Want to see a revival of nature on Dartmoor? Submit your views to the Dartmoor review!

Photo by Anthea Simmons

Nature is in decline on Dartmoor – like in most of our National Parks.

[Please see video in Twitter post below in which Guy talks to Tom Heap Media about how bad things are. Ed]

So the government’s Dartmoor review, underway now, could help turn things around – or make things even worse.

Here’s how you can input your views: 

To make it easy to submit your views to the Dartmoor review, here’s a template letter drafted by Tony Whitehead and me which you can download and customise:

Email your views to Dartmoorreview@defra.gov.uk by September 29.

You can find more information on the terms of reference for the Dartmoor review here.

And news of an update here, including the list of panel members.

The outline scope of the review includes:

  • consideration of recent trends in numbers and types of grazing animals on Dartmoor and the influence that this has had on its ecology;
  • a review of the existing ecological evidence base to consider the current management of SSSIs and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs);
  • consideration of any lessons to be learned from previous approaches;
  • recommendations as to the most effective grazing and management regime or regimes to deliver improvements on the protected sites;
  • advice on how to support the delivery of an effective grazing regime, consistent with meeting existing legally binding targets and statutory requirements; and
  • proposing options focusing on those sites that are currently not recovering or in favourable condition.

You can read up about the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project here.

Here is a map of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) on Dartmoor.

As you can see, most are in unfavourable condition (orange & yellow) and some are even declining (red). Overgrazing is the main cause of the declining conditions, impacting peat bog and dwarf shrub heath.

So what would an ecologically thriving Dartmoor look like?

Well here’s a great diagram made by Tony Whitehead summarising the habitat restoration we need:

And here is a map showing where those main priority habitats are found on Dartmoor (Natural England data):

Natural England data

 To get Dartmoor’s SSSIs back into favourable condition, and its rich habitats restored – from blanket bog to dwarf shrub heath to temperate rainforest – grazing needs to be much better managed, tougher targets set, and more funding and advice made available to land managers:

Please do your bit to help and respond to the review. Editor-in-chief.