The Dartmoor marshals, now in their fourth summer, are on patrol to support the work of the national park’s rangers.
The additional boots on the ground, in place until September, will provide high-visibility reassurance to people who live and work in the national park as well as people visiting the moor – whether it’s a first holiday or a regular recreational day out.
The deployment of marshals is thanks to funding from partners including landowners, the National Trust, Woodland Trust, Okehampton Hamlets Parish Council, Forestry England and the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez on behalf of the Dartmoor Rural Crime Partnership.
One of the statutory purposes of Dartmoor National Park Authority is to promote people’s understanding and enjoyment of the national park’s special qualities and the ranger team play a key role in doing this as they meet with a range of people daily.
Rangers already patrol seven days a week and carry out a wide range of duties including running events and volunteer work parties, clearing vegetation and repairing rights of way and assisting emergency services.
However, patrolling the 368 square miles of the National Park containing some of Britain’s wildest spaces, is challenging particularly in ensuring there is an evening presence.
Dartmoor deputy head ranger Ella Briens said: “As the eyes and ears on the ground, we spend lots of time encouraging people to enjoy and appreciate Dartmoor, whether that’s highlighting the dangers of disposable barbecues and open fires, offering directions, or explaining our byelaws.
“Unfortunately, some people don’t look after Dartmoor, and this causes problems for others including farmers, residents, businesses, and the protected landscape. We still see incidents of littering, cars blocking gates and barbecues scorching the ground. We must all do our bit to protect Dartmoor.
“The marshals are providing additional help throughout the busy summer holidays to deal with some of the issues we face so Dartmoor remains special for everyone.”
Marshals were first introduced in summer 2020 and have proved to be valuable in supporting ranger patrols into the evening by combatting anti-social behaviour and encouraging people to look after the national park by respecting the byelaws, particularly those around camping, open fires/barbecues and taking litter home.
Helping people to enjoy and look after Dartmoor is supported authority-wide by all staff including voluntary wardens, engagement volunteers, outreach and engagement teams and information advisors in the visitor centres at Haytor, Postbridge and Princetown.