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DSRT Admin

DSRT Admin

Sunday, 08 November 2015 12:29

Callout Interrupts Trainee Selection Day

Injured walker at Hameldown Tor

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers worked alongside ambulance personnel to effect a rescue from the Upper Dart Valley

Saturday November 11th we were hosting our annual selection day for new prospective team members when at 11:20 we were called to assist South Western Ambulance Trust with an injured person in the Hameldown Tor area.

On route to the callout we were stood down when the injured person was able to make it to the roadside and a waiting ambulance crew.

Thursday, 17 December 2015 12:25

Search instigated at South Brent

Search instigated at South Brent

At 19:08 on Thursday 17th December the team were called to assist the Devon and Cornwall Police with a missing person search in the South Brent area of South Dartmoor. On the way to the RV, our volunteers were stood down as the person was located at Buckfast Abbey safe and well.

Landrover Ambulance with a Police car behind that is semi obscured.

Sunday, 27 December 2015 12:12

Devon volunteers called to Yorkshire floods

Devon volunteers called to Yorkshire floods

The team have been called out, alongside other Dartmoor teams and Exmoor, to assist with the flood situation in Yorkshire.

Please spare a thought for the 16 DSRT Ashburton members who are driving to York right now to assist with flood recovery work. Please also think of their families and friends whose sacrifice often gets missed.

The search and rescue teams from Dartmoor, Exmoor and Cornwall are all supporting this effort to respond to flooding alongside team members from many mountain rescue teams nationwide.

Please spare a thought for the 16 DSRT Ashburton members who are driving to York right now to assist with flood recovery work. Please also think of their families and friends whose sacrifice often gets missed. The search and rescue teams from Dartmoor, Exmoor and Cornwall are all supporting this effort to respond to flooding alongside team members from many mountain rescue teams nationwide

 On standby

The team were on standby to help with the floods just before Christmas in Cumbria, however we weren’t required.

The SW peninsula region has provided 49 people (22 Swift Water Rescue Technicians, 27 Level 2 trained), 8 4×4 vehicles, 1 boat and 2 water incident search managers. This still leaves over 75% of our personnel and the better part of our resources in the area.

Press Articles

The video is courtesy of BBC Spotlight

Friday, 15 January 2016 10:48

Fears for Missing Newton Abbot Woman

Fears for Missing Newton Abbot Woman

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Dart 62 Landrover ambulance

At 02:23 a full team callout was initiated to support Devon and Cornwall Police with a search for a missing vulnerable woman in her 60’s who had been reported missing from her home around 8pm on Thursday 14th January.

Our team volunteers conducted searches through the woods alongside the River Lemon by Bradley Manor until 07:30 when we were stood down pending further Police investigations.


12 Noon 15th January 2016. Good news, the woman was found safe and well in a Newton Abbot B&B this morning.

Walker stranded with no map, compass, torch or whistle

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers were called at 19:04 this evening by Devon and Cornwall Police to search for a lost walker in the Pupers Hill area of South Dartmoor National Park.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton called out to assist a lost walker who had undertaken his walk with no map, caompass, whistle or torch

A rapid response from our volunteers meant we had teams out on the moor by 19:40 and the casualty was found safe and well by our volunteers at 20:10.

The individual had left his car at Ludgate for a walk on the moor at 4pm this afternoon. Unfortunately, he had no map or compass and as visibility and daylight soon deteriorated, he soon became lost and disorientated. He also had no whistle or torch, essential safety equipment when walking on the moor, so could not signal his location to rescuers.

As weather conditions was good with light winds, our members homed in on the area he was suspected to be in, found him and escorted him off the moor and to his car.

Our duty team Search manager said “Fortunately the gent had a mobile phone which meant we could talk with him and get a good idea of his location before sending out foot teams to escort him off the moor. We recommend that walkers always take a map and compass, and know how to use them, along with essential safety equipment such as a whistle and torch on Dartmoor walks. They don’t weigh much but can make all the difference if you are delayed and find yourself out on the open moor after dark enabling you to find your way or to signal rescuers”.

Safe to say he is a lot wiser now and has learnt a valuable lesson in being properly equipped. We wish him well.

Press Articles

Grough Online:

Poor weather catches out Two Moors Way Walkers

On Tuesday afternoon our duty search manager was contacted by the police who had concerns for two walkers who had dialed 999 after getting disorientated and cold in horrendous weather in the south of Dartmoor National Park.

crossways callout

The pair of walkers had set off from Ivybridge in the morning heading towards their accommodation in Scorriton, as they left the Two Moors Way to join the Abbots Way the weather closed in and they became lost.

After making contact with the walkers our search manager was able to determine their location and initiated a limited team callout. Shortly after 1430 four team members in two Land Rovers drove the 12km along the Puffing Billy Track to Crossways where the walkers were found sheltering in the old explosives hut.

Although cold, one individual was wearing shorts, the walkers were safe and well, hot tea was administered and they were escorted off the moor. The team was stood down shortly after 1700. This incident highlights the importance of dressing appropriately and being adequately equipped for the weather conditions.

Wild wet weather on Dartmoor

Thanks to team member Dave for the photo and video which show how wet and windy it was.

Press Articles


87 with Alzheimer's goes missing in Teignmouth

Our control vehicle and landrover ambulance side by side. Photo shows front of landrover and side of control vehicle

Our volunteers had an early morning alarm call this morning at 06:47 to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with a search for an 87-year-old gentleman with Alzheimer's who had gone missing in the Teignmouth area. Fortunately, he was found safe and well and we were stood down on our way to assist.

At the same time, an incident was just starting in Exmouth which we handed over to our DRG colleagues based at Okehampton whilst we were dealing with the Teignmouth job. Fortunately, that also came to a rapid conclusion and the team were stood down on route.

Saturday, 13 February 2016 10:31

Junior Doctor goes missing in Torquay

Junior Doctor goes missing in Torquay

Shortly after 20:00 on Friday 12th February, a full team callout was initiated to search for a missing female in her mid 20’s who Devon and Cornwall Police were very concerned about.

Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton's Mountain Rescue Landrover DART52 at Teignmouth Golf Course, Devon

The search was focused around the Hopes Nose / Ansteys Cove area of Torquay and consisted of multiple agencies including the Coastguard, RNLI and Helicopter.

Our team of volunteers were stood down around 02:00 and placed on further stand-by to continue the search later in the morning once light. The team has been in further communication with the Police today and as yet no further search activity is required by our volunteers.


