Legend of Old Crockern And The Right To Roam VIDEO

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The “right to roam” debate in Dartmoor National Park has taken a fascinating turn with a protest that aimed to raise the spirit of Old Crockern, a legendary figure in local folklore.

The protest for Right to Roam at Dartmoor.
The protest for Right to Roam at Dartmoor.

Dartmoor National Park in southwest England is known for its rugged and windswept landscapes, ancient ruins and folklore.

Recently, the park has been in the news for a different reason – the “right to roam” debate.

This debate centres around the issue of wild camping, which is currently legal in Scotland, but not in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Alexander Darwall, Dartmoor’s sixth largest land owner, recently won a court case against the Dartmoor National Park Authority, arguing that the public has no right to camp on his land.

This decision has sparked controversy and led to a protest by thousands of people on Dartmoor. However, the protest also raised the spirit of Old Crockern, a legendary figure in Dartmoor folklore.

Old Crockern and the Right to Roam

Helen JR Bruce, a folklore expert, explains that Old Crocken is a “landscape Spirit of Dartmoor” who has two versions – the old and the young.

The old version is embodied in the weathered rock face of Crockeen Tor, a granite outcrop on Dartmoor. He has a beard made of green moss and lichen and is a guardian and protector of the land.

The young version of Old Crockeen is one of the various masters of the wild hunt of Dartmoor.

He can call up the wisht hounds, a pack of spectral hounds, to seek revenge if he feels the land has been wronged.

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The protest on Dartmoor aimed to raise the spirit of Old Crockern as a way of highlighting the importance of the right to roam on the land. Helen explains that the protest started with a gathering in a small village of Cornwood, where people set the intention to protect the land and have the right to connect with it spiritually.

They then walked out onto the moor and were surprised by an “amazing wearable puppet” of Old Crockern. Musicians came out, singing and dancing, and the atmosphere was electric.

The protest was a lively event and included a"wearable puppet of Old Crockern".
The protest was a lively event and included a”wearable puppet of Old Crockern”.

The protest aimed to draw attention to the need to protect the land and to highlight the importance of folklore in shaping our understanding of the land. As Helen notes, the protest was not just for spiritual people but for a much broader range of people who care about the land and its folklore.

The protest also showed that folklore is not just about stories and legends from the past but is still relevant and can be a powerful force for social and environmental change.

The right to roam debate is ongoing, and Dartmoor National Park is preparing to contest the recent court decision. The protest on Dartmoor, with its focus on the spirit of Old Crockern, highlights the power of folklore to unite people and draw attention to important issues.

It shows that the land is not just a physical space but also a spiritual and cultural one, shaped by centuries of stories, legends, and beliefs.

By raising the spirit of Old Crockern, the protesters on Dartmoor were able to connect with this rich and fascinating cultural heritage and draw attention to the need to protect the land for future generations.

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