March for a wild Dartmoor! 30 September, Princetown, Devon

Saddle Tor, Dartmoor. Photo by Anthea Simmons

What follows is information from event organisers, Wild Card. There are details of a zoom to explore the strategy and plans for the day at the end of the article. Ed

Dartmoor is dying, its wildlife is declining and disappearing, and the time to do something is now.

Will you be a voice for nature?

Let’s march for a wild Dartmoor on Saturday September 30!

Most of the land on Dartmoor is owned by Prince William. We need the Prince to publicly commit to restore nature on his land.

So, on Saturday September 30, you are invited to gather together with thousands of local people to lay down the gauntlet to Prince William:

Make it wild or make it ours:
Restore nature on your land, or release it to public ownership.

And guess what… our efforts are starting to make a difference already!

This July, a petition with over 71,000 signatures (and counting), triggered a response. The Prince agreed to double the size of Wistman’s Wood! But…

…Wistman’s Wood accounts for just 0.01 per centof the Dartmoor land under Prince William’s control. In a climate and nature emergency, 0.01 per cent isn’t leadership – it’s just small potatoes.

With your help, we can encourage the Prince to show true leadership and commit to restoring nature on all his land.

What do we want?
We’re calling on the Prince to publicly commit to:

1. Restore the rainforest:
Regenerate Dartmoor’s temperate rainforests and other broadleaved woodland;

2 .Restore the bogs & heaths:
Restore and maintain Dartmoor’s internationally important blanket bogs, valley mires and heaths

3. Put life & colour back in the fields:
Restore Dartmoor’s meadows;

4. Bring back wild animals:
Reintroduce keystone species wherever possible (such as beavers, wildcats, and pine martens) and restore and increase the populations of key species (such as curlews and high brown fritillaries);

5. Pay farmers to produce nature as well as food:
Support farmers and other land managers on Dartmoor to produce nature as well as food, and leave the National Park better off than before.

Without a public commitment to take these steps to restore nature on his land, we ask that it be released into public ownership.

Why do we need to restore nature on Dartmoor?

Dartmoor’s nature has been dying for decades:

  • Almost all of its protected nature sites are in poor condition.
  • Dartmoor’s blanket bogs are drying out and the peat is eroding. They are losing their precious flowers and mosses.
  • The heathers and bilberry once so characteristic of Dartmoor are largely gone.
  • Its precious temperate rainforests are not regenerating.
  • We are losing species. Ring ouzel, curlew, lapwing have now largely disappeared as breeding birds on Dartmoor.
  • And despite millions of pounds of funding for restoration over three decades, nature continues to struggle and local farmers, who will be central to restoring nature, face an uncertain future.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Nature deserves better, and so do we.

Whilst some good work is being done, it’s vital that we redouble our efforts, and seriously level up our ambition.

Let’s celebrate nature with a day of:
~Music & dance
~Storytelling & performances
~Face painting & family fun
~Local mythology & folklore
~Talks from the scientists & local experts
~And much more!

We want the day to be inclusive, rewarding and enjoyable for everyone. We’ll add more information here and on our website for where and when to meet, what to bring and, crucially, what costume to plan!

Let us know you’re attending here.

Join our zoom call on August 23 to hear from local experts, get a feel for the day’s plans, and find ways you can help make it happen.

When: Aug 23, 2023 7 – 8 PM Online
Register in advance for this meeting:

💡 The thinking & strategy behind our demand
🌿 What does restoring nature to Dartmoor mean & why is it so necessary?
☀ Plans to make the day fun, inclusive & impactful!
🤝 We need YOUR ideas, skills & help to make it a success

Bring your friends, your local group or just a cup of tea… and meet us on zoom for 7pm.

You can sign the petition to Prince William here.

You can read a wide range of articles we’ve published by leading Dartmoor specialist and environmentalist, Tony Whitehead, here.