Safety on the MoorsWe all know that Dartmoor is a lovely place to visit, walk, letterbox and to enjoy all the wonders of the historical sites we all come across. If you are interested in the historical facts, folklore and Dartmoor information then please visit Legendary Dartmoor for a very interesting and informative site.
What do you need to take with you?Firstly, check out my compass tutorial, this will give you the knowledge you will need to navigate the moors. Many people have got lost on the moors due to a sudden mist shrouding anything around them. Using a compass can get you out of trouble and back to your car safely. So learning how to navigate the moors is extremely important!
Maps of the moors can be purchased from most book stores and Dartmoor Information Centres, may I recommend the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 Map, this is very detailed and will give you the information you will need for navigation.
So we have...Compass & Map
First Aid Kit You never know when this will come in handy!
Survival blanket usually the thermal silver type.
Spare Socks and Shoes We all have a habit of stepping into a boggy area from time to time. Keep the shoes/trainers in the boot of your car.
Food Replenish your energy, A Mars bar is a good addition to your kit.
Drink Hot and cold drinks, drink regular to stop dehydration.
Spare clothes Wear lots of thin layers rather than a thick jumper. Layers of clothes can help trap in your body heat, plus itís easier to take one layer off if you get to warm.
Mobile Phone Just in case of an emergency. Bear in mind that not areas on the moors have mobile phone coverage.
Torch Now Iím not saying that you might get stranded, but itís always worth a thought.
Spare Boot Laces Now how many times have mine snapped!
Gaiters To place around your ankles, that gorse and bracken is a little painful without them, believe me, I know!
Long Trousers Tuck your trousers into your socks. Dartmoor in the Summer consists of sheep ticks, not a very nice little critter. They tend to hang around in the gorse and bracken, burrow their way into your skin and do vampire impressions! Check yourself all over when you get home, if you find any, unscrew them anti-clockwise to prevent leaving the head there! Sounds horrible but they are more or less harmless but annoying little things. Also because of this cover your arms.
Never walk in open toed sandals, I know sounds daft but Iíve seen so many people up there in the summer like this and also wearing shorts. So if you donít want ticks, cover yourself up.
Walking stick You will be surprised how handy these can be. For prodding under a rock, there are snakes on the moors so itís easier to look under a rock with a stick rather than your hand! Also a walking stick helps for checking soft ground in front of you. They also come in handy for leaping across streams (miniature pole vaulting), saves those wet feet.
Waterproofs Gore-Tex or similar lightweight coat and trousers. These donít take up to much room in your hiking bag, but knowing Dartmoor weather, you WILL need them.
I know all this sounds a lot but believe me, you can never be to prepared on the moors. Oh, and always tell someone where you are going, preferably with an added grid reference of the areas you will be visiting. So to recap, here is the list again.
Hope this helps you to have a safe and enjoyable day on Dartmoor.