Rose’s body was recovered from the sea of Weymouth at the beginning of April. Our thoughts and condolences are with Rose’s family as they mourn her loss.

Teenagers rescued in midst of Storm Katie

CALLOUT to Crossways area of the Abbots Way.

Our team of volunteers had a bit of a late night last night as they were called at 23:45 to search for a group of teenagers who had found themselves in difficulty to the north west of the Avon Dam Reservoir.

Initially a team of 6 members walked out from the dam towards a position indicated by a tracking device the group were carrying. Other team members in our Land Rovers made their way up the puffing billy track to begin searching from west, see video.

An hour after leaving the dam our initial team located the missing group hunkered down in a emergency shelter they had been carrying. They were cold and wet but unharmed.

After a quick check over by our casualty carer the 5 teenagers were walked to Crossways on the puffing billy track to meet our Land Rovers. As one of our Land Rovers drove the teenagers off the moor a number of our members remained with our second land Rover as it had developed an electrical fault and broken down, after 45mins of fiddling a temporary fix had been found and the last of our team members were off the moor and heading to their beds by 0430.

Press Articles

Grough Online:

Motorcyclist injured green laning on Dartmoor

The team was called at 16:13 today to assist the ambulance service with an injured motorcyclist on a green lane in the Scoriton area of South Dartmoor. The injured male was transported to a land ambulance and taken to hospital with a dislocated knee.

Concern for vulnerable missing person in Stoke Gabriel

The team were tasked at 21:07 to assist Devon and Cornwall Police in the search for a vulnerable female who had gone missing from the Stoke Gabriel area on the edge of the River Dart.

One of our team volunteers on the way to the search rendezvous point came across a lady by the side of the road and suspected her to be the missing person we had been tasked to find. Escorting her to the rendezvous this was confirmed by the Police Lost Person Search Manager (LPSM) and the team were stood down.

Missing person search around abandoned car at Dartmoor Reservoir

On the evening of Friday 6th May the team were tasked to assist our North Dartmoor colleagues with a search for a missing 85 year male whose car had been found abandoned in the Meldon Reservoir area of North Dartmoor.

Team members of all 4 Dartmoor teams were already deployed to assist with the annual Ten Tors expedition so a joint team approach was taken in the search for the missing gentleman whilst maintaining cover for the event.

Our members returned to our Ten Tors base at Sittaford Moor Gate on the edge of Fernworthy Forest at around 03:30am with no sign of the gentleman.

Our search and rescue colleagues at Cornwall continued the search for the gentleman and he was located safe and well later during the morning.

Missing person search centred around Seaton in East Devon

At 11:19 on Saturday 14th May the team were called to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with a search for a high risk missing Lithuanian female in the Seaton and Beer area of East Devon.

 The lady in her late 20’s had gone missing earlier that morning and the Police had conducted a search with the assistance of the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter based at Exeter Airport, the RNLI and HM Coastguard.

The call was a joint approach with our colleagues from North Dartmoor and Exmoor Search and Rescue Teams also taking part.

All the Mountain Rescue volunteers were split into various field teams to cover the areas identified as likely locations for a find. Fortunately around 4pm the lady was located and after being assessed by one of our team Dr’s, was handed over to the ambulance service for further treatment.

The call was a great example of not just differing MR teams working seamlessly together, something we regularly train for, but also MR volunteers working alongside other agencies such as HM Coastguard.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton deployed to a callout in the Seaton and Beer area of East Devon

Thanks to Tesco Seaton

We would like to thank Tesco’s at Seaton, who despite a busy sunny Spring Saturday, accommodated all our personal and team vehicles in their car park and fed our volunteers with bacon butties and coffee. Your generosity is very much appreciated.

On the following day, the team were put on standby to search for 2 children who had gone missing on Haytor Down. A concerned member of the public came across 2 children at Smallacombe Rocks asking for directions to Haytor. The member of the public alerted the Police after pointing them in the right direction who put us on standby. The Police managed to locate the parents at Haytor and fortunately the children managed to find their way back.

Multiple Dartmoor incidents on busy Saturday

After a busy morning doing weekly vehicle and kit checks, the team were put on stand by at 13.35 for possible missing persons in the Widecombe area, fortunately, they were located safe and well before being deployed.

An hour and a half later the team were called again to a missing male reported to be unwell in the Piles Copse area.


Piles Copse

On route to the RV we were informed that Police Officers had found the casualty but need assistance in getting off the moor. Both team Land Rovers then made their way along the old tramway where we found a very wet and cold casualty on the track North of Piles Copse. All involved including the finding Police Officers were then evacuated from the moor in DSRT Ashburton Land Rovers, the casualty to a waiting ambulance and Devon and Cornwall’s finest to their cars and hopefully a well earned brew.

A good outcome in what were very poor conditions.

Bodies Discovered in Search for Missing Torquay Man

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton were called out by Devon and Cornwall Police at 16:22 today to assist in the search for missing 39-year-old Torquay man who had last been seen on Saturday (21st May) night. Around 30 of our members took part in the search in the Oddicombe / Babbacombe area of Torquay until being stood down around 22:00 this evening with no further clues or sightings of the missing man being reported.

Our Control vehicle DART02 and Landrover DART62 deployed on a callout at Babbacombe in Torquay

During our search of the area around Petitor Point, around 20:45 one of our search teams found a body which it is believed had been there for some considerable time and not related to the search we were deployed on. This was reported to Devon and Cornwall Police who sent a team to investigate. Items found with the remains which are being used to assist officers with identification.

The second body was located by Police Officers at around 8.10am on Wednesday 25 May, which appears completely unrelated to the human remains discovered the night before. Formal identification has not yet taken place.

The area has been cordoned off and a full investigation is being carried out to establish the circumstances of both deaths.

A team spokesman said on news of the 2nd body being found. “With the body found by one of our search teams last night and the second discovery by the Police this morning, our thoughts and condolences are very much with the families of those concerned at this very difficult time, and we hope identifications are made quickly.”

Press articles:


Ashburton rescuers deployed to Barnstaple missing person search

At 10.30 on the 27th May, North Dartmoor Search and Rescue had a call to assist Exmoor Search & Rescue Team with a callout assisting Devon and Cornwall Police in Barnstaple for a search for a missing vulnerable male.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton 2 Landrover ambulances. DART52 and DART62

Both teams searched, through the night and after 6 hours of searching the missing male had mot been found.

Search breakthrough

At 7am on the 28th May, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Tavistock and Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) took over the search. The missing gentleman was located in Barnstaple a couple of hours later.

