Drive with Moor care on Dartmoor

An initiative to reduce the numbers of animals killed on Dartmoor roads has been launched this week. 

New interactive traffic signs are being installed at several locations in Dartmoor National Park in an effort to reduce the numbers of animals killed each year due to speeding motorists.

The signs, which are being funded through a partnership between the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society (DLPS), Dartmoor Forest Parish Council (DFPC ) and Dartmoor National Park Authority, warn motorists if they are exceeding the 40mph speed limit across Dartmoor.

The signs are being introduced at key locations in an attempt to reduce the numbers of ponies, sheep and cattle killed or injured each year on Dartmoor’s roads.

Andrew Watson, Head of Access & Recreation at Dartmoor National Park said: ‘We are introducing these new signs to remind motorists of the mandatory 40 mph speed limit.  We ask that all who use Dartmoor’s roads drive with Moor Care, taking into account the road and weather conditions, and within the mandatory speed limit. Motorists should expect the unexpected and drive accordingly.’

Karla McKechnie, Dartmoor Livestock Protection Officer, recorded 188 traffic accidents involving animals during 2016, nearly double the 2015 figure.

Karla said: ‘160 animals were killed and 28 seriously injured on the unfenced roads. The amount of animal suffering is enormous with 32 ponies, 5 cows and 123 sheep dying at the roadside from horrific injuries.   I am called to many of these accidents and see the horror at first hand.   My priority at accidents is to put fatally injured animals out of their suffering.   Then I have time to consider why the animals were hit and usually it is obvious from the appalling injuries and damage to the vehicle that speed played a big part.’

Cllr Gregg Manning, Dartmoor Forest Parish Council said: ‘The moors are not just a means of getting from A to B but a working landscape where the animals have the right of way. I am very pleased that the DFPC have been able to assist in funding this equipment.  It is hoped that these signs will help to remind drivers of the correct speed when on the moors. This is a good example of what can be achieved through collaboration.’