Move to restrict where people can sleep under canvas will reverse the public’s hard-won right to enjoy the national park
Shamus McCaffery, 53, who lives in the heart of Dartmoor and wild camps there three or four times a month, is among many who are worried about an imminent threat to their freedoms.
Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) has launched a consultation on new bylaws that could reduce the areas where people can legally wild camp in England and Wales by 2,400 hectares, as well as ban activities involving more than 50 people without the agreement of landowners. People caught by the moor’s rangers camping in the wrong spot or gathering in large groups without permission could be fined £500. “Our hard-won freedoms to spend nights on the moor surrounded by nature are at risk,” said McCaffery. “This will criminalise law-abiding users of the countryside.”