The ban on wild camping on Dartmoor has been overturned, following a successful appeal to the High Court by the Dartmoor National Park Authority and Open Spaces Society.
This reinstates the right to camp without landowners’ permission, and overturns the judgement previously made in favour of the landowner.
The Right To Roam campaign issued the following statement:
VICTORY! Wild camping rights restored on Dartmoor! 🏕
We’re delighted to announce that the right to wild camp on Dartmoor has been restored as of an historic court decision today, overturning the previous ban on wild camping which tool place this January.
We’re phenomenally grateful to all of you who have campaigned tirelessly for this historic decision, taking action on Dartmoor and across the country for our right to wild camp.
Dartmoor is just 0.2% of land in England, and we are still banned from 92% of the English countryside. But this is a HUGELY important precedent and shows the growing momentum for a national Right to Roam just like Scotland has.
Make no mistake, this is just the start or reclaiming our Right to Roam. Onwards and upwards!Right to Roam
While this judgement doesn’t affect our right (or not) to ride bikes on Dartmoor (another thorny issue), this judgement in favour of the public over the landowner is surely a step in the right direction.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said:
“It’s great to see sense triumph with today’s ruling that wild camping is a form of open air recreation, with the courts acknowledging that the Dartmoor Commons Act allows the public to engage in open-air recreation on the Commons on foot or on horseback. But the obvious question for us, is why cycling wasn’t included in that expansive right of access.
“Isn’t riding a bike a form of open-air recreation as well? Is it logical that you can walk, or ride a horse, wherever you want, but you can’t ride a bike on a well surfaced land rover track? As the (long delayed) Byelaw review moves forward over the coming months, we hope you’ll join us in asking questions over why National Parks aren’t offering fair access for cyclists too. Nearly 75 years on from the Act of Parliament that created our National parks, the original vision remains a long way from being fulfilled”.
Climb aboard your dandy-horses and head for the hills?
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