Wild campers urged to stay away from Dartmoor despite a lift on short-term ban

Wildlife driven away from parts of Dartmoor following a surge in wild camping has finally started to return thanks to a temporary ban.

The short-term ban on camping on parts of Dartmoor was implemented after rangers saw an increase in the number of people camping overnight in large tents, motorhomes and camper vans - many in breach of National Park byelaws.

Groups were leaving litter, human waste and destroying the ground, forcing rangers to implement a ban on all overnight stays.

In August rangers reported finding broken bottles, plastic bags, disposable barbecues, wet wipes and used toilet paper among the mess left behind by campers.

This, they say, is harmful to wildlife on the moor and threatens the ancient monuments at Bellever - including Bronze Age hut circles which are 3,000 years old.

7 August

The ban was introduced

After the ban was introduced, birds, cattle and ponies soon returned. Credit: ITV News West Country

The ban was brought in at Bellever / Riddon Ridge to protect public health, nature and wildlife and aimed to reduce fly camping and anti-social behaviour.

After the ban was introduced, birds, cattle and ponies soon returned.

Simon Lee, Dartmoor National Park Ranger Team Leader said, "We've had up to sixty plus family sized tents, with gazebos, generators, open fires, rubbish, human waste, here on most Friday and Saturday nights.

"And that type of camping is not permitted anywhere on Dartmoor, and it certainly isn't sustainable for a site like Bellever."

The site will still be closely assessed to monitor anti-social behaviour. Credit: ITV News West Country

However, now the ban has been lifted, rangers are still asking people not to camp in the area in order to give it time to recover.

The site will still be closely assessed to monitor anti-social behaviour.

Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Director for Conservation and Communities Alison Kohler said they will not hesitate to reinforce the ban if needed.

The short-term ban on camping on parts of Dartmoor was implemented after rangers saw an increase in the number of people camping overnight Credit: ITV News West Country

Alison Kohler said, “There is still a long way to go and we must not undo all of the good work.

"We hope people come here and enjoy this beautiful space for the day but if anyone wants to stay overnight then they should book a place to stay or use a designated campsite.“Dartmoor is a protected landscape that is here for everyone to enjoy.

"We will not hesitate to use the powers again to ensure it remains protected and that everyone can enjoy it safely and without experiencing the issues we saw this summer.”