THE battle over access to Dartmoor continues, after landowner Alexander Darwall decided to appeal the recent verdict to reinstate the legal right to wild camp in the national park.

Darwall, a hedge fund manager who owns the 4,000-acre Blachford Estate on South Dartmoor, originally brought the case against the Dartmoor National Park Authority at the end of last year.

After a lengthy legal battle, Darwall successfully convinced the court that the legal right to camp on the moor never actually existed, despite it being commonly believed that the right had been enshrined in Dartmoor’s byelaws since 1985.

However, soon after, the DNPA was given leave to appeal the ruling, and the issue was back in the courts. After a long wait, the appeals court unanimously ruled in favour of the DNPA.

Read more about the case here.

Sir Geoffrey Vos, one of the judges presiding over the case, said: 'In my judgment, on its true construction, section 10 (1) of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 confers on members of the public the right to rest or sleep on the Dartmoor commons, whether by day or night and whether in a tent or otherwise.'

However, according to campaign groups, The Stars are Ours and Right to Roam, Darwall has appealed to the Supreme Court in an attempt to once again strip Dartmoor of the legal right to wild camp. However, the latest appeal faces a series of hurdles before reaching the courts once more.

A spokesperson for both groups explained: 'At this moment, we're waiting to see if the court will hear the case, and tomorrow Dartmoor National Park Authority will decide whether to formally oppose the application for appeal. As ever, they have our support and encouragement.

'Given the unanimous decision at the High Court last month we'd sincerely hope the court will simply throw this out, but we live in incredible times.

'This new attempt to challenge the right to wild camp demonstrates the continued fragility of the Dartmoor bylaws. As long as the whims of a wealthy landowner can run roughshod over the public's right to access nature, we will never be certain that the opportunity to sleep beneath the stars will be available to future generations.

'That's why The Stars are Ours and Right to Roam, alongside many others are calling for a new Right to Roam act, which would enshrine in law a presumption in favour of access across England, and firmly cement a right to wild camp within our national parks.

'Together, over the past year, we have stood up to greed and blinkered self-servitude and turned an attempt to rob us of a historic customary right on Dartmoor into an important victory for land rights for all.

'If successful in bringing this case back into the court, Darwall will confirm his place in the history books as a catalysing force for land reform in England.'

After the ruling, a spokesperson for the Darwall family said: ‘We are disappointed by this judgment.

‘This case highlights the many and increasing challenges we face in trying to protect the fragile environment on Dartmoor.

‘Our mission was to conserve this special place. It is regrettable that our role as custodians is greatly diminished.’

Mr Morshead, who was legally representing Mr Darwall in the appeal, said that Darwall was not ‘the bad guy’ in the case, despite having been ‘painted as someone hostile to camping.’

As Mr Darwall and other landowners have previously claimed, Mr Morshead argued that there was a ‘real problem’ on Mr Darwall’s land and that it was ‘not reasonable’ for a landowner to give up control over it ‘without compensation.'