The Dartmoor national park authority have a variety of byelaws which if not followed and obeyed could land you with a hefty fine. They are listed on the National Park website, but they got me thinking that a few do's and don'ts wouldn't be a bad idea for the blog.
So here's a few of the rules and good practice suggestions from Mum on Dartmoor.
Before you go
Check the weather for Dartmoor National Park
Plan your route. Dartmoor’s rivers rise very quickly after heavy rain and can be dangerous to cross, so have an alternative route as back-up.
If appropriate, leave details of your route with a responsible person remembering to report your return.
Make sure you know how to use an OS map and compass and have both with you.
Do not rely entirely on a GPS unit or mobile phone for navigation. Mobile coverage can be unreliable on the Moor and phone batteries die which could leave you stranded.
Keep your valuables safe
Do not leave valuables in your vehicle when you park in remote moorland car parks.
Clothing and equipment to take with you
Wear layers of clothing as these provide better insulation. You can always take a layer off if need be.
Waterproof coat and over trousers, hat and gloves. Temperatures and weather can change in the blink of an eye.
Sturdy walking boots. I wouldn't be without mine
A Comfortable rucksack.
OS Map and compass.
Food, plenty of water and a warm drink in the winter. Remember that filling up your drinking water from the crystal clear Dartmoor leats may seem like a great idea but what you may not see further up stream, such a dead sheep or a lovely moorland cow having a poo, will foul the water. If it is necessary to refill, make sure you have purification tablets. I have been told a tale of one poor chap drinking the most delicious tasting moorland water on a hike one day, only to find himself loosing three stone in fluids over the next few days with a horrific case of water poisoning.
Whistle and a torch
First aid kit
Do not light fires, this includes BBQ's it is against the law. If found you can be fined. You only need to see the recent headlines of other National parks to see the damage that can be done with disposable BBQ's.
You may not sleep in a vehicle on the Moor
Despite what many think, wild camping is defined by its own set of rules. Dartmoor National Park has information on camping on their website but basically; you may only sleep in small tents that you've carried with you and stay for no more than two nights. You may not sleep in large family tents and you must be a certain distance from the road and only on certain parts of the Moor.
The fog can descend quickly and is a frequent hazard on Dartmoor, know where you are.
Use stiles and gates to cross boundaries - do not climb walls or fences.
Do not pick up any strange or metal objects, especially in, or near, a Range Area.
Keep away from and especially do not feed, all moorland livestock including the ponies as they can be unpredictable in their behaviour. Feeding livestock can not only be hazardous to their health but encourages them near the road where they may be hit by vehicles. All livestock are fed additional food by their owners during adverse weather conditions.
If you have a dog with you, keep it under close control and on a lead if necessary.
Take your litter home with you and dispose of it responsibly. This includes dog and human faeces, bag it and bin it at home.
The livestock and wild animals on Dartmoor do carry ticks and there is a chance you may pick one up when visiting Dartmoor.
At the end of the day completely check over your body for ticks. If you should find a tick, remove it as soon as possible as some ticks can carry diseases.
Some parts of Dartmoor are used for Military Training . If you come across unexploded ordnance anywhere on the moor, please:
leave it alone - do not touch or tamper with any strange or metal object, it may be dangerous
mark and note the location and inform either
the Commandant (tel: 01837 650010), Okehampton Camp
report it at a National Park Visitor Centre