DARTMOOR ACCESS FORUM
Tuesday 2 June 2009
Present: Jonathan Aylett, Mark Bailey, Simon Booty, Claire Boughey, Kevin Chamberlain,
Elizabeth Kitson, Bill Lane, Brian Poole, Joanna Radford, Bill Robertson, Patrick
Watson, Sam Whittlesea
Bill Allen (DNPA Sector Ranger), Anna Baness (DNPA Access Officer), Rob
Steemson (DNPA Head of Rangers, Recreation and Estates), Andrew Watson
(DNPA Principal Officer for Rangers and Access) Sue Bishop (DAF Secretary)
Also present: Tony Gould, Colin Jones (Natural England)
Apologies: Philip French, Sharon Gedye, Peter Harper, John Howell,
Patrick Watson welcomed those present, and asked for a moment of reflection to remember
Rosemary Mudge, a former member of the Forum who died recently. The Secretary was also
asked to write a letter of condolence to Mr Mudge and his family.
248) Feedback from morning site visits
i) Members of the Forum thought that the new Haytor Visitor Centre fits in well with
the surroundings, and that the people counters were very discreet and should
provide useful information.
ii) Members felt that it had been very useful having Tony Gould with his tramper
present, as he could demonstrate the capabilities of the vehicle.
iii) There was mixed reaction to the audio trail, some members felt that it was very
good and would try it out again, others thought that the commentary detracted from
the experience of hearing the moorland sounds. Andrew Watson reported that the
DNPA website had received 279 hits on the audio trail in the two weeks from 18
iv) Tony Gould told members that a number of things can act as barriers to access,
o deep grooves worn in tracks by cyclists,
o erosion around boulders, leaving them too high for the tramper to negotiate,
o self closing gates and certain types of latches can be difficult, and there
needs to be enough space around the gate to enable manoeuvring,
o camber and width of the track can also be an issue.
Tony Gould and Bill Allen were thanked for their attendance before they left the meeting.
249) Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 March 2009
i) Agreed for signing by Chairman.
250) Declarations of Interest
i) None on matters to be discussed.
251) Maximising Access and understanding for all sectors of society
i) DNPA has set a target to develop, improve and market 20 kilometres of routes for
people with special needs. Kevin Chamberlain asked if there was any money
available for this wide ranging project. Andrew Watson confirmed that the grant
from Devon County Council for maintaining public rights of way has been increased
by 50% and that improvements could be funded as part of the ongoing
maintenance of routes.
ii) Joanna Radford asked if the intention was to develop existing routes and make
bridleways easier to use for the disabled, routes should be easy for all users not
just one targeted type of user which could be detrimental for other users.
iii) New routes could also be created through access agreements.
iv) Sam Whittlesea pointed out that drainage ditches along the route from Princetown
to Nuns Cross make it difficult for users. Rob Steemson confirmed that this route is
a high priority and site meetings to discuss improvements have already taken
v) DNPA will be looking at its own assets and making sure that there is money
available to address any issues. Bill Robertson is concerned that a large amount of
money spent on improving access for disabled users means that less money is
available for maintaining routes for other users, however Andrew Watson stated
that improvements for disabled use generally benefit all users.
vi) Elizabeth Kitson is concerned that Dartmoor does not develop into a theme park, it
should be accepted that some users may find it difficult to access some areas,
although reasonable adjustments should be made where possible.
vii) Kevin Chamberlain stated that the target should not be considered in isolation,
needs of local communities should be taken in to account by improving local paths
before those on the high moor.
viii)Anna Baness talked about an aspiration for a circular disabled use route form
Princetown to Burrator and back via Nuns Cross. The road crossing at Peek Hill is
an issue, improvements in the area are complicated by the number of landowners.
There is also an intention to look at the tracks around Okehampton Camp.
ix) Andrew Watson asked members to forward any ideas they may have for
252) PRoW Update
i) A public enquiry into the proposed PRoW changes at Lower Lowton will be held
over 2 days in November.
ii) The temporary closure at Shipley Bridge is ongoing, work has been agreed
however there is no agreement as to who should meet the cost of the work.
iii) Lydford 41, new owners are turning horse riders away from this footpath which has
been customarily used by local riders for many years. Evidence is being gathered
to submit to DCC in support of a claim for an upgrade of the route.
iv) Discussion regarding the diversion of the bridleway over Fox Tor mire are being
reopened. Informal consultation will be conducted with user groups.
v) DCC have decided that there is enough evidence to create routes at Vixen Tor,
which will link to existing rights of way. Consultation will be carried out when the
orders are made.
253) Action for Access
i) DNPA held a meeting with Natural England. A project will be established to scope
out the potential for improving or increasing access through HLS scheme
ii) Colin Jones stated that the process for access improvement is not as complicated
as the HLS scheme.
254) Performance Indicators
i) Survey forms for the rights of way have been changed, partly as a result of
comments in the ranger review.
ii) Random surveys will be carried out in May and November to give a 10% sample.
255) Current consultations
i) Members discussed the Natural England consultation on Guidance to Relevant
Authorities. Members agreed that it was an issue on which DAF should have a say,
and a sub group was established to consider the response. All members were
asked to look at the consultation (which is available on line) and forward any
comments to the Secretary by Friday 26 June. The sub group will meet at Parke on
2 July, at 9.30. members of the sub group are Patrick Watson, Clare Boughey,
Joanna Radford, Simon Booty and Sam Whittlesea.
Further meetings in 2009 will be held on –
Tuesday 1 September, Tuesday 1 December