The Duchy’s land on Dartmoor is the largest landholding in its portfolio and comprises approximately one third of the Dartmoor National Park. Most of the 27,300 hectares have been owned by the Duchy since its creation in 1337, and in modern times it is agriculture rather than mineral extraction that dominates the use of the land.
Farms on the Duchy’s Dartmoor Estate occupy about 8,100 hectares. The Duchy also owns 20,200 hectares of common land, which is used by local farmers to graze cattle, sheep and ponies. A harsh climate and relatively poor soil quality means that Dartmoor is best suited to stock rearing and all of the Duchy's 21 farms here are let to tenants who use the land for this very purpose.
After his time at university, the current Duke of Cornwall spent time working on a sheep and cattle farm on Dartmoor to get first-hand experience of the difficulties faced by tenants in such tough conditions. In the decades that followed, The Duke helped to create a number of initiatives and partnerships to support the local community, including the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project, The Dartmoor Farmers' Association and the Dartmoor Woodfuel Cooperative
The wild terrain forms a valuable training facility for the Ministry of Defence, and many more people visit the moors to take advantage of outdoor activities, which range from hiking and horse riding to orienteering and climbing. The Duchy also owns significant sections of the East and West Dart rivers, and their tributaries. Here, people can go fishing for brown trout, sea trout and salmon using a licence granted on the Duchy's behalf by Westcountry Rivers Trust.
In managing the Dartmoor Estate, the Duchy strives to find a balance between its commercial obligations and stewardship of the natural environment. To achieve this, the Duchy works closely with other organisations and communities that share the use and enjoyment of Dartmoor. They include tenants, village communities, Government agencies and local authorities, such as Dartmoor National Park Authority.
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Most of the 27,300 hectares that make up Dartmoor have been owned by the Duchy since its creation in 1337, and in modern times it is agriculture rather than mineral extraction that dominates the use of the land.Read more