Dartmoor Test and Trial Report

In March, Janet Dwyer and Gwyn Jones (EFNCP) finished the Defra-funded Dartmoor Test and Trials, developing the model for a ‘payment-by-results’ approach to environmental land management on Dartmoor’s 35,000 hectares of Common land. The 18-month project has involved working with around 100 Dartmoor farmers and stakeholders in close liaison with the National Park and a steering group of partners including Natural England, Dartmoor Commoners Council and Hill Farm Project, and the Duchy of Cornwall who own around half of the land area involved.

The team also included Theo Lenormand and two students from AgroParisTech, Paul Pages and Lucie Duverne, who provided detailed agronomic and economic analysis to help us better understand how commons management works and which types of farming practice can best support the delivery of positive economic, environmental and social outcomes, including for Dartmoor’s unique cultural heritage and archaeology and for its many millions of visitors.

The report concludes that Dartmoor farmers have valuable knowledge and understanding which should be enabled to feed into better management and learning, as the landscape reacts to changing climate and the new demands placed on it by society. The project has been closely intertwined with the government-commissioned ‘Independent review’ led by David Fursdon, feeding in key evidence and helping to demonstrate to Defra the strength of local engagement and enthusiasm for a new and more positive approach to Dartmoor’s farming future, in which food production can become more economically robust and sustainable alongside sensitive management for nature, culture, green transition, public safety and enjoyment. We look forward to continued involvement as Defra and local partners take forward the Government’s response to the Fursdon review, supporting the work of the new Land Use Management Group which is currently being set up for Dartmoor.

The final report ‘Dartmoor Payment-By-Results T&T2‘ can be accessed via the University of Gloucestershire Research Repository via an ‘Open Government License’.