Members of Dartmoor National Park Authority have agreed to appeal a High Court ruling which concluded there was no legal right to backpack camp on common land without landowner permission.

At their meeting today (April 14) authority members unanimously agreed to go ahead with legal action after the Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal the High Court judgment in the case of Darwall vs Dartmoor National Park Authority.

Speaking after the meeting, Dartmoor National Park Authority chief executive Dr Kevin Bishop said: “The decision to appeal the High Court judgment, which concerns the legal meaning of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985, raises important issues of public interest that are central to the purpose of our national parks.

“While we proceed with our case, we remain committed to working with landowners and partners to ensure people enjoy Dartmoor, respect that it’s a privately owned landscape, and that they leave no trace of their visit.

“We’re grateful to the landowners who, after the High Court judgment, moved quickly to grant permission for people to backpack camp on their land.”

Backpack campers are able to access nearly 52,000 acres of common land across the national park giving them the opportunity to experience backpack camping, provided they leave no trace of their visit. Those planning an overnight stay in a small tent should follow the code of conduct and ensure they are only staying in areas where backpack camping is allowed.