Another missing person callout involving multiple Mountain Rescue teams.

Vulnerable missing person search at Moretonhampstead

Full team call out to the hills above Moretonhampstead early in the morning on Saturday 4th June to search for a vulnerable missing person. He was found outside of the area that we had been tasked to search shortly after we had deployed.

Thanks to DSRT Okehampton who were en route to assist.

Busy weekend for Devon rescue volunteers

Call out- The weekend ends as it started; with a full team response to a missing person with possible dementia on the eastern side of Exeter at the end of a day where the team had been fundraising at the River Dart Country Park.

The team were just about to start searching when he was located by family members. All’s well that ends well.

Vulnerable teenager missing at Watcombe Torquay

The team were called by Devon & Cornwall Police at 03:32 in the early hours of this morning to assist with locating a high-risk vulnerable 16yr old, last seen in the Watcombe area of Torquay. Teams were deployed for approx. 3hrs when the misper was reported by a member of the public in the Babbacombe beach area.

She was detained by Maritime Coastguard Agency personnel until Police and an Ambulance could attend, at which point the team stood down.

Blackpool Sands search for missing teenager

At 13:44 on Tuesday 14th June the team were called to assist the Devon and Cornwall Police with a search for a missing vulnerable teenager in the Blackpool Sands area of the South Hams.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton deployed on a search for a missing teenager at Blackpool Sands in the South Hams Devon

Also in attendance were the Coastguard, RNLI boats from Salcombe and Dartmouth, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency helicopter from St Athan in South Wales and our colleagues from our sister team at DSRT Plymouth.

Searching of the local area continued until beyond dusk. At 11pm with the mid-summer light fading, Police decided to close the search for the evening without the missing female having been located.


The Police investigation continues and are appealing for information from the public in helping to locate the missing teenager as the search continues,

Press articles

BBC News:

Thursday, 16 June 2016 08:46

Teenager unconscious on Dartmoor

Teenager unconscious on Dartmoor

Early this morning the team were called out to New Waste near Cornwood to assist our colleagues at DSRT Plymouth to search for a Duke of Edinburgh award team. The D of E team had called the ambulance service and reported that one of their members was unconscious.

The team were located by helicopter and all members were air-lifted off the moor and our volunteers were stood down.

Vulnerable male missing on Woodbury Common

At 20:26 on Sunday evening the team were called to search for a missing vulnerable male with mental health issues in the Woodbury area of East Devon. The team was stood down shortly around 02:00 with our colleagues at Exmoor and North Dartmoor Search and Rescue teams on standby to continue the search.

However good news shortly after we were stood down as the male was located. He had made his way to the Cat and Fiddle pub on the Sidmouth road after going out for a walk and getting lost, we believe in the fields towards Westpoint, possibly because he heard the Elton John concert!. He was fine and in good spirits although soaked through, but safe and well.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said ” Thanks to all Mountain Rescue personnel who turned out, it was a great effort by all in miserable weather and over tough terrain. We really do appreciate it especially, as people are out at all hours and have work / commitments the following day. I know that the home staff and the males family also wanted to pass on their thanks to all of your team members for coming out and doing such a remarkable job. #mortethanjustmountains

Dartmoor Classic followed by search for elderly man

Over the 25th / 26th June our team members and dart2ZERO volunteers were heavily involved with the Dartmoor Classic Cycle Sportive event which attracts 4,000 cyclists each year to tackle routes over Dartmoor. We fundraise, hand out cake to participants and provide our Control vehicle and team members to assist the organisers with the event Silver Control.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Incident Control Vehicle DART02 with Devon and Cornwall Police vehicles on a team callout

Just after we announced the winner of our Prize draw on Sunday and were preparing to return home to our families and a well-earned beer, we received a call from the Police to search for a missing elderly gentleman with Alzheimer's who had gone missing earlier in the day in the Newton Abbot area.

We redeployed to the Passage House Hotel car park from Newton Abbot Racecourse to begin our search. However, shortly afterward the gentleman was found in Kingsteignton and we were stood down. Now, what about that beer ……


Wednesday, 06 July 2016 08:35

Fallen climber at Houndtor

Fallen climber at Houndtor

At 16:59 today the team were called to assist the SW Ambulance Trust with a climber who had fallen from Hound Tor. We were stood down shortly after when the ambulance trust had resolved the incident.

Difficult helicopter winch for badly injured walker

A full team callout was issued at 18:10 on Friday 8th July to assist the SW Ambulance Service with the recovery of a walker who had slipped and fallen 20m on to rocks in the Upper Dart Valley.

Team members walked from the Newbridge car park with the necessary equipment into the casualty site on river left near Bellpool Island to assist paramedics who were on site.

The lady had sustained multiple injuries in the fall and was lying on rocks close to the river edge. It was quickly determined that assistance would be required from Rescue 924, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) S92 search and rescue helicopter based at Newquay to relay the lady to hospital.

The casualty received medical care on site and was transferred onto our vacuum mattress as a precaution against any potential spinal or neck injury. Due to the narrow gorge and tree cover, a safe place needed to be found from which to winch the lady on to the helicopter. We train frequently in the area and had previously identified likely areas for winch evacuation. Members of our rope team rigged rope systems to help transport the casualty safely up the valley side on our stretcher to above the treeline from where the helicopter returned to winch the casualty onboard and onwards to Derriford Hospital.

Team members packed up our equipment, walked back to Newbridge car park and returned to our Rescue Centre around midnight.

Our duty search manager said “The Dart Valley is always a challenging area to rescue people from, and this was quite a difficult one and took several hours. We wish the lady a speedy recovery.”

Press reports

Grough Online:

missing person search near Cheriton Bishop

At 11am on Monday 11th July, the team were called to assist our North Dartmoor colleagues with a search for a missing person in an area near Cheriton Bishop.

Fortunately just after we were called the missing person was found and we were stood down.

Standby – 24/07/2016

Briefly on the 24th July at 18:10, the full team were placed on standby to search for a missing person around the Passage House Inn area of Kingsteignton. The team were stood down at 19:28 with no further action required.

Exeter missing person search turns up no clues

At 18:35 on Thursday 4th August, a full team callout was issued to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with a search centred around the Countesswear Bridge area of the city.

Our search was concentrated around the Counteewear bridge area of the City of Exeter

A male in his 50’s, considered at high risk, had gone missing around lunchtime and his family were concerned for his welfare. Working on what little information there was regarding his potential whereabouts, our search areas were concentrated north of Countesswear Bridge alongside the River Exe and the canal.

