The scene could hardly be more idyllic. A wide lawn beside a clear, meandering river. From the rock bridge down the stream, herons patrol the shallow areas, while deer, wild horses and cattle rode down the hillside in the early autumn sun to drink. Official dogs and camping make me happy humans make my head hurt shirt
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This location in Bellever in central Dartmoor is very different during the peak of summer, when hundreds of “flying camps” from across the UK pour in with tents, gazebo, music system, fairy lights and machines. Generator to enjoy the taste of post -lockdown freely.
They gather wood and set fire to fire, threatening the environment and precious bronze age archaeological sites. The thorny bushes scattered on the slopes were turned into makeshift toilets, and the woods became a shelter for rage. At one point, 60 groups crowded together on the banks of the River Devon.
“It was terrible,” said Simon Lee, the ranger team manager of the Dartmoor National Park. “This is a great place and I understand why people wanted to camp but they didn’t do it the right way. It was noisy and very messy. Rubbish everywhere, human excrement in thorns, more than 100 pits of fire dug in the earth.
A lot of work has been done to restore the site and ensure wildlife, including otters and salmon, are not affected in the long term. But look closely and the evidence of summer’s surplus persists. The scars of the fire pits were clear and debris – children’s flip flops, adult trainers, a plastic bag – occasionally drifted off the banks of the East Dart River.
Because of the Covid crisis, a large number of British people turned toward the countryside with their tents and barbecue, putting the flora and fauna in danger, not to mention the peace of the human population. Social media means hidden spots don’t stay long.
Dartmoor is a particular problem because it’s one of the few places in the UK that allows wild camping or backpacking in some places.
However, it is not free for all. As a rule, you can camp as part of a hike. You must bring your own gear and stay up to two nights. Your campsite should be 100 meters from the nearest road, out of sight and leave no trace. Large tents and large groups are not allowed and no open flames or barbecue parties are allowed.
The rangers had a delicate balancing act. They wanted to attract people to the park but the false idea that Dartmoor was a free campsite seemed to have been scrapped.
“I don’t think people have a complete grasp of the concept of wild camping,” said Martin Jones, a keen plumber and wild camper who lives near the Bellever site. “It’s just terrible here in the summer. We had to deal with a small summer rain on the forestland, the boys raced boys down the alley and the Official dogs and camping make me happy humans make my head hurt shirt whole place was turned into a toilet. You are more likely to get cholera than Covid around here. ”
He especially remembers the cries of the bellows of the nocturnal bird, a nocturnal bird that often goes foraging at dawn and dusk in Bellever. “They disappeared when the campers arrived,” Jones said. “I don’t think we also have a lot of swallows and martins this summer. I hope they will come back. ”
The situation was so severe that the park authorities invoked part of the 1985 General Dartmoor Act to prohibit camping in Bellever and on the highlands, Riddon Ridge, August 7 to September 2. They were recruited to work with rangers to patrol the Official dogs and camping make me happy humans make my head hurt shirt river banks and hillsides.
The ban ended this week but rangers still told people not to camp in Bellever and Riddon Ridge for the remainder of the Official dogs and camping make me happy humans make my head hurt shirt year, and the police continued to patrol.
Vanessa and Björn Michael, from Bedfordshire, were among the first to return to the Bellever site after the ban ended. They camped here before, although not this summer. “That is a lovely point. We follow the rules of no trace and are always invisible. ”
They come to the tent and firewood but come across signs saying that this is still a “wildlife recovery area”, they pass by and look for another spot, vanishing in the Official dogs and camping make me happy humans make my head hurt shirt landscape.