1. ITV Report

Dartmoor ablaze

Swaling is a traditional land management technique used to control overgrowth on Dartmoor for 5,000 years. Photo: ITV News West Country

Every year, parts of Dartmoor are deliberately set on fire but it is not vandalism - it is a way of improving access for walkers and, crucially, encouraging the moor's huge array of wildlife.

The controlled burning of the moor, or swaling as it is termed, is a traditional land management technique which has been used to control overgrowth on Dartmoor for some 5000 years.

Swaling improves access for walkers and, crucially, encouraging the moor's huge array of wildlife. Credit: ITV News West Country

Swaling is a common sight at particular times of the year - from November to March. But this year farmers have had a very tight window of opportunity because of bad weather. It stops at the end of March, because of the bird nesting season.

Robert Steemson, Dartmoor National Park Authority says farmers have got their work cut out to finish it all by April. Credit: ITV News West Country

What is going on behind me is what's called the legal burning of the moor. We’ve got up until literally the end of this month the time, unfortunately the weather has been so bad there are quite a few other fires going on so there is a short window this week,probably up to Thursday or Friday when it rains again to get the job done’

– Robert Steemson of the Dartmoor National Park Authority

Francesca Carpenter reports:-