AN online fundraiser has been launched to help Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) in their appeal to reinstate the legal right to wild camp.

The fundraiser, launched last week by the Dartmoor Preservation Association (DPA), will be used to help the DNPA to appeal last month’s controversial court decision to overturn the legal right to wild camp on the moor.

Backpack camping has been taking place on the moor for decades, and until January 13, was a legal right under the 1985 Dartmoor Commons act.

However, landowner and hedgefund manager Alexander Darwall challenged this right, arguing that the wording of the Commons Act did not explicitly include camping.

After a successful legal challenge by Mr Darwall, thousands gathered on his land last month to protest the change, and on January 27, the DNPA decided to continue the fight by appealing the ruling.

Although the fundraiser for the appeal was only launched last week, it has already raised over £11,500. The cost of the appeal is expected to be about £200,000, while the original case cost the DNPA £100,000.

The association stated: ‘We wish to see a rights-based not a permission-based system on Dartmoor. How are we helping? We are acting as the focus for donations which we will intend to transfer to the national park to offset the legal costs of an appeal. By donating via DPA you can be assured that we, as a long-standing registered charity, will act appropriately and clearly with the funds donated to us.

‘We have a properly established board of Trustees and permanent staff. We are regulated by the Charity Commission and answerable to HMRC, Companies House and our many members.’

Tom Usher, CEO of the DPA, added: ‘Backpack-camping has a long-established tradition on Dartmoor. The positive effect on mental and physical health from being outside in any of our National Parks cannot be overstated. Backpack-camping promotes self-reliance, planning, physical robustness, mental resilience, an adventurous mindset, and a deep respect for the natural world.’

Any excess donations will be used to support access activities on the Dartmoor aimed at youth groups and young people, which can be seen on the DPA website.

Kelly Rich, the DPA’s communications officer, said: ‘We’re really encouraged by this, £11,000 in a week is fantastic and we thank everyone that’s supported the appeal so far. But this will be a long campaign, there’s a lot to do.

‘The Dartmoor community has really come together over this issue and it’s really promising to see. It empowers what we were saying to DNPA, that if you seek leave to appeal this, then you’ll have the support of everyone behind you. I think that this crowd funder is a good opportunity for people to directly engage with that.’

To donate to the fundraiser, visit: