Ponies and other livestock on Dartmoor will be kept safer from speeding motorists thanks to an initiative started by Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA), the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society (DLPS), Commoners’m Council and Devon Highways.

Two mobile flashing 40mph speed limit signs are being rotated around the moor at “hot spots”, collecting traffic information and slowing motorists, while a new warning sign is being put up on a dangerous stretch of road.

“While the flashing signs don’t detect number plates, they do collect information about the level of traffic, speed and what time of day the vehicles are passing,” said Marion Saunders, chairman of the DLPS, which is funding the “speed visors”.

“They’re being moved around the moor so we get as much information as possible — for example, one vehicle, we think a motorbike, drove past at 118mph in a 40mph zone.”

The DNPA is collecting the information, which will then be passed to the police.

DNPA head of natural environment Rob Seemson told H&H: “There hasn’t been a speeding prosecution on Dartmoor for some time, so hopefully the information will help persuade the police to come out with speed guns. They mainly concentrate on
the motorways.”

While there is no single body on Dartmoor collating information on the number of animal deaths on the moor’s roads annually, there is one notorious two-mile stretch where 22 animals have been killed over the past 12 months.

“These will have been ponies and sheep,” said Mrs Saunders. “The Highways Agency is putting up a warning sign similar to the ones it uses warning of the number of human deaths.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (26 April, ’07)