By: Blonde Two

You might imagine that somewhere as old and as solid looking as Dartmoor would be mature enough to look after itself by now.  Unfortunately, however, there are numerous elements that influence Dartmoor’s future and since 1883 it has had to employ its own preservation association (Dartmoor Preservation Association) to help it to deal with them.

Whilst enjoying a rare quiet moment last week, the Two Blondes got an invitation via the magic of Twitter (we are meeting all sorts of Dartmoory people that way) to come and drink coffee and eat that very English of biscuits, the custard cream with the guys (and girls) from DPA.  The next day there followed a very Blondish kind of argument where I tried to persuade Blonde One to make the necessary phone call (I hate the telephone). The problem was that we couldn’t decide what to say, how do you introduce yourself on the phone when you are travelling anonymously?  We came up with, “Hello I’m Blonde.”, “My name is Blonde, Blonde One.” and “This is the Two Blondes calling.”  As neither of us could say any of these without bursting into giggles, we resorted to Twitter for communication and eventually found our way up to the DPA office – they hide above the High Moorland Centre in Princetown and are probably watching you now!

We were warmly welcomed by James and Fiona who explained what the DPA get involved in and like to keep an eye on.  They are busy guys and have an army of volunteers.  Their involvement includes; discussions about renewable energy, monitoring quarrying and mineral extraction, watching planning applications, public access to common land, military live firing, supporting hill farming and the impact of recreational activity.  You can find out much more on their very interesting website http://www.dartmoorpreservation.com and keep up with what they are doing on their blog http://dartmoorpreservation.wordpress.com

We had a really good talk about young people, and the activities that our youngsters get up to on Dartmoor.  I am pleased to say that we were in agreement that if we don’t encourage young people to enjoy all our beautiful National Park in a way that is appropriate and careful, there will be nobody willing to defend its interest in the future. There are people out there, for example, who don’t like to see 2000 kids tramping across the moor for Ten Tors every May and I can understand their reservations but I can almost guarantee that in 40 or so year’s time, the people volunteering to spend their days clearing Dartmoor’s ancient monuments or ensuring butterfly habitat will come from the ranks of those youngsters.

It was great to meet James and Fiona and to find out more.  The Two Blondes are hoping that we, the DPA and our youngsters are going to be working together in the not too distant future.