Dartmoor has a rich mineral heritage. Evidence of tin working on the moor dates from earliest times and the extraction of clay has been an important activity since the mediaeval period. Around the edges of Dartmoor, the metamorphic aureole has provided the resources for a variety of historic mining enterprises.
But these days, Dartmoor is primarily valued for its wonderful landscape qualities to which mineral exploitation is an unhappy bedfellow. Fortunately, the deposits within the area of the National Park are not commercially viable but occasionally the large scale expansion of minerals workings in the twentieth century has threatened to encroach on its fringes.
The DPA is opposed to large scale minerals exploitation within the National Park. It’s incompatible with National Park designation. In the last 50 years this has led us to oppose moves by minerals companies to extend workings within, or on the periphery of, the National Park.
Through our efforts, and others like us, minerals companies have changed their minds about the extent to which they should exploit their permissions and this led to a notable achievement when Imerys and Watts Bearne Blake decided to give up their china clay permissions that lay within the National Park boundary.
The DPA has also opposed certain types of quarrying operations in the past. Notably, we opposed the re-opening of Ryecroft quarry in the Teign Valley because we felt that the industrial activity would be damaging to the rural environment and there were no strong mitigating economic factors in play. We would oppose similar proposals in future unless it can be shown that they are needed to meet a very local need for a distinctive type of building stone and the impact on the landscape is minimal.