No backtrack on backpack camping on Dartmoor commons

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We are delighted that the Dartmoor National Park Authority has agreed unanimously to seek leave to appeal against the High Court judgment of 13 January; this ruled that there is no right to wild (backpack) camping on the Dartmoor commons.

Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We have always understood that the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985, a pioneering piece of legislation, included a right to backpack on the Dartmoor commons. We believe the High Court judgment to be flawed, and we know that it has implications way beyond the Dartmoor commons. We therefore urged the park authority members to continue with the case, and are delighted that they have agreed to do so.

‘The ruling has precipitated a vast public movement for greater access to our countryside, and it has highlighted not only the fragility of the access we have, but also the need for it to be secure in law. We salute the Dartmoor National Park Authority for its determination to establish the right to harmless backpacking on the Dartmoor commons.’

Photo: Open Spaces Society

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