The Military Loop Road, Okehampton

Since the mid-1950s there has been ‘permissive’ access for vehicles along some 5km of tarmac road which comprises the military Loop Road, or Ring Road as it is sometimes known. The southernmost point of the road is at Observation Post 15 OP15 which is only 2km from Cranmere Pool. Since the 1980s a policy of ‘benign neglect’ has been applied to the road, resulting in repairs only necessary for the military to continue use of the road for training purposes.

The road is now in places in a very poor condition, and potentially dangerous for private cars.

The Duchy of Cornwall, the landowners, have now proposed that most of the road should be closed to civilian vehicles. Civilian access on tarmac would be allowed only as far as OP22 (Harter Tor) where there would be a barrier and turning area. Car parks at SX 596923, 600920 and 598921 would be improved. The Moor Brook road that leads to a point (SX 591913) between West Mill Tor and Rowtor would be maintained with permissive access for civilian vehicles.

DNPA considered these proposals on 9 January and decided to support the Duchy of Cornwall in principle, with details concerning car parks etc to be decided.

At a meeting of the Executive Committee of The Dartmoor Society on 30 January all members present felt that the Duchy proposal should be supported in principle as it would bring environmental benefits in the widest sense to this part of wild Dartmoor. However, it is recognised that this view is not shared by all our members.

Tom Greeves