Dartmoor National Park is a fabulous place to visit, but visitors should take the time to become familiar with the byelaws that help preserve and protect this important area, for their own sake, and for the sake of the national park and all within it. Please refer to the information below.
National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act, 1949
Dartmoor Commons Act, 1985
BYELAWS made under Section 90 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and Section 11 of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 by DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL acting as Dartmoor National Park Authority with respect to access land within the Dartmoor National Park.
In the construction of these byelaws “the Authority” means Devon County Council acting in its capacity as Dartmoor National Park Authority and “access land” shall be all that land:
(i) defined as “the commons” in Section 2 of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 and
(i) land within the Dartmoor National Park to which the public has access by virtue of the Authority having an interest in that land and which is more particularly identified in Schedule 1 to these byelaws.
2 Extent of Byelaws
Nothing in these byelaws shall apply to:
(i) any act done in pursuance of the exercise of any right of common; or
(i) the owner of any part of the access land as respects any act done on that part by him or by any person acting with his consent (and the consent of the Authority where necessary to accord with byelaws 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19).
No person shall without reasonable excuse ride or drive a cycle, motor cycle, motor vehicle or any other mechanically propelled vehicle on any part of the access land where there is no right of way for that class of vehicle.
The right to park a vehicle within 13.75 metres of a road contained in Section 34 Road Traffic Act
1988 shall not apply to those verges where the Authority has erected signs indicating that parking off the highway at those points is prohibited.
This byelaw shall not extend to invalid carriages.
If the Authority has set apart a space on the access land for use by vehicles of any class, this byelaw shall not prevent the riding or driving of those vehicles in the space so set apart, or on a direct route between it and the public road.
In this byelaw:
“cycle” means bicycle, a tricycle or a cycle having four or more wheels not being in any case a motor cycle or motor vehicle;
“invalid carriage” means a vehicle, whether mechanically propelled or not, the unladen weight of which does not exceed 150 kilograms, the width of which does not exceed 0.85 metres and which has been constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of one person being a person suffering from some physical defect or disability and is used solely by such a person;
“motor cycle” means a mechanically propelled vehicle not being an invalid carriage with fewer than four wheels and the weight of which unladen does not exceed 410 kilograms;
“motor vehicle” means a mechanically propelled vehicle not being an invalid carriage intended or adapted for use on roads.
No person shall without reasonable excuse park or knowingly cause to remain on the access land a caravan or trailer unattached to a towing vehicle, except on any area which is set apart and indicated by notice as a place where the parking of such caravans or trailers is permitted.
5 Repairs of Vehicles
No person shall clean, paint or carry out repairs on any vehicle parked on the access land except in the event of an accident, breakdown or other emergency.
No person shall knowingly use any vehicle, including a caravan or any structure other than a tent for the purpose of camping on the access land or land set out for the use or parking of vehicles except on any area which may be set apart and indicated by notice as a place where such camping is permitted.
No person shall knowingly erect a tent on the access land for the purpose of camping:
(a) in any area listed in Schedule 2 to these byelaws;
(b)within 100 metres of any public road or in any enclosure.
No person shall camp in a tent on the same site on the access land for more than two consecutive nights, except on any area which may be set apart and indicated by notice as a place where such camping is permitted.
No person shall knowingly cause or permit the flow of any watercourse, leat or drain on the access land to be obstructed or diverted or interfere with any sluicegate or similar apparatus on the access land.
No person shall light a fire on the access land, or place or throw or let fall a lighted match or any other thing so as to be likely to cause a fire. This byelaw shall not prevent the lighting or use in such a manner as not to cause danger of or damage by fire of a properly constructed camping stove or cooker.
Every person in charge of a dog on the access land shall as far as is reasonably practicable keep the dog under close control and restrain the dog from behaviour giving reasonable grounds for annoyance.
Every person in charge of a dog on the access land shall, as far as is reasonably practicable, comply with a direction given by a Ranger or other officer of the Authority to keep the dog on a lead.
A direction under paragraph 2 above may only be given if such restraint is reasonably necessary to prevent a nuisance or behaviour by the dog likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to any person on the access land or the worrying or disturbance of any animal or bird.
10 Feeding of Animals
No person on the access land shall feed or permit to be fed any animal lawfully grazed upon the land.
