Guidance for event organisers

Guidance for event organisers

We welcome responsibly organised events in the protected landscape but we also want to ensure that any negative impacts to local communities, the landscape and wildlife are minimised.

Event timings

  • The Authority will not normally support events on Bank Holiday weekends to avoid congestion and conflict with other users.
  • The moorland lambing and main bird breeding season is 1st March – 31st July. This is when animals and ground nesting birds are most prone to disturbance. During this season we will not normally support events involving more than 50 people on foot or 30 horses or cyclists unless wholly confined to existing paths and tracks.

The National Park is also home to rare ground nesting birds, routes through their nesting sites will not be supported during the bird breeding season. Please check our maps of bird nesting areas

Route Marking

Types of Markers

The National Park is working, grazed landscape, the reduce the risk to livestock and wildlife, the Authority will not support events that use

  • Plastic tape
  • Wire surveyor flags, or other types of wire markers

All route markers should be made from biodegradable material. We suggest the use of small bamboo canes. Event signage should be identifiable to your business/organisation or the event taking place. The type of marker being used must be clearly explained in within your event notification form.

Marking your route

You cannot rely on your access  rights for the placing of route markers. As an event organiser, you are responsible for securing all landowner permissions for the placing of route markers.

  • Route markers must not be placed on the route any more than 24hours in advance of the event to reduce the risk of being knocked  over by livestock of being removed
  • Route markers must be kept to a minimum and only used in key locations where it is not possible to use marshals
  • Consider making routes self navigation to reduce the amount of signage required
  • Route markers must not damage ay existing infrastructure and must not obscure any existing signage
  • All route markers and associated event signage must be removed promptly once the event has finished and left out no longer than 24 hours after the end of the event
  • Please ensure that your event team has the capacity to place and remove event signage with the time frames above. We suggest that you use sweepers behind the last participant to remove markers on the day of the event, this will help avoid any issues

Conservation of Wildlife and Cultural Heritage

Some of the areas where you might want to hold your event within the National Park have conservation designations, these include:

  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

We will inform you if your event passes through a designated site and participants must be briefed on the sensitivity of the sites they are using.

Dartmoor is also rich in archaeological heritage and care must be taken not to damage the large number of historical and archaeological sites within the National Park. We will inform you if a route needs changing to avoid a sensitive site

Erosion Sites

Some of the paths and public rights of way within the National Park are heavily used and suffer from erosion.

When planning your route please look at the erosion map and avoid routes that are damaged. We will not normally support events where routes follow already eroded paths. Large numbers of people passing over already damaged sites will further increase the damage.

Check the erosion map

If any of your routes pass through sensitive sites or areas will advise you accordingly.

Public Access and Landownership

Although Dartmoor is a National Park offering large areas of public access, much of the land is privately owned and/or registered common land over which many local farmers have rights, particularly for grazing and these interests must be respected.

If your event route passes directly through or in front of a farm yard or property, please ensure that you have discussed the event with farmers and/or local residents.

Other points to note

  • Ensure that all participants adhere to the National Park Byelaws and the Countryside Code throughout the event.
  • Vehicular access to off-road checkpoints is prohibited unless authorised in writing.
  • Ensure that any refreshments provided are available to event participants only.
  • Use local services and suppliers where possible.
  • Moorland vegetation can be dry at any time of year, however the risk of fire can increase during extended period of dry weather. Moorland fires are devastating to wildlife and habitats, fire risk should be considered in your event management plan.