Guest Speaker – Ceri Rees
Dartmoor National Park’s appeal
Ceri Rees, 50, a Devon runner is supporting Dartmoor National Park’s appeal against a controversial ban on backpack camping on Dartmoor, with a series of endurance challenges, to raise money for the high court case.
Ceri, who lives in Loddiswell, in South Devon, pledged to help the Dartmoor Preservation Association raise £100,000 towards the Hight Court case, in order to support the #savedartmoor#righttoroamappeal and the #starsareforeeryone.
Ceri aims to raise a minimum of £2,000 by running a barefoot Dartmoor crossing in May, as well as running between the five main reservoirs on Dartmoor, around 65 miles, and scaling the height of Everest, 8,849m on Stall Moor, the site of the ‘Cornwood Rally’ that brought so many people out in support of free backpacking camping.
Ceri said: “My business Wild Running, is strongly linked to Dartmoor and has given me a grounded connection with the landscape and its roots. I believe that there is a momentum, which will overturn this self-serving court case brought by a tiny number of landwowners. But a much broader public interest would also be served in the long term,if this ruling is overturned. The national park authority are badly in need of funds, so I thought I would do my bit in a way that comes naturally!”
The ban means that landowners can now charge hikers/walkers/recreational users to pitch a tent on their land, even if it is public access land, despite a historic legacy, which has made Dartmoor the only national park in England, where you could still wild camp, according to Dartmoor National Park’s own byelaws. A judge upheld the anti-camping case, that the 1985 Dartmoor Commons Act ruling neverofficially enshrined the right to ‘wild camp’ in law.Now the national park has been given permission to appeal that judgement.
On the final weekend of April, thousands of school children prepare for the ultimate rights of passage for their teenage years, the Ten Tors challenge. This gains many of them life-long confidence and resilience through the decision making and planning that goes into an overnight expedition.
But the right to backpack camping, which was also extended to all members of the public, has now been withdrawn, and replaced with a permissive system which gives private landowners the right to forbid overnight camping, as well as the right to charge users.
Many ordinary people, including outdoor educators, business people, expedition leaders and sportsmen and women, grew up with the right to roam and to camp out with friends and family members.
Ceri plans to run barefoot across Dartmoor (from east to west) in May, as well as running the height of Everest up Stall Moor, to commemorate the ‘Cornwood Protest Rally’land in February. The 100m climb will have to be scaled about 90 times to cover the 8,850m height of Everest.
Ceri added: “If we can raise the requisite amount of money, this will be a clear show of solidarity and strength of the many against the will of the minority but more powerful landowners.
The reservoirs are the source of sustenance for village, city and town, around the moor’s circumference and they connect us all. When the reservoirs run dry, it is a sign that all is not well with our climate. Just like our ancestors had to go in search of water, via the shortest route, the many leats, which are a special feature of Dartmoor, have provided a source of comfort and resilience in all weathers to visitors, hikers and anyone visiting Dartmoor. No one can resent their presence!”
The run is approximately 65 miles, which Ceri hopes to complete in 12 hours of daylight.
To donate towards the appeal, while supporting Ceri’s efforts, you can donate to
https://www.justgiving.com/page/spacetobe. Proceeds will go straight towards the appeal.
The aim was simple: to take unemployed people out running on Dartmoor once a week. They provided the transport and picked people up on route. He knew first hand about the benefits of off-road running for boosting resilience and wellbeing, as well as improving your running longevity. Ceri had little cartilage left in his knees (a legacy of his years playing rugby) and found road running a challenge. He felt he did not need to gather any scientific evidence to know about these benefits, as he’d already spent a lifetime acquiring the experience.
Today, Wild Running organises night races with the Wild Night Run Series, which aims to support several local charities as well as other races in Southern England. Wild Running also offers inspiring bespoke guided trail running weekends and challenges and the Wild Running Festival.
The end goal is not to chip away at your 10k time but to enjoy the process of running, to connect with the landscape, sometimes in a transformative way which will open people’s eyes to new possibilities.
It gives us great pleasure to welcome back Ceri Rees and Wild Running for the 2023 show.
Also see other exhibitors:
Exhibitors & Speakers 2023