Notice of the effect of this byelaw shall be given by signs placed in such positions as the Authority may consider adequate to inform persons on the access land.
No person shall ride, train or exercise racehorses on an area of access land where the Authority has given a direction to the owner, trainer or rider of those racehorses that that area is not to be used for that purpose.
12 Protection of Wildlife
No person shall without lawful excuse or authority on the access land, kill, molest or intentionally disturb any animal or engage in hunting, shooting or fishing or the setting of traps or nets or the laying of snares.
13 Firearms and Projectiles
No person shall:
discharge on the access land without lawful authority any firearm, air weapon or crossbow;or
release any projectile or throw any missile on the access land to the danger of any other person or so as to give reasonable grounds for annoyance; or drive, chip or pitch a hard golf ball on any area of the access land listed in Schedule 2 to these byelaws down to and including Plasterdown or on any other area of access land so as to give reasonable grounds for annoyance.
14 Damage to Land
No person on the access land shall without reasonable excuse:
(a) climb any wall or fence on or enclosing the land;
(b) remove or displace any barrier, railing, post or seat, or any part of any erection or ornament, or any implement provided for use in the laying out or maintenance of the access land.
No person shall without reasonable excuse remove from or displace on the access land any soil, peat, dung or stones.
15 Metal Dectectors
No person shall on the access land use any device designed or adapted for detecting or locating any metal or mineral in the ground unless he is authorised to do so by the Authority.
16 Commercial Activities
No person shall on the access land offer for sale or let to hire any commodity or article, or offer any service for reward unless he is authorised to do so in pursuance of an agreement with the Authority and the owner of the land.
No person shall take off from or land upon the access land in an aircraft, helicopter, hang-glider or hot-air balloon (except in an emergency) unless he is authorised to do so by the Authority.
18 Kites and Model Aircraft
No person shall fly a kite or model glider from the access land in such a manner as to give reasonable cause for annoyance to any other person or in such a manner as is likely to startle or disturb stock on the land.
No person shall release any power-driven model aircraft for flight or control the flight of such an aircraft on or over the access land unless he is authorised to do so by the Authority.
For the purpose of this byelaw “model aircraft” means an aircraft which either weighs not more than 5 kilograms without its fuel or is for the time being exempted (as a model aircraft) from provisions of the Air Navigation Order and “power driven” means driven by the combustion of petrol vapour or other combustible vapour or other combustible substances or by one or more electric motors.
No person shall hold any show, concert, exhibition or other entertainment on the access land. Provided that this byelaw shall not apply to any show, concert, exhibition or other entertainment authorised by the Authority.
20 Music and Radios
No person shall play or operate or knowingly cause or permit to be played or operated any musical instrument, radio, television set, record or cassette player, amplifier or similar appliance in such a manner as to give reasonable cause for annoyance to another person on the access land.
No person shall on the access land:
(a) intentionally obstruct any Ranger or other officer of the Authority in the proper execution of his duties;
(b) intentionally obstruct any person carrying out an act which is necessary to the proper execution of any contract with the Authority;
(c) intentionally obstruct any other person in the proper use of the access land, or behave so as to give reasonable grounds for annoyance to other persons on the access land.
An act necessary to the proper execution of his duty on the access land by a Ranger or other officer of the Authority, or any act which is necessary to the proper execution of any contract with the Authority, shall not be an offence under these byelaws.
Every person who shall offend against the foregoing byelaws shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding LEVEL 2 ON THE STANDARD SCALE.
(as at 1 June 1998) Land within the Dartmoor National Park to which the public has access by virtue of Devon County Council having an interest on that land.
