Wild Camping

Dartmoor Commons Wild Camping

On Friday 13 January 2023, the High Court declared that Section 10(1) of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 does not confer on the public any right to pitch tents or otherwise make camp overnight on the Dartmoor Commons.

Now, wild campers, require landowners’ permission to camp overnight, and landowners hold the right to remove campers from their land. This all started in June 2022 when Alexander Darwall, a wealthy landowner and hedge fund manager and his wife, Diana, mounted a legal challenge to the supposed right to wild camp on their 3,513-acre estate. They argued that some wild campers (a tiny minority) had been littering on the moor and disturbing livestock, against the ‘Leave No Trace’ ethos followed by most campers. And on Friday, the High Court ruled in favor of the Darwalls. For over 100 years, wild camping has been a much-loved activity on Dartmoor National Park in Southwest England, the act of sleeping outdoors. It is an activity that connects many with nature, including youth groups on Duke of Edinburgh or Ten Tors Challenges. An activity free of paperwork, exchanges of money or any worry about being asked to leave. And now there is nowhere in England or Wales where one can do that.

Chiara (LV)