3 x field teams, controlled by our Search Manager working alongside the Police Lost Person Search Manager (LPSM), and a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter, searched until 22:30 when our volunteers were stood down.

Exeter search around countesswear

Fortunately, the man returned home in the early hours of the morning safe and well.

Monday, 15 August 2016 07:41

Lone walker lost on Dartmoor camping trip

Lone walker lost on Dartmoor camping trip

A callout for assistance was issued at 09:07 this morning by Devon and Cornwall Police to find a lone walker who had become lost whilst out on a camping trip. The walker was also diabetic and had been advised to stay put in his tent and wait for team members to find him.

A team of 5 team members alongside 2 from our sister team at Plymouth, drove team Landrovers up to the Marker Stone on the Two Moors Way near Crossways from which we walked out to meet him. In the meantime our Search Manager used the SARLOC system to locate his position and pass on the resulting grid reference to the team on the ground.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton called out to assist a missing walker near Eastern White Barrow

We reached the walker shortly after 11:25, assessed his condition and were happy he could be walked off as apart from dehydration, he was perfectly ok.

Our team Leader said. “We have had a number of callouts to the same area this year as walkers get caught out by that section of the Two Moors Way being tricky to navigate as it is not clearly marked. If you are going to attempt the walk, make sure you have the ability to map read and navigate to the required standard.”

“The walker did the right thing in the circumstances and we are pleased he was in good health and we could escort him off the moor to his family, a little wiser than when he left.”

Missing teen entered River Dart at Dartington

The team were called around 22:00 on Friday 5th August to assist Devon & Cornwall Police in looking for a 16-year-old male reportedly entering the River Dart having shed all his clothing.

Totnes Search Managers

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers were tasked to search the Staverton branch-line and various land-based areas, whilst the MCA & RNLI focused on the water environments. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service decided to wait for daylight to put boats in the water following their risk assessment, departing around 1am following searches earlier that evening. MCA personnel continued riverbank searches alongside the Police Dive Team until around 2am. DSRT Ashburton members were stood down around 05:00 having exhausted regions of woodland and field systems identified as high-probability areas.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Control Vehicle on site looking for a missing lad at Totnes

Our team duty Search Manager said: “DSRT Ashburton covered a lot of ground overnight during the 6hr deployment, that focused on high-probability areas around the ‘point last seen’ for the teenager. Missing person behavioral analysis was less predictive in this instance, due to the reported use of new psychoactive substances (NPS); however, the areas targeted included minor roads, tracks and trails, dense woodland, steep ground, river-bank and flood-plain areas, and parts of the Totnes to Buckfastleigh branch-line. The team remains on alert to assist if required.”

Our colleagues at DSRT Plymouth took over the Dartmoor Rescue response on Saturday morning to give our volunteers a rest, following by DSRT Tavistock in the afternoon / evening..

Body discovered

On Sunday morning the 8th August, Police divers discovered a body. The next of kin have been informed in advance of an official identification

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the family at this very difficult and sad time.

Sad end to Valley of the Rocks search at Lynton

Shortly before 5pm on the 15th August, a full team callout was issued to assist our sister teams Exmoor and North Dartmoor Search and Rescue.

Emergency Vehicles

Exmoor had been tasked to assist Devon and Cornwall Police on Sunday with a search for a missing vulnerable male in the Valley of the Rocks area West of Lynton who had not been seen since he checked into a campsite on Tuesday for a one night stay.

North Dartmoor and ourselves joined the search today that along with Exmoor, involved the RNLI, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

Body discovered

Our duty search manager said “We were stood down shortly after 8pm when a body was discovered by an RNLI crew further along the coast. We extend our sincere condolences and thoughts to the family and friends of the person involved at this very sad time.”

Concern for missing vulnerable 59 year old from Exeter

At 19:53 on Tuesday 30th August, a full team callout was issued by Devon and Cornwall Police who had requested assistance in the search for a 59-year-old vulnerable female from Exeter. The lady had gone missing around 4pm and given her neighbours cause for concern.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton on site at a callout near Exeter in Devon

Our volunteers, assisted by our colleagues at North Dartmoor Search and Rescue, searched ground around the Ide / St Thomas / Pocombe Bridge area of the city with no sign of the lady’s whereabouts being discovered.

After completing our assigned search areas the Dartmoor teams were stood down around 02:00 on Wednesday morning.

The Police continued their investigation and the lady was found by officers to have returned home at around 10:00.

A good outcome for all. The search is another example of how Mountain Rescue Teams work together with the statutory emergency services and cover areas beyond the mountains. #MoreThanJustMountains

Sunday, 04 September 2016 14:05

Dartmoor Rescue join major search in Cornwall.

Dartmoor Rescue join major search in Cornwall.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers were called to assist Cornwall Search and Rescue today with a search operation that had been underway since Friday in East Cornwall.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton is a charity based in Devon that relies on public donations for around 92% of its funding. The team is part of Dartmoor Rescue Group (DRG) and Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW). Its Landrover Ambulance, callsign DART52 is fully equipped with specialist rescue equipment

84 year old Derek Dilworth had been missing from his home at Darleyford near Liskeard since Friday afternoon. We joined a coordinated operation that consisted of all 4 Dartmoor search and rescue teams, the fulltime emergency services including the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter.

Derek had been out in the wet weather that swept the peninsula yesterday afternoon and we are delighted that he has been found. He was found cold and wet this morning and was flown to Derriford hospital for a thorough check-up.

Cold East Cross search in busy week for rescuers

AmbulanceWhat turned out to be a busy few days has seen our number of callouts for the year hit 30 as we were called to a search near Cold East Cross in Dartmoor National Park.

The team were called earlier this evening to assist Devon & Cornwall Police with a missing high risk vulnerable male, whose vehicle was discovered in the area earlier by officers. The team, joined by a Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) dog part way through the evening, were deployed to several search areas and the team were eventually stood down before 22:30 once these had been exhausted.

The investigation continues.

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 13:59

Repeat search for missing Newton Abbot man

Repeat search for missing Newton Abbot man

Mountain RescueFollowing last night’s callout to Cold East Cross for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers looking for a missing Newton Abbot male in his forties, the team were called out again this evening to cover another search area highlighted by the Police that they wished to clear as part of the investigation into the man’s disappearance.

