Thursday, 27 September 2012

Battle Plans Part IV

(Planning Application 0501/12, Cramber Training Area, Dartmoor National Park Authority)

As promised in last year's Integrated Rural Management Plan (see post Battle Plans III - Any clearer?), the MOD have submitted a planning application to continue using the Cramber Tor area (highlighted above) as a 'dry' military training area.  The news of the application can be found on the Dartmoor National Park Authority website.  The DNPA reports that the area "has had a number of temporary consents since the 1980s for military training. This time the MOD want a permanent planning permission" (

Reading through the application (as I have) it appears that, by and large, the MOD will continue to use the area in the same way it always has.  The last consultation (back in 2002) produced the following guidelines for training in the Cramber area:
1.  Use to continue until 3 January 2013, but with a review, to consider the results of monitoring and the changing needs of the armed forces, in the first half of 2008. 
2.  No training to take place on Sundays, public holidays and during the month of August. 
3.  A strategy for monitoring the impact of military use on the area, utilising the existing baseline data, shall be submitted for approval by the Authority within three months of the date of the decision letter. An annual monitoring report shall be submitted to the Authority. 
4.  No digging or wiring, within the areas defined on the plan attached to this letter, avoidance of heather areas and full reinstatement of the ground after any exercise. All such operations to be monitored as part of the strategy referred to above. 
5.  No tracked vehicles to use the area and no wheeled vehicles other than landrovers (excluding the one tonne variant) to use the area. Such use to be confined to the existing track through the area, with entry to it only from the western end, via Burrator Forest, and no entry or exit at the eastern end via the Whiteworks road. The MOD, through Standing Orders, to ensure the minimum possible use by vehicles. 
6.  Tenting in excess of four tents to be confined to the agreed tented camp areas (defined on the plan attached to the decision letter). Such use to avoid areas of heather and to be no closer than 20m from any area of identified archaeological significance. 
7.  Standing Orders to ensure that, as far as possible, the risk of fires is minimised, and to ban the use of pyrotechnics at times of high fire risk (a method of identifying such times to be agreed through the Military Working Party). 
8.  A strategy for controlling accidental fires, together with any necessary restoration measures, to be submitted for approval by the Authority within one month of the date of the decision letter. 
9.  Helicopters not to be used on Saturdays, except in emergencies. 
10. . The use of blanks and pyrotechnics to be restricted to no more than 12 Saturdays in the year and no more than two Saturdays in any one month. 
11. . Whenever avoidable no individual groups of greater than 35 personnel shall use the area between 1 March and 15 July in any year. 
12.  No works to take place within 100m of any watercourse.  
13.  Any controlled waste produced as a result of training exercises shall be properly disposed of off-site. 
14.  All possible measures to mitigate any effects of the use of the area for training, shall be implemented in accordance with arrangements agreed with the Authority.
(Planning Application 0501/12, Executive Summary, Dartmoor National Park Authority)

Dry training, the MOD insist, must happen on the South Moor, as opposed to one of the North Moor Ranges because of the distance from Plymouth, and the city's military bases.  In order to maximise training time without the requirement for troops to camp out.

The planning application submitted includes this information:

The proposal currently being considered by DNPA for [Cramber Training Area] to be used for dry military training will continue to adhere to these conditions except for:· Condition 5 – It is suggested that reference to ‘landrover’ is removed as this is make specific and replaced with ‘vehicle weighing less than 2 tonnes with four wheeled drive capability.’· Condition 11 - The MOD would like to increase the number of personnel in a group to 50 in line with DNPA Recreation and Access strategy 2011 – 2017.
(Planning Application 0501/12, Executive Summary, Dartmoor National Park Authority)

In our experience, we have only seen blue waterproof clad Marines and Cadets wandering around the Cramber area, and I was keen to find out what they were intending to do in a dry military training area.  The DNPA report states that such an area allows for "walking, map work, laying wires for communication purposes, digging trenches, camping, military manoeuvres with troops including use of pyrotechnics, non explosive devices, and occasional use of helicopters"  (  The planning application specifies the percentage of military time is dedicated to each activity.

(Planning Application 0501/12, Application for Planning Permission, Dartmoor National Park Authority) 

I couldn't help but wonder:  51% of their time walking... 5% crawling.. 4% digging and 9% hiding?  Isn't that letterboxing?!?

The Ministry of Defence held a public exhibition in Princetown yesterday, but if you weren't there, you can still view the whole application via the Dartmoor National Park website (search the planning application number: 0501/12).  All comments must be received by the Case Officer by 12th October 2012.

Dartmoor National Park News.  Accessed via:, 26/09/12

Cramber Training Area map and drawing; Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Ministry of Defence. Accessed via: 26/09/12

Executive Summary of the Major Development Test and Non-statutory Environmental Statement for Continuation of Military Training on Cramber Training Area, Dartmoor; Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Ministry of Defence. Accessed via: 26/09/12

Major Development Test and Non-statutory Environmental Statement for Continuation of Military Training on Cramber Training Area, Dartmoor; Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Ministry of Defence. Accessed via: 26/09/12

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Haytor Rocks

As we were close to the East side of the Moor, and with time to spare, we took advantage of the recent settled weather and took a short hike around Haytor Rocks and Bagtor Down.  We even indulged in the guilty pleasure of scrambling to the summit of Low Man via the steps and iron handrail on it's South-East side.

We typically would have avoided the area on a weekend, but were surprised to see just a handful of climbers roped up and picking routes up the Haytor massif opposite, and few others.

We've always enjoyed exploring the area around the Haytor Quarries, and across the road around the headwaters of the Lemon.  We found the Boxes were on site, and receiving regular visits.

With just 5 miles covered and 12 boxes found, we can't wait to spend a little longer on the moor in mid October.  Reports are suggesting that our box Rangale of Deer - Broad Down is in need of attention.  So a few walks on the North moor beckon.