How might England take back its moors?

Standing stones created a circle in the moors grass beneath Belstone Tor, a prominent hill capped with granite rock formations. A curse will be brought upon anyone who moves the stones, according to some who claim the stones. Were formerly maidens who petrified into rocks while dancing on the Sabbath.

The “Nine Maidens” really represent a Bronze Age burial chamber, one of the innumerable historic monuments tucked. Away throughout the 368 square miles of moorland, valleys, and woodlands that make up Dartmoor National Park.


I ascended Belstone Tor, which is 479 meters above sea level, by following a faded trail. That had been carved into the earth over thousands of years and dodging stacks of granite rocks.

The wide moorland I observed rolling south, devoid of field boundaries and fences, has long offered a natural sanctuary. For outdoor enthusiasts in a country where there is no right to wander throughout 92% of the countryside.

The only place in England where “backpack camping” (wild camping without needing to ask the landowner’s permission). Was permitted for decades was Dartmoor National Park, which is situated in the south-western county of Devon. However, a contentious High Court decision issued in January 2023 threatened to outlaw this custom.

This spurred a national discussion on public access to the English countryside, and protests were held on the moors by hikers, mountain bikers, nature enthusiasts, climbers, and horseback riders. The historic ruling was overturned in July, making backpacking permitted once more in the national park.

There are hardly any large areas in Southern England where one could genuinely get lost. According to Inga Page, who described Dartmoor National Park’s appeal, visitors are drawn to the area because of its tors, ponies, steep valleys, and miles of undulating moorland. It is much more than just a picturesque landscape because of the gloomy aspect, which includes the bogs, the fog, and the prison.

Page, a lifetime walker and environmental activist, founded the tour firm Dartmoor Walks This Way in 2008 and has spent the following ten years guiding walks on Dartmoor.

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