THE CAMPAIGN to overturn a legal ruling which has banned wild campers unless given permission has been boosted.

Firstly, Tavistock Town Council has agreed to lobby Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) politicians over the issue of wild camping rights.

Secondly, the Dartmoor Preservation Society, created a JustGiving fundraiser to support the legal costs which has raised nearly £11,000 in just over a week.

Cllr Pete Squire, of Tavistock Town Council, has been supported in passing a motion he submitted, demonstrating backing for DNPA in its campaign to over turn the High Court legal ruling which now says the public does not have the right to camp on Dartmoor without permission of landowners.

The motion reads: ‘Tavistock Town Council joins with thousands of Devon residents shocked and appalled by the effective ban on wild camping on Dartmoor arising from a recent court decision.

‘This council supports Dartmoor National Park in its rightful and spirited defence of wild camping, a right enjoyed by generations of local people and visitors.

‘This council condemns the loss of this right and calls on the government to reinstate wild camping and protect the rights of people to fully enjoy Dartmoor.’

The council also agreed to ask the DNPA CEO to write in the ‘strongest terms’ to MPs and the relevant secretaries of state and the Prime Minister, urging them to restore the right to wild camp on Dartmoor.

Meanwhile, the DPA wants to raise £200k by October. Tom Usher, CEO of the DPA, based in Princetown, said: ‘The appeal has gone very well, the public have responded fantastically.

‘We have £11k from 430 people in just six days, including a couple of £250 donations.

‘We are determined to support the national park in its appeal, access to nature is a right, not something granted by permission. Leave-no-trace backpack camping is a wonderful experience. Events like Ten Tors and DoE establish a life-long love of adventure in young people that is being threatened by this ban.

‘We fear this judgement is the beginning of a permission-based system on Dartmoor. It has set a precedent for permission being required of other activities in the future; launching kayaks, commercial walking groups and other sole-trader businesses that rely on tourism and free access.’

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