Dartmoor Nationa lPark In 2002

Dartmoor lies in South Devon, in South Western England. Devon is next to Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. The Dartmoor National Park lies not far from the Cornwall border, next to the city of Plymouth and close to Exeter.

To the south of Dartmoor lies several honeypot locations such Paignton, Torbay and Torquay. These attract masses of tourist every year.

There are many rivers and streams which run through The Dartmoor National Park. Some of the major ones are the River Teign and Bovey, running through the North East of the park; the River Dart, running through the South East of the park; the River Plym, Erme and Yealm, running through the South West of the park; and the River Tavy and Taw running through the North West of the park.

Throughout the park there are many A and B class roads. These include the A38 which runs from Exeter to Plymouth, the A30 which runs from Exeter to Launceston, the A386 which runs from Sourton to Plymouth, A382 which runs from Bovey Tracy to Whiddon Down, the B3212 which runs from Moretonhampstead to Yelverton, the B3357 which runs from Tavistock to Dartmeet, the B3193 which runs through Teign Valley, and the B3387 which runs from Bovey Tracey to Widecombe.

Sketch Map Of The Dartmoor National Park

Land Issues Facing The Dartmoor National Park

Unlike many other countries in the world, such as the United States Of America, the government doesn’t control the National Parks within the United Kingdom and Wales. Within the park there are many landowners such as public bodies and private individuals. This causes many conflicts within the park.

National Parks were setup in the 1950s. Up to 1957, ten National Parks were confirmed. 1989 saw another area, the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, given National Park status. In 1999 the Government declared that two new National Parks in England were to be created; South Downs and the New Forest.

National Parks were set up to:

* conserve and enhance the natural wildlife, beauty and cultural heritage of the area.

* show the outside public how to promote and understand the countryside.

* care for the social and economic welfare of the communities within The National Parks.

The National Parks are home to 300 000 people. Dartmoor National Park accommodates 32 300. This is spread over the main settlements in the National Park; Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Moretonhampstead, Princetown, Yelverton, Horrabridge, South Brent, Christow, Chagford. The population of the largest settlement, Ashburton is about 3,500.

One of the major issues that have a big concern for everybody within The National Park is tourism. All this is due to:

* people having more money to spend on recreation.

* additional time for holidays, particularly short breaks such as a bank holiday or weekend.

* a better infrastructure.

The Dartmoor National Park has to cope with thousands and thousands of visitors per month. The National Park Authority claims that it has 10 million day visits every year. More than 40% of all visitors are from surrounding honeypots such as Torbay and neighbouring cities such as Plymouth. To be precise:

* 22% come from Plymouth.

* 10.2% come from Torbay.

* 18.7% come from Teignbridge.

* 8.9% come from South Hams.

* 14.4% come from West Devon.

* 8.8% come from outside Devon

* 8% come from the rest of Devon

* 9% come from Exeter.

All the information above is the percentage of people coming from that area, both the people who have a permanent house there and people who are staying at that place, on holiday.

Coping with so many tourists is a very big problem for The National Park Authorities. When it is extremely busy, there are not enough parking spaces. All visitors expect easy access. The edges of the park are particularly under pressure as major holiday routes pass it to the North and South. Visitors anticipate that there will be tourist shops, litter collections, picnic areas, and toilets. The Dartmoor National Park houses four National Park Information Centres, twelve Village Information Points, four Community Information Points and several other Centres supported by the National Park Authority. There are 72 different places to park within Dartmoor.

The prices of houses within The Dartmoor National Park, and other parks, are soaring because rich, wealthy people from urban areas pay more for their second home than local people can afford. The majority of the community in National Parks throughout the United Kingdom have a lot of elderly retired people. There are not a lot of young people in the area because these areas do not have a lot of schools; primary and secondary, and they certainly do not have colleges and universities.

Another key factor is erosion. Here is a diagram showing the main reasons why erosion occurs:

The human causes of erosion are walking across the grassy terrain, grazing live stock on the fields, driving farm vehicles, horse riding, mountain biking and military training. Although all the things here can be refrained from doing, the National Park really would not be. Things like military training and some driving of vehicles can be avoided.

All the natural causes of erosion; rain, wind and vegetation, cannot be avoided. These are natural and if it did not happen then all kinds of life in the park would die.

The Ministry of Defence control around 13,340 hectares; about 32,951 Acres; of the park. This about 14% of the whole park. Most activity is intense between Okehampton and Two Bridges, to the North of the park. Both live and “dry” ammunition is used. Live firing has caused damage to ancient monuments and has disturb wildlife, When training commences, large areas are closed off from the public.

Even though there are no natural lakes in The Dartmoor National Park, there are eight reservoirs, taking up around 1% of the park. Burrator, Venford, Fernworthy, Trenchford, Tottiford and Kennick were built before 1940. The other two were added latter; Avon Dam and Meldon. These reservoirs were created by blocking off valleys and waiting for them to fill up. These reservoirs are used to supply water to the towns and cities of Devon. Rainfall on the moors are much higher than urban areas such as London.

Kaolin, otherwise known as china clay, is the source of the main mining industry in Dartmoor today. Kaolin is extracted by open cast mining and used in to make paper shiny. The kaolin is exported throughout the world. There are large reserves in southern Dartmoor, mainly around Lee Moor, which has one of the largest china clay pits in the world;

over 90 m deep and covering over 40 hectares, around 100 acres. Producing kaolin produces large amounts of waste. Land that is important for recreation, wildlife and archaeological interest has been threatened by the dumping of kaolin waste.

The main reason for the creation of The National Parks were to conserve the natural beauty of the areas.

Within Dartmoor there are two large areas of blanket fog. This area waterlogged all year long because there is very heavy rainfall there and poor drainage. It is dominated by rushes, cotton grass and a thick layer sphagnum moss. Around this area there are heather and grass moors, providing better grazing for farm and wild animals.


The Authorities

So what’s going on to combat the land issues facing The Dartmoor National Park?

Many things are being done to help conserve the environment from tourists:

* More and more information centres are being created to inform visitors about the park, to make them understand how to use and preserve the park. This not only through information centres but also signposts and leaflets.

* The Rangers observe the park the most .They are the eyes and ears of The Dartmoor National Park. They try to make certain that all visitors enjoy their visit and monitor the effects of recreation on the landscape and the local community. The local communities support their work a great deal.

* The visitor mangers. These are the people who control more or less every man-made aspect of the park. They say were to put an information centre, where to put a toilet. They plan for these things by doing surveys. (One can be found on the next page).

* New roads are being made. A trunk road was created a few years back, through the North of the park, although an act was passed that no new roads were to be created in parks.

Erosion is single handedly destroying the environment. The National Park Authority has created a strategy to turf or re-seed the most eroded parts.

The military is a big problem in the way to totally cleaning the park. All the Authorities are trying to ban them from The National Park.

Authorities do not like the eight reservoirs already in the park. A bid for another one was made a few years back. It was refused by parliament.

With all the waste from the kaolin, the authorities are trying to find suitable places for the waste to be stored. A place has not been found yet although they are still looking.


My Opinion

I think that all cars should be banned from the area. People should park their cars and catch a bus into the area.

The military should be also banned from the area. They should go and find else were to do their training.

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