By: Blonde Two
Campervan nights out
The last year has seen a considerable rise in both campervan and motorhome sales across the UK. With more and more people realising how beautiful our countryside is, and enjoying staycations, this is hardly surprising. Camper van trips are great fun, especially if you love exploring but if you are not a fan of campsites, finding somewhere for an overnight stay is not always easy. We live in a crowded country that doesn’t have the same facilities and expectations you might find in Europe.
Can I stay overnight on Dartmoor in my campervan?
One question we Blondes get asked often is, ‘Can I park my campervan on Dartmoor?’ The answer to this is a resounding, ‘Yes’ (see the links below for more information. Quickly followed up by, ‘But not if you want to sleep in it overnight‘. As the Dartmoor loving, owner of my very own camper van this could perhaps be seen as bad news but as I am just as happy, even in February, backpack or wild camping on Dartmoor in my tent or bivvy bag, I don’t think sticking to these particular rules is going to present me with any problems (plus there is always late breakfast in the camper when I get back down off the hills).
Dartmoor’s campervan byelaws
When we Blondes are out night walking or wild camping on Dartmoor, it is not uncommon, even over the winter, to see the odd camper van snuggled into a quiet car park and occupied overnight. It is also fairly common to see larger motorhomes later on in the year and last November we spotted lorry sneaking in for the night. Unfortunately, all of these happy campers are sleeping on the wrong side of the Dartmoor byelaws because you are not allowed to sleep in any vehicle on the Dartmoor access land (which includes car parks and laybys).
“You are not allowed to sleep in any vehicle on the Dartmoor access land.”
Here is the section of the Dartmoor wild camping byelaws that lays down the rules about camper vans. If you need a translation, it is telling you that you need to find a proper campsite.
“No person shall knowingly use any vehicle, including a caravan or any structure other than a tent for the purpose of camping on the access land or land set out for the use or parking of vehicles except on any area which may be set apart and indicated by notice as a place where such camping is permitted.”
Driving and camping on Dartmoor
Dartmoor National Park Authority offer some great advice to camper van and motorhome owners including information about campsites (we have some lovely ones) via Visit Dartmoor and a Dartmoor motorhome driver guide to some of the larger roads (it is a brave and foolish driver who would want to take a motorhome down most of Dartmoor’s small lanes). If you do try and camp on Dartmoor in a motorhome or camper you may well find yourself being asked politely to move on by the rangers or even facing a fine if you fail to do so.
Space for everyone
We have all heard the arguments (and, I suspect, are about to hear a few more) but the reality is that Dartmoor is not big enough to withstand an onslaught of overnight campervans and motorhomes without losing some of the beauty and wildness that we all love. If you want to backpack or wild camp on Dartmoor (and why wouldn’t you) there are plenty of opportunities to do so within the byelaws (see our post on the Dartmoor wild camping map below).