Wild Camping on Dartmoor: What’s Changed?
Dartmoor hit the headlines last year with the proposed changes to the Bylaws that govern how the national park is used. Some newspapers claimed wild camping in the area was to be banned. Others asserted that visiting Dartmoor was about to get a whole lot more difficult. The reality is a lot different. Dartmoor wild camping rules have hardly changed, they’re just a lot clearer than they were.
Is wild camping allowed on Dartmoor?
The short answer to this is yes, but you’ll need to take care. The size of wild camping tents is restricted to no more than 3 people and groups shouldn’t exceed 6 people. What’s more, tents need to be small enough to carry in a backpack. Camping in the same spot for more than two nights is not permitted.
Using a camper van or other kind of RV to wild camp isn’t allowed on Dartmoor. This isn’t a change to the rules – it’s always been the case.
If you like to get away to camp in your camper, a large tent, or with other families, camping grounds like ours are ideal. You can still enjoy the beauty of Dartmoor and have the benefit of clean facilities like our shower block and restaurant. Kids can be entertained in our playground without fear of them getting lost.
Can you camp anywhere on Dartmoor?
In short, no, you can’t camp anywhere on Dartmoor. The bylaws governing the use of the National Park forbid camping within sight or 100 metres of any road or building. The changes have also removed around 9 square miles of Dartmoor for any type of camping.
Wild camping around Little Staple Tor, Harford Moor Gate and the area below Four Winds is now not allowed. Some restricted areas are places that wild campers would be unlikely to want or need to camp anyway. The terrain around Avon Dam doesn’t lend itself well to pitching a tent and you’d be lucky to get a tent up around Black Tor either as the steep hillside is covered in rocks.
Wild camping isn’t the only way to explore Dartmoor. Many people visit the area each year, opting for a cosy cottage, camping ground or caravan site as a base. From there day trips to other parts of the moor or circular walks taking in spots of interest can easily be managed. Knowing you have a comfy bed and a hot shower or cold beer waiting after a day’s walking makes these kinds of holidays special.
Dartmoor is one of the UK’s most special wild spaces. You can learn more about the formation of the park and things to do when holidaying here in our blog.