The ground covered last night and tonight turned out to be challenging with dense fern, gorse and bramble meaning low Probability of Detection’ (PoD) scores. PoD gives an indication on how throughly a particular search area can be swept. In an ideal world this would be 100% but in areas such as woodland or common land with dense gorse it can be almost impossible to achieve 100% and hence in reality on most searches a lower score can only be achieved.

Once priority search areas have been covered, the Police can then request a a second search in some areas to try and increase the PoD score as a missing person investigation continues. resources at there disposal includes search teams, air assets such as the Police and HM Coastguard helicopters for aerial searches and of course, search dogs.

Further intelligence from a member of the public was received mid way through our search which gave a sighting of the missing person near Teigngrace. Police were dispatched to the area and shortly afterwards the man was found and given the care he needed and we were stood down.

Saturday, 24 September 2016 13:45

Missing person search at Hound Tor

Missing person search at Hound Tor


The team were called to the Hound Tor area of Dartmoor to search for a high risk missing person on Friday evening.

Team members rendezvoused at the Hound Tor car park ready to deploy. As members arrived the missing person was located by the National Police Air Service helicopter and officers on the ground recovered him safe and well.

Dartmoor Rescue called to missing person search at Branscombe

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton assisted Devon and Cornwall Police with a missing person inquiry around the Branscombe area in East Devon this morning.

The man from Exeter went missing on Tuesday 25th October whose disappearance is out of character.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton on a calloit to Branscombe East Devon

Following his car being found in a public car park at Branscombe beach, the team were allocated search areas by the Police which we searched from 08:00 to around midday with no further signs of the missing elderly gentleman.

Devon and Cornwall Police have issued an appeal for information

The Police investigation continues

 Dartmoor Rescue and Air Ambulance rescue walker

Second callout of the day to assist the Devon Air Ambulance with a patient evacuation.

As a Devon search and rescue charity, we assist the emergency services with incidents across the county where they don’t have the equipment or resources to bring the incident to a conclusion themselves. On occasions, we also assist the Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT) to transport patients to their aircraft in remote areas where it is difficult to land close by the accident site. Today was one such occasion when we were tasked to a young lady who had slipped on a track behind Honeybag Tor and broken her ankle. Due to the location of the incident, we were deployed to assist the air ambulance Doctor with the casualty evacuation.

Our trained volunteers were on site within 25 minutes of the callout being raised and, along with the air ambulance crew, and a local farmer’s pickup truck, the lady was transported to the helicopter and taken for further care at Derriford Hospital. We wish her a speedy recovery.

Following the incident we were delighted to receive a thank you card from the casualty who thanked us for our care and good humour helping to keep her spirits up. It's always nice to be appreciated! She is expected to make a full recovery.

Saturday, 26 November 2016 12:54

Overdue Walking Group at Harford Moor Gate

 Overdue Walking Group at Harford Moor Gate

Harford Moor Gate

DSRT AmbulanceDartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers were called on this evening by Devon and Cornwall Police regarding a party of walkers overdue at Harford Moor Gate in Dartmoor National Park.

A mixed group of 8 walkers on the Two Moors Way including adults and children were expected at Harford Moor Gate around 6pm.

They reported by phone that they were 10 mins away but had not arrived, and had lost phone signal, an hour later. This would be easily explained as a misinterpretation of where they were on the tramway and there was no suggestion of mishap or vulnerability.

The team was put on standby in case they were not able to sort themselves out by 8pm. Soon after 8pm it transpired that the group had separated into a faster group of 5 and a slower group of 3 in the Redlake area. The 5 overshot Harford and left the moor near Wrangaton golf course. The police sent a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter to confirm that the remaining 3 were on course. When they were not seen on the tramway a team callout was issued.

As expected this resulted in them showing up at Harford bunkhouse! Members were converging on Bittaford Moorgate that had been chosen so that we could cover the walkers overshoot area, with our sister team DSRT Plymouth covering the Erme valley, but also partly due to access through Harford was difficult due to a serious house fire.

Concern for missing Exeter man in sub-zero temperatures.

With temperatures below freezing, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton was called by Devon and Cornwall Police to search for a missing 47-year-old male in the Barley Lane area of the city of Exeter yesterday evening.

Water Cas 151104 01 150x150Acting on Police intelligence, members searched wooded steep ground on the Western side of the city for any signs of the missing male. Unfortunately, no signs of the whereabouts of his whereabouts were discovered and the team were stood down around midnight.

The missing man Mr Pryce, who lives in St Thomas, hasn’t been heard from for almost a week and police are appealing to the public to help locate him.

Mr Pryce is described as white, 5ft 9in tall, slim build, and short brown hair. Brian wears glasses and has a Japanese symbol tattooed on his left arm.

If you have seen Brian Pryce in the past week, know of his whereabouts or have any information that can aid the police with their search, please contact 999 quoting police log 440 for the 28thof November.

Worried family prompts search for missing teenage Walker 

Last night’s joint training exercise with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Tavistock turned into our 37th callout of the year and the second in as many days as team members arrived at the RV at Two Bridges.

Nav TrainingThe worried family of an experienced and well equipped teenage walker who left home for a few days Dartmoor camping had called Police after no communication had been received from her since she left.

Members from both teams retraced her intended route and other locations on the north moor in freezing temperatures and thick fog looking for her.

Late into the evening a member of the public reported seeing somebody matching her description who had pitched a tent in the Sourton Tors area of the moor. Shortly before midnight the camper was awoken from her peaceful slumber and confirmed to be the person we were looking for.

We were very pleased that she was found safe and well and left her to finish her trip. She is expected home to her very relieved family on Friday.


Be Adventure Smart

Be prepared is the message for enjoying some solitude on the beautiful wilderness that is Dartmoor National Park. Check out our advice pages for a checklist of what to do before and during your trip.

Body found in search for teenager in Otter Valley

CALLOUT 32 / 2017 - 09:00  16th DECEMBER 2017

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton was called to search a number of areas in the Otter Valley between Ottery St Mary and Tipton St John for a vulnerable 15-year-old male this morning, who had been missing since Wednesday.

Team members deployed to East Devon in search for teenager.

Sadly, after about an hour into the search a body was found by one of our foot teams and the location was secured and handed over to Devon and Cornwall Police.
This was a multi-agency effort involving Dartmoor Search and Rescue teams from Ashburton and Okehampton, SARDA search dogs, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Devon and Cornwall Police.

It goes without saying that our thoughts are very much with the family and friends of the young person. Especially so at this time of year.

