Military training on Dartmoor. Photo: Chris Hargreaves, MoD

Military training on Dartmoor. Photo: Chris Hargreaves, MoD

Minister Huw Irranca-Davies is a busy man. Today he was in Yorkshire launching the Mosaic scheme; tomorrow he hotfoots it to Dartmoor to put walkers in the picture about the area’s military ranges.

The MP for the south Wales seat of Ogmore will be at Yes Tor to join members of the Dartmoor National Park Authority and military representatives as they unveil a new publication aimed at walkers and riders giving information.

The military ranges on Dartmoor have long been a bone of contention for outdoors pursuits enthusiasts. The Ministry of Defence was this year granted a further 24 years’ use by the Duchy of Cornwall. Opponents of the MoD’s use say it is inappropriate for a national park.

Mr Irranca-Davies was one of two ministers who made the announcement to Parliament. There would, they said, be a review of the arrangement mid-way through the licence period.

The Campaign for National Parks’ acting chief executive Ruth Chambers expressed her disappointment at the decision in January. She said: “There is no doubt that our armed forces need the best possible preparation for battle and other deployments.

“However, the extent to which this essential need should be met by use of the rugged terrain and tranquil environments of our national parks has never been subject to independent scrutiny and now, at least for Dartmoor, appears to be out of bounds for discussion until 2033.”

Firing notices for the Okehampton, Merrivale and Willsworthy areas are posted in local papers. They are also available on the Defence Estate website.

The Minister for Marine and Natural Environment will also launch a waterproof cycle map of Dartmoor and the surrounding area, and meet apprentices from the Moorskills programme for upland farmers.

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