000 of you who signed this petition. If even 1% of you e-mailed, that would be 750 objections! If 10% of you e-mail, this would be the most opposed planning proposal ever in the National Park. Doesn’t Langdale deserve that? It’s such a unique and special place. Please spare it 5 minutes now to help save it from ZipWorld greed.

Wild Camping Outlawed on Dartmoor

The right to wild camp on Dartmoor has been overturned. The High Court has ruled in favour of a legal case brought by wealthy landowner and hedge-fund manager Alexander Darwal – who runs hunting and shooting holidays -seeking to end the existing right to camp under the stars without seeking permission from the landowner.

Darwal challenged the claim” that section 10 of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 Act authorising wild camping, but instead only recreation “on the move”. Alexander Darwall and his wife, Diana, filed a case questioning the legal basis of the authority’s bylaws, which allow for responsible backpack camping.

Sir Julian Flaux, the Chancellor of the High Court, issued his judgment in the case of Darwall vs Dartmoor National Park Authority. Sir Julian found that Section 10(1) of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 does not confer on the public any right to pitch tents or otherwise make camp overnight on the Dartmoor Commons. Any camping requires the consent of the landowner.

The case was on whether wild camping counts as recreation. The act under which people assumed the right to camp does not expressly mention the activity, but says visitors are free to enjoy outdoor recreation if they reach the moors on foot or horseback. Darwall’s lawyers argued that camping is not recreation, but that the law allows for activities such as walking and picnicking – and the judge agreed with them.

Dr Kevin Bishop, Chief Executive/National Park Officer for Dartmoor National Park Authority, said that they were disappointment and would have to take their time to consider an appeal, or what it means for the Moor going forward.

“We are really disappointed with the outcome but obviously respect the judgment. We will now consider our position carefully before deciding on whether to appeal, and on what grounds,” Dr Bishop said.

“In the meantime, we will amend our website and other information we provide to people who are planning to wild camp on Dartmoor.

“We are keen to work with landowners and other stakeholders to see how we can sustain opportunities for people to wild camp on Dartmoor. We’re meeting with Dartmoor Common Owners’ Association in coming days and hope to ensure that, with the agreement of landowners, the opportunity to wild camp as it existed prior to this judgment is secured going forward.

“We maintain that wild camping is an important form of open-air recreation and is a way to enjoy the special qualities of the National Park – for example the dark night skies, sense of wilderness and the tranquillity that can be derived from the commons of Dartmoor. Done properly, and with respect, it has little impact on the environment but can have significant health and wellbeing benefits.”

The Dartmoor Preservation Association said: “We are very disappointed by the outcome of this hearing, it is a great let-down for all who love Dartmoor. This is just the latest in a historical assault on public rights of access to the countryside – at a time when we desperately need more, not less time in nature.. The Dartmoor Preservation Association calls on the National Park Authority to vigorously appeal, you have our support and the support of 1000s of others.”

Well said, the Dartmoor Preservation Association.

THE FIGHT GOES ON

Exploring Dukerdale

Why not walk out from Kirkby Stephen to have a look at Dukerdale, the dramatic valley which doesn’t quite scrape into the Yorkshire Dales National Park, though – even though it’s in Cumbria – it ought to? (There are precedents – the Westmorland Dales between Appleby and Orton are now part of the YDNP.) It’s also one of the least visited places in the district – we didn’t see anyone – even on a nice spring day.

DSCF0047
High Dukerdale (c) John Bainbridge 2018

A walk of two halves this, the first all pastoral through woods of ash and blackthorn, where the primroses grow and the spring lambs gambol: the second a long and hard moorland tramp where the only signs of life are the calls of the hill birds and the occasional disturbed grouse.

Starting by the sparkling waters of the River Eden at Frank’s Bridge, familiar to walkers of the Coast to Coast path, we crossed the disused railway line, and walked up to the mighty and dramatic Ewbank Scar, a great chunk of limestone, worn down over the ages by the tiny but very pretty Ladthwaite Beck. We saw deer not far away, red squirrels and a passing fitch. A good area for wildlife.

DSCF0036
Frank’s Bridge (c) John Bainbridge 2018

Beyond Ladthwaite Farm, the whole tone of the walk changes. What is a relatively pastoral landscape walk is transformed into a wet and occasional boggy moorland tramp – first across stone-walled intakes and then across open fellside, as we followed a long wall to the slopes of Tailbridge Hill.

The first part was a trudge through lank moor-grass and heather. Heavy going, the initial brightness of the day vanishing into light rain and hail. These fells, though, have an interest of their own – particularly for the walker who likes moorland birds and the lover of wild open spaces.

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Ewbank Scar (c) John Bainbridge 2018

Hard going though, until a track opened up nearer to the summit. There was a time in my long ago Dartmoor days, when I could do thirty miles across such country and not think twice about it. Older age has calmed me down a trifle.

But when you come to the edges of Dukerdale you do get a gasp of excitement – it’s like a miniature version of the famous High Cup Nick, though limestone and not Whin Sill. Well worth going to have a look at.

We circled Dukerdale, crossing at the beck which pours down into this once-glaciated valley – a good place to halt for a tea-break. Then up across wilder moorland towards Rollinson Hags.

DSCF0043
Walking into the wild (c) John Bainbridge 2018

Superb views here, right across the great valley of the Eden to the North Pennines in one direction, with the Lakeland and Howgill Fells in the other.

We cut across to the track leading up from Kirkby Stephen to the Nine Standards, though we didn’t go up to those dramatic cairns on this occasion. Instead we followed the path and then the lane down the three miles back to Hartley and then Kirkby Stephen itself – a lovely gentle descent with equally terrific views, so familiar to walkers on the Coast to Coast.

A walk of two halves across countryside where, apart from at the end on the long-distance path, we hardly saw a soul.

Free parking on the Kirkby Stephen car park.