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Snow seekers put lives at risk blocking Dartmoor roads

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

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Snow seekers caused traffic chaos and blocked emergency vehicles by turning one of Dartmoor's best-known beauty spots into a giant traffic jam.

Motorists descended on the roads around Haytor as winter weather turned the slopes into a sledger's paradise.

The route from Bovey Tracey's Edgemoor Hotel was closed on Friday – but drivers ignored warning signs and drove up to the base of the rocky summit, leaving the road littered with "indiscriminately" parked vehicles.

The crowds unwittingly prevented a snow plough, vital heating oil supplies and an ambulance attending an injured sledger from reaching their destination on Sunday.

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Rob Steemson, head ranger at Dartmoor National Park, said he spent yesterday drawing the "venom" of angry residents in nearby Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

"The ambulance could not get through because the road was literally blocked – nothing could get up or down for quite a while," he added.

A spokesman for the park authority described the drivers as "inconsiderate".

"It's great to see people enjoying themselves but they have to think about where they are putting their cars," he added.

"As well as emergency vehicles there are farmers with tractors and trailers who need to get to their livestock."

Warnings were issued via the social networking site Twitter, describing the road as "almost impassable".

Ben King posted: "Don't even think about heading up to Dartmoor!"

Devon and Cornwall police sergeant Dave McCaffery urged sledgers to "go somewhere accessible".

He underlined the risks people were running.

"Ambulance services cannot get to you if you break something while sledging."

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22 comments

  • shipmateron  |  January 23 2013, 11:13PM

    Oh I see it's 'we who live in the countryside' is it? Hello we who live in the countryside. How are you we who live in the countryside? Who exactly are you we who live in the countryside? How long have you been we who live in the countryside or were you born like it? So apparently we who live in the countryside want others to have self awareness. Perhaps we who live in the countryside ought to take a look in the mirror?

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  • FromMendip  |  January 23 2013, 8:30PM

    "MuppetAlert has the main point. This sort of reaction to snow on Dartmoor was quite predictable and the police should have been in evidence to supervise it." Yet another job for a rapidly diminishing police force. If politicians decide that police forces need to be reduced in size yet at the same time give them more and more things to do, this is the sort of thing that goes by the board. Anyway, imagine the reaction of some motorists if the police had gone there and prevented them parking. The police would have run the usual gauntlet of being told to go and catch murderers and rapists instead of badgering innocent motorists intent on enjoyment. It's down to people to use common sense and not think of themselves all the time. It's not the job of the police to monitor and guide people in their social or, in this case, anti-social behaviour.

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  • blackbeard9  |  January 23 2013, 6:16PM

    Sorry LucyLastick forgot to mention that I was going via Peek Hill trying to get to Princetown to see Family......get yer facts right Old Girl !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • josdave  |  January 23 2013, 3:57PM

    There's a surprise motorists being selfish.

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  • haunt  |  January 23 2013, 3:24PM

    what a bunch of sad sacks. its a bit of snow and people want to have a bit of fun with it, go and bu--er off you miserable gits

    Rate   -14
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  • SidneyNuff  |  January 23 2013, 1:30PM

    'We who live in the countryside' arre only happy when they are blowing the brains out of some poor innocent animal with a shot gun. And they talk about responsibility.

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  • Wyrdsister1  |  January 23 2013, 12:56PM

    I don't think we who live in the countryside have an issue with anyone coming from the city to enjoying the snow - if they are self-aware and responsible....however, idiots were parking not in the numerous designated car parks and laybys, but lazily, stupidly on the side of the moorland roads wherever they damn well felt like parking. This turned many two-lane roads into one-way systems, causing blockages, hazards to animals, vistors, locals and essential services. If one person decides to stop randomly on the roadside, it is only a matter of minutes before the rest of the unthinking masses decide to park up one by one, like lemmings, behind them. No-one living on Dartmoor thinks it is their private privilege, but we have every right to complain about people who come here with little or no respect for the environment and its people. If you can't get into a car park or lay by, drive on until you find another one - or go home because you do NOT have the right to endanger the lives of Dartmoor residents, animals and responsible visitors with your thoughtless, brainless, careless idiot townie behaviour.

    Rate   26
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  • Sowester  |  January 23 2013, 10:39AM

    That's the trouble with rural lanes: no pavements for the b****** to park on.

    Rate   11
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  • LucyLastick  |  January 23 2013, 10:23AM

    You refer to drivers on Peek Hill as 'STUPID IDIOTS'. Yet you were there too just to look at snow.

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  • realityzone  |  January 23 2013, 9:42AM

    MuppetAlert has the main point. This sort of reaction to snow on Dartmoor was quite predictable and the police should have been in evidence to supervise it. We are living in an increasingly over crowded country people are desperate for a bit of space and fun outside, this sort of incident can only get worse.

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