Dartmoor Bylaws – Another Open Letter to the Ramblers

Further to my last post, I’ve just seen this brilliant letter to The Ramblers from Max Piper.

My email to The Ramblers:

Dear Ramblers,

I am writing to you to ask for your support in rejecting Dartmoor National Park’s absurd byelaw proposals that will be detrimental for walkers and visitors to the moor, including the disabled who have not been considered very much, if at all.

Over the years your organisation and other groups have campaigned for our right to access the countryside for years and it would be horrific to see an authority (in this case DNPA, who can’t even enforce their current byelaws) to introduce harsher ones with little justification based on failing on multiple occasions to provide us with statistics.

Yesterday I wrote:

Seeing as today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, I would like to thank everyone who has fought hard for our access to the countryside, people who may or may not be alive today; those who have understood the vital importance of being out in fresh air and the endless health benefits it brings.

For many of us being on the moors has improved us mentally and physically, making us better, stronger people with a more positive mindset. I know for me that roaming the high moor with no obstructions has given me hours of joy and improved my outlook on life.

Access is something we should all be proud of and continue to fight for in grey areas where, sadly, it is not as open as it should be. The health benefits of being in the outdoors are incredible and it is not something we should take for granted.

We need space; we need DNPA to understand this and not impose sanctions on us that may to them seem harmless but, in actual fact, are going to affect everyone who visits the National Park. This is a heartwarming plea from someone who has spent many an hour on Dartmoor in all its weathers, landscapes and seasons. Never before has this been more important.

I know that what I have said is applicable to many people, in fact the vast majority of people who use Dartmoor, including those who live, work, visit, etc. etc. It all comes under one umbrella but DNPA appears to be overreacting from the pandemic where a minority of people decided to visit Dartmoor and trash it. But, now that people are starting to holiday abroad again, this has died down considerably, yet if these byelaws are imposed we who visit regularly will have to suffer the dire consequences.

I have gathered that no one was prosecuted for camping en masse at Bellever and DNPA are partly to blame for not taking any legal action. Why create new byelaws when the current ones are not being adhered to? Does DNPA really think that will be enough to make the minority listen? I think not; they should be enforcing their current byelaws.

People now are literally scared as to what DNPA will propose next. I am deeply offended not only by keeping dogs on a lead no longer than 2 metres for a great chunk of the year, when the military are still permitted to carry out their shenanigans (as well as the animals that also live there and us walkers roaming) which threaten bird nesting far more, but making occupying a vehicle between 9pm and 9am an offence!

Yes, it’s ‘occupy’, which is not restricted to sleeping. How will Ten Tors and DofE teams manage? And what about us who like to stargaze or simply enjoy a nice, warm refreshment? I may as well freeze on top of my vehicle instead!Sadly, DNPA are becoming an authority who are controlling us who simply visit Dartmoor to get away from everyday life and I, for one, do not support these new byelaws that if anything will do more harm than good. The authority should be working with the people but it seems to be going the other way. I didn’t think that was the goal of National Parks?

I hope you will support me and everyone else in refuting DNPA’s ludicrous proposals. No one would want to see what we have worked so hard to achieve become lost because of an incompetent authority.

Thank you.

Best Regards,Max Piper

By John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.


  1. Scary stuff if people are going to stop us sleeping in our cars – I’ve always done that when I’ve gone places and can’t see what harm it’s doing. When you consider how much single people are screwed-over when it comes to accommodation provision and costs, I don’t see why I should have to try to book and stay somewhere when I’m on my own!

    Liked by 1 person

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