Dartmoor Mountain Rescue teams are predominently funded by public donation and frequently get called to help find missing people across Devon, including urban areas such as Exeter and Torbay. #MoreThanJustMountains

River Dart Kayaker trapped by partially submerged tree

CALLOUT 31 / 2017 - 10:05  7th DECEMBER 2017

Just after 10 am this morning, the team were called to assist at an incident where a kayaker had been reported as trapped under a tree whilst paddling in the Upper Dart Valley between Dartmeet and Newbridge.

Our volunteers, including our swift water rescue specialists, accompanied Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, Devon and Cornwall Police and South West Ambulance Service to the location beside Bellpool Island up-river from Newbridge.

Map of incident location to recover kayaker

Unfortunately, it became apparent that despite the best efforts of his companions, the rescue had become a recovery operation as the kayaker was still in his upturned kayak, both of which were below the water line trapped beneath a partially submerged tree.

Our volunteers, working alongside Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue and the kayaker's companions, recovered the body early this afternoon. The casualty was loaded on our stretcher and transported safely back to Newbridge and to the care of Devon and Cornwall Police.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton working alongside Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, Devon and Cornwall Polcie and South West Ambulance Service during callout to recover a kayaker on the River Dart.

Our Team Leader said: 'We have a very close bond with the kayakers that paddle this section of the River Dart, and we extend our sincere condolences to the family friends and his paddling companions with him today. We would also like to acknowledge the help of his companions in recovering their colleague. They were all very well equipped for the conditions and very experienced paddlers.'

Greator Rocks casualty airlifted by Devon Air Ambulance

CALLOUT 30 / 2017 - 13:10  26th NOVEMBER 2017

The team were called out earlier today to assist the South Western Ambulance Trust with the evacuation of 2 reported casualties near the Houndtor Medieval Village. Members began to arrive at the Houndtor car park within 30 minutes and walked across the short distance to the Medieval Village. Passing Houndtor and with a good view down to the village, the Devon Air Ambulance was spotted already onsite having landed at Greator Rocks alongside a white Landrover. 

The lead team of 3 of our members arrived at Greator Rocks just as a casualty, understood to be in her 60's,  with a dislocated shoulder had been escorted to the helicopter for evacuation to hospital. The second casualty thought to be her partner was deemed to be non-urgent having initially given cause for medical concern on seeing his partner fall and was in the white Landrover belonging to our sister Dartmoor Search and rescue Team at Plymouth.

The Plymouth Landie escorted the 2nd casualty to the Houndtor car park where he was checked over by one of our team Doctors.

It appears the casualties had been part of a fundraising walk being organised for the Plymouth team who had sent their Landrover along to accompany the event.

Our team members and vehicle congregating at the Houndtor Car park were then stood down.




Wednesday, 01 November 2017 12:50

Teen missing in Lustleigh

Teen missing in Lustleigh

CALLOUT 29 / 2017 - 01:36  1ST NOVEMBER 2017

DSRT Ashburton incident control vehicle at Lustleigh during teenager search

Devon and Cornwall Police raised a callout request to the team at 01:36 alongside other agencies including an NPAS (National Police Air Service) helicopter early on Wednesday morning. A teenager had not returned home and the alarm had been raised.

Shortly after our volunteers began arriving at the rendezvous at Lustleigh around 02:30 am, the young person arrived home safely to 'words of advice'.

Sunday, 15 October 2017 21:27

Trio tackle River Dart in an inflatable

Trio tackle River Dart in an inflatable

CALLOUT 28 / 2017 - 16:30  15TH OCTOBER 2017

At 4:30 this evening (or just as I was about to carve the slow-cooked shoulder of lamb I'd been cooking since 1 o'clock to put it another way). We had a call from Devon and Cornwall Police in relation to an overdue trio of river users n the River Dart.  A lady had reported that her husband and 2 children were overdue after she had dropped them off at Dartmeet to paddle the river with limited safety equipment and an inflatable kayak, and she was waiting for them at Newbridge and they had failed to turn up.

The stretch of the River Dart from Dartmeet to Holne Bridge is arguably the most famous whitewater kayaking river in England.  The Upper Dart is harder, grade III, and on occasions, Grade IV, with the middle 'The Loop' section between Newbridge and Holne Bridge, mostly grade II with a few well-known grade III sections. Hence it should be respected and only attempted by those with the experience to match the conditions with tha appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).

Our team of volunteers train frequently in the valley as it has various access and evacuation challenges due to its steep and wooded sides, and next to no mobile phone coverage meaning it can be difficult for walkers or kayakers in difficulty to raise the alarm if there is an incident.

Given the potential seriousness of the situation and the difficulties in access, the full team was called the team out immediately once called by the Police for assistance with the incidence.

A Police spokesperson said 'Numerous Police units from across the South Hams, Teignbridge and North Devon were dispatched to assist, along with a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter, to work along side the volunteers from Dartmoor Serach and rescue Ashburton'

Fortunately, the family turned up safe and well at Newbridge after the kayak was punctured on rocks en route and they had to negotiate the remaining distance on foot. 

Our team duty search manager said. ' We are very pleased that this family has turned up safe and well. Hopefully they have learned a valuable lesson about learning more about the stretch of river they are planning to tackle and will be better prepared and more cautious in future.'

'When participating in any activity which could pose a risk, please ensure you are prepared properly by understanding the challenge you are undertaking and have the correct equipment, the recommended safety kit and an emergency backup plan just in case something goes wrong.'

'At this time of year the nights draw in quickly and having the means to signal rescuers in the dark along with spare warm clothing, 'just in case' can make a huge difference should you be delayed due to kit failure or injury.'

We were pleased to be notified by Police that the missing party had arrived safe but behind their schedule. Alls well that ends well.

As ever thanks to our families, and supporters who continue to support the team and the work we do.

And although the slow-cooked lamb shoulder was tepid, it was still absolutely delicious.




Vulnerable man airlifted to hospital from Dartington

CALLOUT 27 / 2017 - 12:55  4TH OCTOBER 2017

Shortly after midday today, the team responded to a request by Devon and Cornwall Police to search for a vulnerable missing person in the Totnes area.

Police helicopter on site ready to collect a casualty from Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

Our volunteers were deployed from the Dartington Estate and shortly after the search was initiated, a Devon and Cornwall Police search dog located the missing person.

Our team doctor assessed the casualty on site and, alongside other team personnel,  transported him to a landing area ready for the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter to evacuate the male to the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital.

