By: Blonde Two

I think that today I am finally going to make it up to Snowmore – excuse me, I mean Dartmoor.  I am being a bit put off by reports of abandoned cars, queues of traffic and inconsiderate parking.  We don’t get a lot of snow down here and we all tend to get a bit over-excited when we do.  Maybe a taste of an ice age would do us good.

As you know, we Blondes love the emptiness and wildness of Dartmoor and spend a reasonable chunk of our time encouraging youngsters to feel the same.  So why do I have an instinctive reaction to words like “tourists” (I am one in a way), “viewpoints” (I like views) and “4×4” (we have one).   I like to think that I am not an “outdoors snob”, but of course, really there is a bit of that in all of us.

I guess we all have ideas about what our National Parks should be for.  There are arguments for and against just about everything that happens up on the moors and I don’t envy the National Park some of their difficult decisions.  There are walkers, cyclists, drivers (stop frowning at me), horse riders, kayakers, fishermen, campers and motor caravans (I said stop frowning) – all of these have places where they are legitimately allowed to be and times when they are legitimately allowed to be there.

Those of us who regularly enjoy Dartmoor all have opinions and sometimes deep feelings about these things.  It is easy to see that there is a delicate balancing act being performed here – one slip and things could go horribly wrong.  I have concluded, however, that there are two things that we would all benefit from considering as we form our opinions.

1.  Dartmoor is home to a lot of people.  When we visit, we are visiting their backyard and often have an impact on their livelihood.  I am not sure that I think about this often enough.

2.  Dartmoor, in all of its beauty, requires upkeep.  Blonde One and I were talking the other day about volunteering – we do already with our D of E and Ten Tors youngsters – but should we be doing “more for our moor”?

Maybe the conclusion to this short discussion (which would probably go on all night if you were all actually here) should be – Ask not what your National Park can do for you but what you can do for your National Park … now where is my sledge?