Wild camping is once again allowed on Dartmoor after the national park won a successful appeal against a ruling in a case brought by a wealthy landowner.

Camping had been assumed to be allowed under the Dartmoor Commons Act since 1985, until a judge ruled otherwise in January. It was the only place in England such an activity was allowed without requiring permission from a landowner.

The case hinged on whether wild camping counted as open-air recreation, leading to a long debate in the appeals court. Lawyers acting for Alexander Darwall, the landowner, argued it was not, because when camping one was only sleeping rather than enjoying a particular activity.

Lawyers for the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) and Open Spaces Society argued that backpack camping was an ancient tradition and popular pastime on Dartmoor, and gazing at the stars before waking to the sound of the morning chorus was certainly open-air recreation.

On Monday, the appeals court panel, consisting of Sir Geoffrey Vos, Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Newey, ruled that wild camping counted as open-air recreation and should therefore be allowed on the commons.

Vos said: “In my judgment, on its true construction, section 10 (1) of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 confers on members of the public the right to rest or sleep on the Dartmoor commons, whether by day or night and whether in a tent or otherwise.”

He said a walker who lay down for a rest without pitching a tent would be present for the purpose of open-air recreation. It was the same if that walker fell asleep. It made no difference if the walker rested or slept on a plastic sheet to prevent the damp, or in a sleeping bag to protect from the cold, or under a tarpaulin or in an open tent or in a closed tent to protect from the rain. The fact that a tent was closed rather than open could not convert the wild camping from being an open-air recreation to not being one.

Underhill said it was “a perfectly natural use of language to describe that as a recreation, and also as occurring in the open air, notwithstanding that while the camper is actually in the tent the outside air will be to some extent excluded”.

Darwall, a hedge fund manager and Dartmoor’s sixth-largest landowner, bought the 1,619-hectare (4,000-acre) Blachford estate on southern Dartmoor in 2013. He offers pheasant shoots, deerstalking and holiday rentals on his land, and has been using the legal system to try to bar wild campers from using the estate without his permission.

Camping near Fernworthy forest on Dartmoor.
Camping near Fernworthy forest on Dartmoor. Photograph: John Ryan/Alamy

Previously, Sir Julian Flaux, the chancellor of the high court, ruled that the meaning of the legislation was “clear and unambiguous” in that it conferred a “right to roam” that did not include “a right to wild camp without permission”. However, the appeals court noted that the Dartmoor Commons Act did not mention a “right to roam” but a right to “open-air recreation” if one entered the common on foot or horseback.

Lawyers for the DNPA appealed against the high court decision, arguing it hinged on a narrow definition of open-air recreation, where only activities such as walking, horse riding and picnicking were permitted. This could rule out activities such as bird-watching, landscape painting or stargazing, they argued. They also said it failed to take into account the historical understanding of the law, which many people, including the park authority, understood to mean a right to camp and leave no trace. The court granted it the right to appeal on this basis.

A spokesperson for the Darwall family said: “‘We are disappointed by this judgment. This case highlights the many and increasing challenges we face in trying to protect the fragile environment on Dartmoor. Our mission was to conserve this special place. It is regrettable that our role as custodians is greatly diminished.”

Kate Ashbrook, the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: “This is an excellent outcome. We are relieved that the judges ruled unanimously and conclusively that open-air recreation includes backpack camping on the commons. We should like to see that right extended, and we shall campaign with other organisations to achieve this.”

Lewis Winks, a campaigner with The Stars Are for Everyone, said: “A permission is not the same as a right – and today the court has seen sense and re-established people’s right to camp without needing permission in Dartmoor national park. Fundamentally, this means that access to a night under the stars on one of the UK’s most iconic landscapes now does not rely on the whims of individual landowners but is owned by ordinary people. We hope this will now serve as a blueprint for other places to follow suit.”

‘This is a ransom note’: the battle for wild camping on Dartmoor – video

Man succeeds in killing his wife after first attempt to poison her failed

A Ghanaian man identified simply as Abeiku is reportedly on the run after killing his wife following a misunderstanding they had. 


Local publications reported that the man killed his wife in the Eastern Region of Ghana, after his first attempt to poison her failed. 


It was gathered that Abeiku had attempted to poison his wife’s food which failed after she found out and refused to touch the food.


As the days went by, their misunderstanding escalated with the man threatening to end her life. 


Starr FM reported that the woman went to live with her mother in Begoro area of the same region after the marriage which produced two children failed. 


She was however killed after reconciling with her husband and moving back to her matrimonial home. 


Commenting on the death of the lady, her uncle, Wofa Kwasi said he intervened when the couple’s disagreement grew worse in the days leading to Christmas.


He said; 


“The suspect and the now-deceased wife came to me with some sort of misunderstanding, and I listened to both of them.” The wife claimed that her husband had been threatening to kill him and then kill himself.”

“I was upset and decided to let them be apart for a year in order to settle the issue and bring about harmony, but the woman left for her mother’s house for Christmas. I waited for them to come back so that I could make a decision, only to learn that the woman came back yesterday and was killed this morning.”


A manhunt has now been launched by the police for the suspect who is a commercial driver that travels between Koforidua and Kasoa.

Elon Musk vows to delete fake accounts or

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has promised to  eliminate spam bots or fake robotic accounts from Twitter if his bid to buy Social media platform, Twitter succeeds so that only real humans can use the platform.


Musk who is the world’s richest man who is also CEO of Tesla and Space X last week offered to buy Twitter claiming he would restore freedom of expression on the micro blogging platform.

“If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying,” Musk tweeted Thursday night, April 21. He added, “And authenticate all real humans.” 


Elon Musk vows to delete fake accounts or

The Tesla Inc CEO had previously expressed his deep concerns regarding crypto bots putting up scam posts on Twitter to dupe investors.


At a TED Talk on April 14, Musk said, “If I had a Dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, we’d have 100 billion Dogecoin.” 


“A top priority I would have is eliminating the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter,” Musk added.


He also said that he was considering going directly through Twitter shareholders to buy the social network and has since announced that he has secured nearly $46.5 billion to finance the takeover. 


Pin It