Dartmoor can be dangerous for the inexperienced walker as its weather is liable to sudden change. The bright sunny conditions at the start of a walk may turn swiftly to fog or soaking rain. At any time from November until April snow may also bring severe conditions.

When walking on the North moor, you also need to be aware of the firing ranges and you should always check the Firing Notices, regularly published by the Army, before planning your walk.

If you are not well prepared, extremes of cold or heat encountered on the moor can threaten you with:-

Always plan your route and leave a copy of it with a responsible person who knows what to do should you not return by a certain time.
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Most of the North moor is used for firing and the danger areas are marked by red and white poles. When live firing is taking place, red flags are flown from prominent positions during the day, with red lights at night.
Firing notices are found at Post Offices, Police Stations, National Park Information Centres and in Friday's Western Morning News.
Don't touch metal objects - they may be explosive!
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What is EXPOSURE ?
This is due to the body losing heat quicker than it can be replaced. It occurs during cold weather or as the result of getting wet during windy conditions (try wetting your hand and blowing on it to show how evaporation causes rapid cooling).

The danger signs are:-

The patient is seriously ill and needs:-

  1. Immediate rest and shelter
  2. Insulation from further heat loss, especially under his/her body (heather or bracken is excellent)
  3. Hot sugar or glucose drink

NEVER give alcohol, nor rub the limbs, nor apply local heat. Neither must the patient be allowed to walk even though he/she says they feel better.

If you are on your own. before leaving the casualty:-

  1. Give him spare food and clothing as it may be hours before the Rescue Group arrives
  2. Make his location obvious
  3. Write down the map reference and description of the place so you won't forget
  4. When you get to a phone dial 999 - POLICE

WIND is your enemy
Walking against the wind slows you down and chills you rapidly. Coupled with rain, it threatens your survival. You must protect against it and try to reduce its effect.

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This is brought about by over-exercising in conditions when the body's heat cannot be dispersed quickly enough. The body becomes dehydrated and overheated.

The danger signs are:-


  1. Rest and shelter from the sun
  2. Remove outer clothing to speed cooling
  3. Apply wet towels to limbs and head
  4. Provide cool drinks and salt in solution

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