By: Blonde Two
It is that time of year again when Dartmoor starts to get busier. Over the last few weekends there have been groups of Ten Tors youngsters out training and before we can say ‘snowdrop’ there will be Duke of Edinburgh’s Award teams out there on expedition as well. Whether you are taking a group out, going on a family walk or having a lone stomp, you need to be aware of the Dartmoor army firing times.
There are three army ranges on Dartmoor (Merrivale, Willsworthy and Okehampton) and whilst the public generally has access, at times the army use them to practice live firing. They are all on the North Moor (north of the B3357) and have different firing times.
The safest way to check firing is to look at the Dartmoor firing times list on the Ministry of Defence website.
If you are uncertain about firing when you are out on the moor (you do sometimes hear blank firing) you should look out for the red and white posts that mark out the ranges and the red flags or lights on the key tors around them. The ranges are marked on your Ordnance Survey 1:25000 map like this:
And with the words ‘Danger Area’ on a 1:50000 map.
You can also get army firing information from Dartmoor National Park visitor centres, local newspapers, BBC Radio Devon daily updates or by phoning 0800 4585868.
One other result of the army’s presence on Dartmoor is the occasional presence of ordnance (strange bits of metal to you or I). Although this is fascinating, on no account should it be picked up. As we Blondes say, ‘Don’t touch the ordnance!’ unless it happens to be an Ordnance Survey map (especially OL28!)