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Access to the Countryside

Walker on ThornworthyOne of the special qualities of Dartmoor National Park is the freedom to roam across 47,000 hectares of unenclosed common land and open country.

In addition, there are over 450 miles (730 km) of public rights of way for you to explore and enjoy within the national park.  The Dartmoor landscape includes the high upland areas of the north and southern moors, steep sided river valleys and ancient woodlands.

On the open moor you are free to choose your own walking route and there is no need to keep to footpaths.

In this section you will find information on: Open access and Public Rights of way.

The network of public footpaths, bridleways and byways are looked after by the Authority's team of National Park Rangers, with assistance from our Voluntary Wardens and Volunteers.  Larger scale works are carried out by our works team or contractors.  The practical work undertaken by Rangers includes clearing surface vegetation on paths, undertaking the repair and replacement of gates, stiles and bridges on the network, as well as signing and waymarking paths so that they are easy to find and follow.  

Rangers also maintain access points and information boards to areas of open access land designated under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act).

The Recreation and Access team's work provides the strategic framework for managing access and recreation within the national park. This work includes making changes to the path network, implementation of the Dartmoor Rights of Way Improvement Plan and managing the restrictions process for CROW access rights.  The team also have responsibility for negotiating permissive path agreements, Access for All initiatives and provides support to the Authority's statutory advisory body, the Dartmoor Access Forum.

View the Recreation and Access Strategy.

The legal record of rights of way is maintained by the Definitive Map Team at Devon County Council (external website, opens new window).

View the Walking on Dartmoor publication online or pick up a copy from a National Park Information Centre.  Maps and guides for walking and cycling are available to purchase from our Information Centres at Princetown, Postbridge and Haytor.

For further information contact recreation@dartmoor-npa.gov.uk

Page last updated: 09 Oct 2013