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Dartmoor accessibility threatened

06 October 2021

Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) has launched a consultation on new bylaws that would reduce wild camping areas and fine trespassers £500.

Dartmoor campaigner John Bainbridge told The Guardian: “Our national parks were created for the benefit of the public after the Kinder Scout mass trespass in the 1930s. They were not intended to be ruled over by control-freak park authorities,” he said. “At a time when more and more people are seeking to explore the outdoors, Dartmoor’s Park authorities are actually making it more difficult.”

Dartmoor is the only place in England and Wales where people have a right to wild camp.

Shamus McCaffery, who worked as a search and rescue specialist for 20 years, said many of the areas covered by the proposed ban were easy to access and used by less experienced campers, families and Disabled people. “Now is not the time to reduce access. Now is the time to open up the countryside and provide for the nation. That’s the whole point of national parks.”