Priority: Enjoying Dartmoor

– helping people to enjoy and learn about Dartmoor, with a particular focus on managing access and visitor pressure at areas of heavy recreation use

The Recreation and Access Strategy for Dartmoor (2011) sets a vision for sustainable informal recreation within the National Park and provides policies on how recreation and access will be managed on Dartmoor within four themes:

  • sustainable use of the National Park;
  • widening participation and removing barriers to access;
  • raising awareness and understanding of the opportunities already available for recreation, the work of the Authority, and the special qualities of the National Park;
  • promoting active lifestyles.

These themes have been incorporated within the Enjoying Dartmoor priority, and the action plan details how they will be taken forward over the next five years.

What are the issues and opportunities?

  • Improving understanding and appreciation of Dartmoor by a wide range of people.
  • Extending the duration and spend of visitors, to benefit the local economy.
  • Path erosion from extreme weather events and heavy use, and threats to access to open areas from increased density of vegetation. 
  • Challenges in managing more active recreation alongside quiet enjoyment of the National Park.
  • Visitor pressure on areas of heavy recreation use, with congestion, litter, campfires and anti-social behaviour.
  • Balancing the needs of landowners, commoners, and local communities with visitors.
  • Inability of and difficulties faced by certain sectors of society in accessing the National Park.
  • Increase in the number and scale of large recreation events.
  • Impacts of traffic at peak periods, vehicle speeds, and large vehicles.
  • Promoting the health and wellbeing benefits of access and recreation on Dartmoor.
  • Conflict between military training (live firing) and public access.

What are we trying to achieve?

In responding to these challenges, we have identified the following seven key areas where action should be focused over the Plan period:

  • clear and inspiring communication about how to enjoy and learn about Dartmoor;
  • understanding visitor needs and trends;
  • improved, sustainable recreation opportunities for all;
  • focused and co-ordinated management of visitors to ensure that areas for exploration and tranquillity remain for quiet enjoyment; 
  • better understanding of, and access to, the health and wellbeing benefits of Dartmoor; 
  • sustainable modes of travel onto and around Dartmoor;
  • opportunities for everyone to learn more about Dartmoor.

The key areas can be seen in detail by selecting the read more button below.

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