Better for Farming and Forestry
Delivering the Vision
This section of the Partnership Plan contributes to achieving the Vision for Dartmoor in 2045 across all of its themes; ‘Alive with nature’, ‘Celebrated and enhanced’, ‘A warm welcome for all’, ‘Carbon negative’ and primarily: ‘A great place to live and work: People of all ages can enjoy living and working in low carbon, flourishing communities that are connected physically and digitally. Farming and forestry businesses play a key role in delivering a high-quality environment and local products alongside a range of other public benefits’.
Dartmoor is a farmed landscape and has been for several millennia, farming and forestry are an integral part of Dartmoor’s landscape, including the iconic wildlife and natural capital it supports. Natural England’s description of Dartmoor’s Landscape Character Area includes the following, “Agriculture continues to shape Dartmoor’s landscape, as it has for thousands of years. Extensive grazing of the moorland commons by cattle, sheep and Dartmoor Ponies helps to manage the habitats and the large tracts of open access land. The surrounding enclosed land is an integral part of the upland farming system, providing ground for overwintering stock, hay meadows and winter feed crops. Dartmoor provides a wealth of natural services, fresh water, carbon storage and food, as well as significant opportunity for recreation and access to areas with a high level of tranquillity”.
The support provided to farming, especially hill farming as practiced on Dartmoor, and to forestry is undergoing seismic change. Since 1972 the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has played a significant role providing the policy framework for a number of agri-environment schemes and direct payments. Both agri-environment schemes and direct payments (currently Basic Payment Scheme) have been essential to farmers on Dartmoor as have the Rural Development Plans for forestry. The challenge is to ensure future farming and forestry practice is economically viable, helping to protect and manage Dartmoor’s special qualities and contributing positively to nature enhancement and the climate crisis.