Dartmoor is an amazing place to explore. Unlike most National Parks, most of it is access land, which means you don’t need to stick to paths – you can go anywhere. However, please remember that you’re sharing this space with others – including important wildlife and farmers who depend on the moor for their livelihoods. Harford Moor is access land, but it’s not a public park. No-one is going to come and pick up any mess you leave behind if you don’t – so please follow the Countryside Code.
Walking and running
You’re welcome to go anywhere on foot, but please follow these rules:
1. Avoid the unsustainable erosion of soil and peat by keeping off worn and eroded paths. Please keep to paved or gravel tracks where possible. If you walk or run off the tracks, please alter your route every time you go out. Avoid soft ground and anywhere where there is bare peat or mud. If you’re walking or running in a group on unpaved tracks, spread out to prevent damage to the soil and vegetation.
2. Keep dogs under close control at all times, and on a short lead during the bird-nesting and lambing season (March to July). This rule also applies to horse riders and cyclists with dogs.
Cycling and horse riding
You can only cycle on bridleways. By the landowner’s consent, you can also cycle on the paved track of the old Redlake railway (the ‘Puffing Billy’ track).
Horse riding is allowed throughout Harford Moor under the Dartmoor Byelaws, but you should bear in mind that it is extremely damaging when the ground is wet. Please make sure you avoid any eroded paths, and stick to paved tracks if possible, especially if it’s been wet recently. Do not canter or gallop, as these are extremely damaging to the ground.
You cannot use motorised vehicles anywhere on the moor without permission.
CAMPING: Update as of January 2023
The High Court ruling delivered on 13 January 2023 clarifies the situation regarding camping on Dartmoor. It is not, in fact, a legal right as had previously been assumed under the Dartmoor Byelaws.
The owners of Harford Moor consider that backpack camping in remote areas, if done responsibly, is a wonderful experience and would like it to continue. We are working with the Dartmoor Commons Owners Association and the Dartmoor National Park Authority to establish a common way forward with our neighbours. For the meantime, we grant anyone use of the moor for permissive backpack camping on the northern half of Harford Moor, i.e. all of it north of Piles Hill in a line from Piles Gate (SX648613) to Glasscombe Corner (SX663610) and excluding Higher Piles and Piles Copse for environmental reasons. The easy access and pressure of use in the southern half of the moor means that we cannot give open permission at present.
In the area specified, permissive camping is allowed under the usual rules of “leave no trace”.
- You may only take what can be carried in a backpack (no cooler boxes, chairs, etc.).
- You may stay no more than one night unless you have first contacted us for consent to stay longer.
- There must be no more than six people in a group.
- Light no fires other than a proper small camping stove (which must not be placed on to the grass – put it on a rock).
- Take all rubbish home.
- Bury faeces and used toilet paper under at least 15 cm (6 in.) of turf (you will need to take a trowel with you).
- Keep peaceful and do not disturb wildlife.
- Chill out and enjoy it!
If you value the experience, then please consider making a contribution to the “Donate for Dartmoor” fund, which helps to pay for the management of the moor. You can this online here:
We have drawn the southern boundary of the permitted camping area in such a way that it excludes the area where we have had damaging fly camping in the past, but keeps the area where genuine backpack camping has always happened. This is to help improve the environment, and if you are a genuine long distance backpack camper, you will not be inconvenienced. The permitted area starts only one mile from a road.
The main access points for Harford Moor are the moor gates at Cantrell (on Ugborough Moor), Stowford and Harford. Please be considerate when parking and don’t block roads or gates – local people and farmers may need access to them. There is no parking at any of the gates. However, free parking is readily available at the Ivybridge Railway Station car park: from here there is easy access to the moor via David’s Lane to the east and Stowford Lane to the west.
Make sure you’re prepared for all weathers and stay safe – have a look at Dartmoor National Park’s safety advice.
Keep away from livestock, especially when there are young animals around. Keep away from trees when it is windy. Do not try to cross flooded rivers, and do not venture onto featureless moorland without a map and compass (and know how to use them).
Photo credit: Ethan Parsons @wandering_waller
In the past we have permitted drag hunting under conditions of environmental protection (such as avoiding wet areas, keeping horses apart and away from popular walking routes, and not using vehicles). On 31 December 2022, a hunt follower was seen driving on Bullaven Hill in very wet conditions and without our consent. We have therefore banned all hunting on Harford Moor and our other land until further notice.