1 Land owned or occupied by Devon County Council
(a) Wray Cleave
(c) Casely Wood
(d) Whiddon Scrubbs
(e) Castor Copse
(f) Blackingstone Rock
(g) Postbridge - Information Centre Car Park and Picnic Area
(h) Meldon Reservoir Car Park
(i) Brentor Church Car Park
(j) Lydford Village Car Park
(k) Princetown Car Park
(l) North Hall Café, Widecombe Car Park
(m)Peartree Cross, Ashburton
(n) Steps Bridge Car Park
(o) Holne Bridge, Woodland
(p) Halstock Wood, Okehampton
(q) Huntingpark Wood
(r) Bakers Park
(s) Bullivers Way, Ashburton
(t) Sanduck Cross
(u) Lane End Car Park
(v) Willsworthy Car Park
(w) Leigh Moor Gate Car Park
(x) Yelverton Forecourt
2 Land subject to a Management/Access Agreement between the owner and Devon County Council
(a) Shaptor Woods
(b) Heltor Rocks
(c) Pepperdon Down
(d) Scorriton Down Track
(e) Dunnabridge Northern Newtake
(g) Tor Royal Newtake
(h) Holwell Lawn
(i) Spinster Rock, Drewsteignton
(j) Merrivale Newtake
(m) Teignhead Newtake
(n) Lower Halstock
(q) Swincombe Meet
(r) Hanger Down
(s) Steps Bridge
(u) Burrator Catchment
(v) Challacombe Farm
(w) Foxtor Newtake
(x) Great Stannon Newtake
(y) Langridge Newtake
(z) Lower Piles
(aa) South Down
(dd) Willsworthy Training Area
(ee) Lewdons, Moretonhampstead
(f) Brimpts Northern Wood
(hh) Brent Hill
(i) Crockern Tor Newtake
(j) Wooston Castle
(kk) Grendon Farm
(l) Knapp (prior permission)
(nn) Meldon Quarry
(oo) Shaugh Bridge
(pp) Standon Steps/Longtimber Tor
(qq) Sticklepath Moor
(r) Templer Way
Additional areas where camping is prohibited (identified by reference to the common land unit number recorded in the Register of Commons Land maintained by Devon County Council).
Spitchwick Common CL33
Haytor Down CL25
Roborough Down CL93
Lydford High Down All that part of CL64,
Lydford Inner Common, north and west of the River Lyd. Cadover Bridge All that part of CL190
Shaugh Prior Commons bounded by the road east of Cadover Bridge, the access road to Trowlesworthy Farm and the River Plym. Shaugh Bridge All that part of CL191
Meavy Commons comprising Shaugh Woods and Wigford Down
Whitchurch Down CL86
Plasterdown and CL210 Plasterdown Holne Moor CL153
Heathfield Down, Cornwood CL113
Firestone Common Part CL176 South Tawton Commons
Huckworthy Common CL48
Aish Ridge CL60
Coombe Down, Hookney Down & Headland Warren CL148
Please note: Schedules 1 and 2 describe the situation as at 1 June 1998. The Schedules are occasionally updated; please contact the Dartmoor National Park Authority for further information.
FOOTNOTE: Attention is directed to the following offences under the general law applicable to access land. The maximum penalty on summary conviction is stated in brackets.
1 Destroying or damaging property of another
Without lawful excuse destroying or damaging any property belonging to another person with intent of recklessness
(10 years imprisonment on indictment).
(S1(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971)
2 Driving motor vehicles on footpaths and bridleways
Driving a motor vehicle on such a highway without lawful authority (£400).
(S.34 Road Traffic Act 1988)
3 Driving motor vehicles elsewhere than on roads
Driving a motor vehicle without lawful authority onto or upon any common land, moorland or any land not forming part of a road unless the vehicle is being driven on land within fifteen yards of a road for the purposes only of parking or of saving life, extinguishing fire or meeting any other like emergency (£400).
(S.34 Road Traffic Act 1988)
Parking a heavy commercial vehicle wholly or partly on the verge of a road (£400).
(S.36 Road Traffic Act 1972)
Throwing down, dropping or depositing litter in, into or from any place in the open air to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access and leaving anything which may lead to defacement of the place by litter (£400).
(S.87 Environmental Protection Act 1990)
5 Unauthorised dumping
Abandoning on any land in the open air any motor vehicle or any other thing brought to the land for the purpose of abandoning it there (three months imprisonment and/or £1,000).
(S.2 Refuse Disposal (Amenities) Act 1978)
6 Livestock worrying
If any dog acts or chases livestock on agricultural land or is at large (not being on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep, the owner or person in charge of the dog may be fined up to £400 in respect of that dog.
(S.1 Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953)
(This provision was applied to the commons of Dartmoor by the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985)
7 Metal detectors
Using a metal detector in a protected place (the site of a scheduled monument or an area of archaeological importance without consent) (£400).
(S.42 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979)
8 Protection of wildlife
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes detailed provision for the protection of various species of animals, birds and plants. Maximum fines range from £400 to £1,000.