An end to open fires

In the past we’ve allowed people to light open fires at Piles Copse.  However, recently we’ve become concerned about the impact that this is having. Fires are directly and indirectly the biggest cause of damage to the copse.

In the wood’s popular camping spots, fires have damaged grass, walls and trees. Although we ask people not to damage the trees, there are lots of places where branches have been sawn or broken off to be used as firewood. Natural England have also asked us to stop people having fires because it is affecting some of the habitats for which Piles Copse is an SSSI. In hot, dry weather lighting fires can also increase the risk of wildfires breaking out.

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Damage to the ground caused by fires
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Oak tree near a popular spot for fires, which has been severely damaged by people cutting off branches

Following a discussion with staff from the Dartmoor National Park Authority, we have decided to ban open fires at Piles Copse, which is in line with the rules for the open moor. We’ll be updating the signs at Piles over the next few months, and ask anyone visiting Piles Copse to respect this new rule. You are still welcome to use small, portable camping stoves for cooking, but please don’t put them on the grass.

We will also rope off the damaged areas and try to restore them. This will take some years, so we also ask you to respect the need for this, and to keep out of these areas.

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