Keith Lambeth the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Team Leader said: 'Our thoughts are very much with the missing person and we wish him a speedy and full recovery. We'd also like to acknowledge the support received from our dart2ZERO supporters without whom, we wouldn't be able to carry out this life saving work for our local community.'

15 team volunteers were able to respond to the callout.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 20:14

Search for a missing man from Totnes

Search for a missing man from Totnes

CALLOUT 26 / 2017 - 10:00 30TH SEPTEMBER 2017

Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers were asked by Devon and Cornwall Police to continue a search for a high-risk male who had been initially reported missing on the 16th September.

Deployed to the Totnes area, our volunteers searched several areas of woodland and fields alongside three dogs and handlers from the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA), to eliminate final intelligence tasking by the Police..

Searching most of the day, unfortunately, no evidence indicating the missing person's whereabouts was found and the Police investigation continues.

Rescue specialists search South Devon cliffs for missing person

CALLOUT 25 / 2017 - 09:30 29TH SEPTEMBER 2017 

At just after 09:00 this morning our steep ground specialists were called out to assist Devon & Cornwall Police with an ongoing male despondent missing person search in South Devon.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers searching steep ground near the coast in South Devon


Alongside HM Coastguard, DSRT Plymouth, and Devon and Somerset Fire Service teams, which was a continuation from a previous day's search,  we searched a steep heavily overgrown quarry around Beesands until being stood down at 1700.

Search teams were deployed to various areas around sheer and steep ground slopes within the quarry, supported by the Police Drone Unit which sought to identify possible areas out of sight from the ground.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers searching steep ground near the coast in South Devon

Unfortunately, no trace of the missing person was found and the Police investigation continues.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers frequently help the Police with missing person inquiries not just in Dartmoor National Park, but across Devon and on occasions, to major incidents nationally. #morethanjustmountains





Friday, 22 September 2017 23:02

Dartmoor walker lost as darkness falls

Dartmoor walker lost as darkness falls

CALLOUT 24 / 2017 - 19:18 22ND SEPTEMBER 2017 

At 19:18 on Friday evening Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers were called out to search for a middle-aged walker who had become lost on the south moor of Dartmoor National Park.

Fortunately, the walker was in an area of good mobile phone coverage and managed to use his mobile phone to call for help. He had become disoriented on Dartmoor as the weather deteriorated and darkness fell and although unharmed was unaware of his location.


By talking to the walker our search manager ascertained that he was probably near the puffing billy track somewhere north of Three Barrows. Two rescue team landrovers were dispatched to drive along the track while search control was established at Shipley Bridge. Mobile phone contact was maintained with the walker and he was talked towards the track and told to look for the blue flashing lights of the landrovers. At 20:33 he was located and was, as expected, on the puffing billy track 1Km north of Three Barrows near Left Lake mires.

Location of the casualty when picked up by our Landrovers.

He was returned by landrover to Shipley Bridge a little cold and damp but none the worse for his experience.  Our search manager said:  ‘The walker was lucky that he was in an area of mobile phone coverage as we could work out quickly where he was likely to be. If he had no mobile signal we may have had to search all night and considering the bad weather there was a chance he would have become hypothermic'.

Be Adventure Smart

Before heading out on Dartmoor or any wilderness area, make sure you are properly prepared. 'Be Adventure Smart'. Check out the Advice section on our website for lots of advice. Be Adventure Smart



High-risk despondent female missing from Exeter

CALLOUT 23 / 2017

  • 23 Aug 2017 – Standby – Haytor: The team were put on standby approx. 13:20 to assist South Weast Ambulance Services Trust and their Hazadous Area Response Team (HART) should they require, regarding an injured walker at Haytor. Paramedics were in attendance and managed to evacuate the lady with a suspected broken ankle without further assistance, and the team were stood down shortly after 14:15.
  • 25 Aug 2017 – Exeter: CALLOUT 23/2017 The team were called approx. 21:00 and put on standby regarding a high-risk despondent female missing from the Exeter Arena area. This went to a full callout once the results from a Police mobile phone check indicated she was still in the area. The team were stood down approx. 22:30 following the misper being located by the Devon and Cornwall Police Lost Person Search Manager (LPSM) enroute to the RV.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 16:58

Lost walkers spark huge Dartmoor search.

Lost walkers spark huge Dartmoor search.

CALLOUT 22/2017 - 08:02 12TH AUGUST 2017 

The team were called out this morning along with our colleagues at Plymouth, to continue a search operation that had been underway since yesterday evening involving the Dartmoor teams at Tavistock and Okehampton.

Two walkers who set off on Thursday for a camping trip from Burrator heading towards Okehampton via Postbridge, had reported being lost on the Northern part of Dartmoor. Two phone conversations with them indicated they were possibly in the Rough Tor / Cut Hill area and that they were wet and borderline hypothermic; however, no further communication had been possible after 9pm Fri night.

Team members returning from callout for missing walkers on Dartmoor

All four Dartmoor Rescue teams were involved in a 13hr search for two walkers on Fri 11th into Sat 12th Aug, in an area of approx. 150sq miles North of Postbridge.  Foot teams from Dartmoor SRT Tavistock and Okehampton, with resources from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue were deployed from 9pm Fri evening, and stood down just before first light having covered high probability areas around the location where the two walkers reported being lost.  The search was then continued by Dartmoor SRT Ashburton and Plymouth teams, supported by helicopters from the Coastguard and Police, SW Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) members, and D&C Police.

Shortly after 9am Sat morning, a chance conversation with a farmer who came across a Plymouth team told them his wife had given a lift to 2 walkers into Tavistock that morning, and he was confident that it was the 2 we were looking for.  This was confirmed shortly after 10am when the Police were able to contact relatives to learn the walkers were being picked up from Plymouth bus station, both safe and well.

A DRG spokesperson said that “It would be very helpful if walkers who self-rescue, having raised the alarm, make sure they contact the emergency services at the first opportunity to let them know they are OK, so as to avoid unnecessary efforts being made to locate them.

The search which was conducted over 13hrs included the following volunteers, assets and personnel from the statutory agencies:

  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton (23 volunteers)
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Okehampton (15 volunteers)
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Plymouth (12 volunteers)
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Tavistock (17 volunteers)
  • SW Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (7 personnel)
  • Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue USAR team (10 personnel)
  • Marine and Coastguard Agency Rescue 187 SAR Helicopter (+ 4 crew)
  • Devon & Cornwall Police NPAS Helicopter (+3 crew)
  • Devon & Cornwall Police (6 personnel)

We are glad of course to hear they survived their ordeal, which is due in no small part to being well prepared with the right clothing, food and shelter.  We trust that should they re-attempt their excursion in the future, additional consideration should be given to: a) leaving an intended route-card with family members, b) carrying a GPS device so as to pinpoint their location periodically, and c) establishing a check-in process to advise on progress or issues”.

