On your visit to Dartmoor you may see some of our Rangers - they are the eyes and ears of the National Park on the ground and they work closely with other partners, including the police, to look after Dartmoor. Each Ranger has their own area of Dartmoor to look after, usually with the help of Voluntary Wardens. One of their most important duties is communicationg with local residents and visitors about the work we do - and they also help run the Ranger Ralph's Children's Club.
Under a delegation agreement with Devon County Council (external site, opens new window) we have an ongoing commitment to maintain 753 public rights of way routes (footpaths and bridleways) totalling some 724 kilometres in length within the National Park. This work involves erecting signs, building stiles, bridges and gates, clearing vegetation, waymarking and creating sustainable path surfaces. We regularly use volunteer groups and local contractors in the delivery of this extensive work.
The open common land of Dartmoor is actually privately owned by various organisations and individuals. The 1985 Dartmoor Commons Act gave the public a legal right of access onto this land on foot and horseback only. Rangers regularly patrol this land checking on public behaviour, monitoring agreed large scale recreational events and surveying the effects of any concentrated use.
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (external site, opens new window) gave the Police, District Councils and other statutory agencies a remit to work in partnership on initiatives and strategies to tackle certain elements of anti social behaviour. From a National Park perspective Rangers are involved with Community Safety Partnership schemes which particularly focus on car crime, fly tipping and abandoned vehicles on Dartmoor.
Now that Environmentally Sensitive Area agreements cover most of the Dartmoor Commons, landowners' and commoners' attention has been recently focussed on using controlled and legal burning, known as swaling, as a management tool for both agriculture and conservation reasons. Increasingly Rangers are involved practically alongside commoners and representatives from other agencies, sharing new techniques and good practice.