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Activists flock to Dartmoor

wild camping

Wildcamping on Dartmoor

The Prince of Wales became the largest private landholder in Dartmoor National Park when he inherited the Duchy of Cornwall from his father King Charles. Prince William now owns approximately a third of the national park, almost 70,000 acres.

Campaigners are now urging Prince William to rewild significant portions of his holdings, which are currently mainly used for grazing and more intensive farming. Around 200 protesters chanted, “Make it wild or make it ours,” as they marched to South Hessary Tor on the moor on 30 September, before laying down a symbolic wicker gauntlet outside the offices of the Duchy in Princetown, Devon.

Author and land campaigner Guy Shrubsole, who has previously described the Duchy as a “medieval anachronism”, said that the remnants of temperate rainforest on Dartmoor should be nurtured back to greater prevalence.

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, told ST: “The Duchy of Cornwall appears to have ambitious plans in place to enhance biodiversity and mitigate climate change, in addition to the good work that they have already been doing for many years. Rewilding may cause the loss of rare and threatened moorland habitats and species adapted to open landscapes. Campaigners should ensure their demands are truly about enhancing ecosystem services for society, nature and the climate.”

Tom Orde-Powlett, vice chairman of the Moorland Association, followed up: “The Duchy of Cornwall has invested significant time and effort in curlew conservation, including habitat management and predator control. There seems to be a very clear vision for social, environmental and economic sustainability.”

This story first appeared in Shooting Times, Britain’s oldest and best-selling shooting magazine. Published every Wednesday, the 141-year-old title has long been at the coalface of the countryside, breaking the stories that matter to you. Subscribe here.