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Dartmoor

Discussion in 'Bushcraft Chatter' started by Lucyc, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Lucyc

    Lucyc Forager

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    Hi,
    Me and a friend have decided to go over to Dartmoor for a bit of wild camping by night and bouldering by day at Easter, since am I right in thinking this is the only place where you can camp not in a campsite around here?
    So basically I was just wondering for anyone who's done the same thing whether there's anywhere you can't camp, that you're allowed fires, and everything like that. I tried looking at the Dartmoor wild camping webpage but it all seemed a bit law-speaky and confusing, so I thought I'd try and find out here instead!
    Thanks,
    Lucy
     
  2. shocks

    shocks Forager

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    you can wild camp on dartmoor. Its great fun, no open fires though and not near the roads. There are some lovely spots but be prepared for wind and rain!!

    Check out on the ordinance survey map for exactly where you can and cant camp. Loads of fun I do it every year.
     
  3. mace242

    mace242 Native

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    Wild camping on the moor is, as has been said, allowed within certain areas - the Dartmoor wild camping site has maps with marked areas where you can go (annoyingly pretty much all off the wooded areas are of limits for campers). As you've noticed you can't have open fires. You can't be near roads - but you'd probably not want to - and you're not allowed in "enclosed areas" which basically means anything with a wall round it. There are also some parts that are off limits at certain times of the year due to wildlife restrictions (such as breeding birds).

    One thing I would say is be sure you have map and compass and know how to use them and are ready for all the things the moor can throw at you. It can be an unpredictable beast. I spend a lot of my time there as we have a caravan (our summer hideaway) nearby, and if you wand further advice please feel free to post some more or pm me.
     
  4. hammock monkey

    hammock monkey New Member

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    I love camping on Dartmoor being a zumerzet lad myself.
    'not been for a year or two but found i once found some amazing hidey-holes near the prince of wales pub, opposite side of the road that are incredibly well sheltered. I think they're the remnants of some kind of industrial works, but they almost resemble small lawns. Great in summer, not exactly hard-core camping but as far as a comfy weekend getting away, lovely.
     
  5. leon-1

    leon-1 Mod
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    Hi Lucy, if you want a place where you can have an open fire then you will be restricted to campsites unfortunately. Down the road to the south of Widecombe is the Cockingford Campsite which allows fires next to the stream / river that runs through it. Up the road and to the north west of Widecombe is Bonehill Rocks which is a great place to boulder and also borders Bonehill Down (go figure). Also over in that direction there is Hound Tor which has some pretty good bouldering as well.
     
  6. Lucyc

    Lucyc Forager

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    Thanks vey much everyone - but no open fires? That sucks :rant: how is one supposed to keep warm?
     
  7. Womble

    Womble Native

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    think about the ground Lucy - a ground fire on peat can spread underground and lay dormant for quite some time and then spring up when least expected (a bit like the spanish inquisition...).

    The campsite Leon mentioned allows them though, as does the campsite at Runnage farm near Postbridge - both sites have a stream running adjacent to the camping area..
     
  8. Lucyc

    Lucyc Forager

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    Of course I wouldn't want to do any damage, but a shame nevertheless.. Are natural shelters around?
    Does anyone know of any woodland that is campable (if that's a word)?
     
  9. leon-1

    leon-1 Mod
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    Hi Lucy, apart from the reasons stated by Womble the national Parks Authority implemented the no fires rule for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, holiday makers not extinguishing fires properly, across the moor, fires spread and caused thousands if not millions of pounds worth of damage as well as causing a threat to both wildlife and human life.

    Secondly, even Swailing which has been practiced on the moor for hundreds of years had gotten out of hand and these are monitored heavily as they are a controlled burn. However year over they spread across the moor causing a lot of damage, areas of the moor would become no go areas.

    Thirdly the practice of not allowing open fires on the moor actually allows you a certain amount of safety as you are not likely to get caught in a fire that has been started by someone who has since gone home and left it to burn across the moor trapping wildcampers as it goes.

    The byelaws which have been intorduced are for the protection not just of the moor, but of people that love to walk and travel the moor as well.

    Last year I was up on Holne Chase, a beautiful area as Womble can testify. Whilst there I came across an area where someone had obviously had a large open fire, the area was wooded and under normal circumstances the view and the location itself is something to behold.

    On this occasion though it was something to behold for a completely different reason, the large black scar from the fire (about ten feet across), the semi burnt rubbish which had been left behind, the empty bottles, the broken bottles and beercans, the place was a mess.

    If you want to stay warm use a folding firebox, carry a small stove and use warm kit. Rather that than get caught and pay the fine, even if you don't get caught, it doesn't make it right, it just means you didn't get caught.
     
