The start of something interesting…

Recently we put up this post about a protest on Dartmoor in defence of the right to roam: Raise Old Crockern to Defend Dartmoor! 15.1.23. Those of you who follow this blog on a regular basis will be aware that the issue of land is very close to our hearts as we made clear in this post: Why the question of land is crucial to the future we want… 21.1.23.

The right to roam protest went ahead on Saturday 21st January and even those who called it were probably surprised at a turnout of over 3,000. Bear in mind that the protest location was on the fringes of Dartmoor, not easy to reach by public transport and it took place on a cold winter day. Taking those factors into consideration, that’s an impressive turnout.

It has been described by seasoned campaigners as one of the largest land rights protests in recent history. You’d have to go back to the 1980s and 1990s to find similar rural based protests about land rights. In what is a weird and increasingly dystopian political climate with an activist scene that’s pretty fragmented, the turnout on Dartmoor on Saturday 21st January was heartening.

Is is the start of something ‘interesting’? We’d like to think so. What’s interesting is the way the protest has made a direct challenge to the question of who owns the land, how did they acquire it and what has to be done to bring that land back into the commons so we all benefit from it. We and many others will be watching developments with interest.

Dartmoor protests: inside the battle over the right to roam – Siân Bradley | Huck | 26.1.23

The crowd cheered as the creature came over the hill. It was the Old Crockern, a mythical monster of folklore. The story goes that once, a rich man came down from the city to fence off farmland on the Moors. The locals were furious. It’s said that the ancient Pagan god appeared with a threat: “If he scratches my back, I’ll tear out his pocket.” The landowner didn’t listen, and the curse came to fruition. He spent all his money failing to farm the land, later retreating home completely bankrupt.

Dartmoor protest reawakens right to roam movement – Nina Pullman | Wicked Leeks | 24.1.23

Campaigners are building on a historic turnout against a ruling that would ban wild camping on Dartmoor by asking MPs to dramatically expand public access to green space across the UK.

People are being urged to sign and forward letters to their local MPs calling for them to support a new Right to Roam act to guarantee the right to wild camp and extend access.

Only eight per cent of the UK is currently accessible to the public under the Countryside & Rights of Way (CRoW) Act of 2000, something campaign group Right to Roam was set up to address.

The Dartmoor ruling is the wake-up call we all needed – Eliza Egret | The Canary | 23.1.23

More than 3,000 people marched on Dartmoor on Saturday 21 January in a show of defiance against a high court ruling which ended the right to wild camp on the moor. People travelled from all over the country to join one of the largest land rights protests in recent history.

Dartmoor had been the only location where wild camping was still legal in England. A case brought by hedge fund manager Alexander Darwall, who owns land on Dartmoor, overturned this right. Darwall deployed private security guards to surround the entrances of his home as protesters marched past. The crowd continued up onto Stall Moor, an area of Dartmoor owned by Darwall himself.

One comment

  1. […] Thousands of people turned out in south-west England on January 21, 2023, in reaction to the move by a wealthy hedge fund manager to limit public enjoyment of Dartmoor. This summary of reports comes from our friends at Grassroots Alternatives. […]


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