Dartmoor is attracting an increasing number of visitors, a trend that has been exacerbated during the COVID19 pandemic and is predicted to continue, particular with the large number of new houses being built in surrounding areas. During the preparation of the Partnership Plan there were conflicting views between those who welcomed the increasing numbers and those who felt that this was having a negative effect on the National Park, including impacts on local communities through increased traffic, loss of tranquillity, path erosion and tensions between different recreation users.
These pressures though are a consequence of more people visiting and engaging with the National Park, which is to be welcomed. As opportunities for wider travel were limited during periods of lockdown, visits to Dartmoor from those from communities or backgrounds which have typically not accessed the National Park to a great extent began to increase. Broadly, society recognised and appreciated the importance of green space and open air recreation for health and well-being, and local communities valued what was on their doorstep with a fresh perspective.
- Recognise that visitor numbers will increase, and plan for this with a particular focus to promote sustainable travel options to and around the National Park.
- Issues of anti-social behaviour and conflict are real and have been increasing. Although we want to welcome people to the National Park, we need to have the tools and resources to manage them. Continued work with the police will be crucial but also continued targeted communication to raise awareness.
- Promote increased understanding and mutual respect between visitors and local communities, and respect for the National Park’s special qualities
- Proactively manage visitor activity through strategic zoning
- Accept and implement restrictions or tighter management on certain activities, in certain places or at certain times of year when this is necessary to protect the fabric of the National Park