  10. John Fenna

    John Fenna Lifetime Member & Maker

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    Keeping warm without a fire?
    How good a friend is your friend?
    The old survival classic of shared body heat is always a good method of staying warm - with the right kind of friend at least........;) :naughty:
     
  11. leon-1

    leon-1 Mod
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    Lucy as far as use of woodland is concerned to be honest I don't think there is anything much left, initially it wasn't too bad but year after year it changes / decreases for the reasons stated above. As with anything else the few can right royally ruin it for the rest of us.
     
  12. Dave Budd

    Dave Budd Gold Trader
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    How does Forrestry Commission land stand as far as camping goes? There are lots of plantations in my part of Dartmoor that have rights of way all through them. I certainly know of people who have camped out in parts of them but I don't know if they were suposed to be there?
     
  13. Lucyc

    Lucyc Forager

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    Ha ha well she'll be with her boyfriend and I'm pretty sure I don't want to be in the same tent as them.. :S!

    I do understand the reasons for no fires, and I accept that they are good reasons, but it doesn't make it not a shame that we can't have them! I have no intention of doing it anyway, don't worry!

    As for woodland, there's a spot next to a bouldering tor which seems to have a small wooded area which would do, but are natural shelters allowed?

    Thanks, Lucy
     
  14. UKHaiku

    UKHaiku Forager

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    Hi Lucy,
    I'd guess it depends what you're thinking about as far as a natural shelter goes. I guess some form of shelter that doesn't involve chopping anything down might be acceptable..? (i.e. it's not a survival situation..). Might be better with a tarp and bivi bag or hammock...?
     
  15. spamel

    spamel Banned

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    Natural shelters can be very comfy and very warm, but the effort involved normally outweighs the work. For instance, it took me and a mate a few hours to make a simple two man shelter, and we were right up next to each other shoulder to shoulder. It was a very warm nights kip though, but we were soaked and grubby after finishing as we made it around autumn/winter as I recall.

    It blended in well, didn't need a fire and kept most of the rain out.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. littlebiglane

    littlebiglane New Member

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    Lucy,

    I spend at least a month a year on the Moor wild camping - as it is just outside my front door.

    A good tent and sleeping bag (and warm clothing) should do you for this time of year on the Moor. If you use a tarp you have to be quite experienced in set-up - otherwise the wind may pick up and either blow it away or drive rain straight onto you.

    No fires are a shame. Although nearly getting caught in a blaze that consumed nearly 10sq kms last year made me realise why people should not light fires. If you want to use a natural heat source / cooking then you'll have to buy something like a bushbuddy.

    Bouldering is alright on Dartmoor - but the type of granite is not quite as abrasive as you might expect. In fact it can be damn slippery even with rock-shoes on.

    If you wish to camp and climb then I would recommend camping in the lee of a tor and climbing it. I can make some suggestions of good sites.

    Fur Tor - nice and remote - good bouldering http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=258755&Y=83025&A=Y&Z=3

    Combeshead Tor - less remote but easy access. Has a sizeable cave/overhang 25 metres s/e of main Tor that is good for natural shelter. Good bouldering

    http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=258780&Y=68800&A=Y&Z=3




    If you use either of these can you let us know if you have done so. And could you look after these sites. Same goes for everyone else people.
     
  17. Lucyc

    Lucyc Forager

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    Hmm, I may just use a tarp then.
    Thanks for the suggestions littlebiglane, I'll have a look at them - do you know if there are any trees nearby where I could set up a tarp? Don't worry, I've used them before when it's been raining heavily - I actually managed to be the only person out of about 50 not to get wet at all one night, bar a couple.. But then they were trying some pretty stupid stuff like poppering two together so the rain dripped through the seam.. I might even buy a hammock and see what that's like, looks more comfy that sleeping on the floor with the tarp straight above you..
     
  18. littlebiglane

    littlebiglane New Member

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    South/West of Combeshead Tor is a load of wood. You could get lost in those (not that its allowed) :naughty:

    Use two sticks/poles and erect it without using trees. I often do that on the moor. Or try lashing a tarp to one of the outcrops on the tors. Plenty of boulders to camp in the lee of.
     
  19. Lucyc

    Lucyc Forager

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    Heh heh.. Well rather than camping illegally, how's Hound Tor for bouldering? Because onone side of it there's a good amount of woodland, and from the Dartmoor website map it is almost certainly an ok-to-camp area. Is that near any other decent bouldering tors? Although I guess it's near the road so we could always drive closer to a new spot afterwards.. The one thing that bothers me about it is that I've heard it's quite a popular place?
     
  20. Nightwalker

    Nightwalker Native

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