Latest News

Land restored as common on Dartmoor 

February 29, 2024

We welcome the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to grant the society’s two applications to register as common three parcels of rough grassland near Blackdown Common, Mary Tavy, in the Dartmoor National Park.  Two of the parcels are adjacent to each other, east and south of Willsworthy car park.  Together, these amount to about 33 hectares.  The…

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Dartmoor backpack-camping case is to go to Supreme Court 

January 11, 2024

We are deeply dismayed that the Supreme Court has granted the Dartmoor landowners, Alexander and Diana Darwall, leave to appeal in the Dartmoor backpack-camping case.  The society intervened in support of the Dartmoor National Park Authority in the Court of Appeal, and it was delighted when that court ruled that the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 gave…

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Right to backpack camp on Dartmoor’s commons confirmed by appeal court

July 31, 2023

We are delighted that three judges in the court of appeal have unanimously overturned the high court ruling and resolved that there is a right to backpack (wild) camp on Dartmoor’s common land. The full judgment can be read here. The society intervened in the court of appeal to support the Dartmoor National Park Authority…

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Brat Tor and Great Links, Dartmoor Photo: Open Spaces Society

An update on the Dartmoor backpack-camping appeal

July 24, 2023

The court of appeal hearing of Dartmoor National Park Authority and Open Spaces Society v Darwall was on 18 July, and can be watched here. Our aim was to overturn the ruling of Sir Julian Flaux in the high court in January that the term ‘open-air recreation’ in section 10 of the Dartmoor Commons Act…

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Brat Tor and Great Links, Dartmoor Photo: Open Spaces Society

Dartmoor backpack camping: we join case in court of appeal

May 23, 2023

Update July 2023: the appeal was heard on July 18 2023. A summary and link to watch can be found here. Update June 2023: the society has submitted to the court a witness statement, made by case officer Hugh Craddock, and the society’s skeleton argument, courtesy of Richard Honey KC, Ned Westaway and Esther Drabkin-Reiter,…

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Brat Tor and Great Links, Dartmoor Photo: Open Spaces Society

Backpack camping: Dartmoor National Park Authority to appeal

April 14, 2023

We are delighted that the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) members have unanimously agreed to appeal against the high court judgment on the Dartmoor backpack camping case.  The owners of Stall Moor common. Alexander and Diana Darwall, challenged the DNPA’s argument that the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985, in giving the public the right to walk…

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No backtrack on backpack camping on Dartmoor commons

January 27, 2023

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…

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Brat Tor and Great Links, Dartmoor Photo: Open Spaces Society

Wild camping on Dartmoor—the need to appeal

January 16, 2023

Update: An agreement is being reached between Dartmoor National Park Authority and the landowners to enable people to keep wild camping in Dartmoor National Park without landowners’ permission. While the agreement is welcome and we are pleased the landowners have stepped up, it goes nowhere far enough to meet wild campers’ needs.   It is essential…

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Threat to our age-old freedom on Dartmoor

December 13, 2022

A high court case, which opens today, could determine the future enjoyment of wild camping in the Dartmoor National Park. Alexander Darwall, the owner of Stall Moor common on Dartmoor, claims that the right of access under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 does not include the right to wild camp. People have enjoyed this activity…

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