The photos shows an Ashburton search team returning to Postbridge after the lost walkers had been located.

Overnight search for Budleigh woman in East Devon

CALLOUT 21/2017 02:10 9th August 2017

 Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers have been out overnight assisting Devon and Cornwall Police with a search for a missing person at Budleigh Salterton alongside the RNLI and HM Coastguard teams from Beer and Exmouth.

The lady was reported missing yesterday evening and following initial Police investigations, the team were called out to assist with the search. We covered areas alongside the River Otter up towards East Budleigh and to the west of the town around the cliffs and gold course with no further clues as to the lady's whereabouts.
Dartmoor Rescue searching the beach at Budleigh Salterton for a missing person

A team spokesman stated "The lady has no previous history of going missing and her disappearance is completely out of character. Our volunteers have been stood down for the present pending further Police enquiries If anybody has any information concerning her whereabouts, please call the Police on 101."

Our volunteers were stood down just after 07:00 and returned home to prepare for the working day.


During the morning of the 9th August, walkers along the coastal footpath heard calls for help and reported the calls to the emergency services. Exmouth Coastguard attended the scene and located the missing lady who had slipped from the path and was in bushes below the path. Her location was such that the Marine and Coastguard Agency Rescue 187 helicopter from St Athan was called and she was winched to safety.

Rescue 187 helicopter. Picture courtesy of Exmouth Coastguard

The helicopter landed on Budleigh Salterton golf course and handed over to South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust HART team before being transported by road to Hospital. We understand the lady has made a full recovery which is great news.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers, like all Mountain Rescue teams in England and Wales, don't just respond to calls for help in the hills and mountains, they also assist Police with missing person inquiries. Hence our area doesn't just cover Dartmoor National Park, we help Devon and Cornwall Police search for those in need across Devon including urban areas like Exeter and Torquay.  


Duke of Edinburgh walker collapses on Dartmoor

A beautifully sunny but busy day for our volunteers on Mothers Day this year.

The team was placed on standby at 11:55 to search for a 12-year-old child who had gone missing in Exeter. Fortunately the child was located before a callout was initiated and we were stood down.

Helicopter evacuation from Crossways

Around 14:45 a full-team callout was issued to assist a 17-year-old female on a Duke of Edinburgh Scheme expedition who had collapsed near Crossways on the south of Dartmoor National Park.

Fortunately, one of our members happened to be in the area at the time and assisted on the scene as team members made their way to the location.

Devon Air Ambulance was engaged to assist and on reaching the location, the rest of the team were then stood down until the next callout later in the afternoon.


UPDATE: We are pleased to report after receiving treatment in hospital for very low Potassium and Sodium levels, the walker was released to go home late on the Sunday evening.


Multi agency search for lady with dementia in Torquay

CALLOUT 20/2017 - 18:13 5th July 2017

The team were called out to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with the search for an elderly lady with dementia who had gone missing in Torquay earlier in the day. The lady was last seen near the Babbacombe Cliff Railway and our volunteers plus Torbay Coastguard were deployed to cover areas around the cliffs radiating out from the point last seen.

Dart02 the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton incident control vehicle on site at Babbacombe Model Village

Shortly after deploying the lady was found by a Police officer outside our search area safe and well and all agencies were stood down and we returned to our training session at Haytor Rocks.

Standby: 26th July 09:33  

Shortly after 09:30 am on the 26th July, the team was placed on standby for a callout to assist in a missing person search at Paignton. Further Police investigations throughout the morning lead to the person being found safe and well on a nearby beach at around 13:20 and the team were subsequently stood down.

Friday, 23 June 2017 23:39

Suspicious scene at Devon beauty spot

Suspicious scene at Devon beauty spot

CALLOUT 20:44 23rd July 2017

On Friday evening Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers were called to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with a suspicious scene at Kennick Reservoir between Hennock and Christow. The scene was suspicious in that it gave concern that a member of the public may have been injured in the area and hence a search was required to check nobody required medical help.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton called to assist the Police at Kennick Reservoir

A Police Dog and National Police Air Service helicopter were used for an initial search, and forensic officers were called to examine the scene and undertake analysis to determine whether the cause for concern was justified.

Fortunately, the forensic team came quickly to the conclusion that the scene was not what it appeared and the team were stood down shortly after arrival.

Sunday, 11 June 2017 23:35

Top Tor walker injuries ankle in slip

Top Tor walker injuries ankle in slip

CALLOUT 13:06 11th June 2017

Volunteers at Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton have been called by the Police 8 times in the last week to assist in various call for help incidents. Out of those 8 calls, 4 have resulted in a full team callout with the 4th this afternoon.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton called to assist the ambulance service with the evacuation of a lady who had taken a fall to the west of Top Tor, sustaining a lower leg injury in the process.

We were called to assist the ambulance service with the evacuation of a lady who had taken a fall to the west of Top Tor, sustaining a lower leg injury in the process.

Our volunteers were with the casualty in less than 25 minutes from getting the call where we packaged her on to our stretcher, carrying her to Hemsworthy Gate and the waiting land ambulance.

The lady was taken to hospital to have her injury assessed and we hope she is back on her feet again soon.

Search for high-risk female on Exeter Canal

Callout: Thursday 8th June at 23.10

Dartmoor Search and Rescue were called by Devon and Cornwall Police on Thursday 8th June at 23.10 to assist in searching for a high risk missing person at the Double Locks area on Exeter canal.

Alongside our colleagues from North Dartmoor SRT, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Urban Search teams.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Control vehicle Dart02 on site at a missing person enquiry in Exeter

SARDA and police dog units we were tasked to search the wooded and open areas with DSFRS boats being deployed to the river and canal basin. The search continued until approximately 05:00 when we were stood down.

The missing person was found by a police dog unit outside of the initial search areas at 05:00 on Saturday morning. A very good outcome after an intensive search.

We wish the lady a full and speedy recovery.

Frequently Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers are called to assist the Police not just in Dartmoor National Park, but across Devon including urban areas such as Exeter and Torbay. #MoreThanJustMountains

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 23:23

Sad end to Berry Head search for despondent

Sad end to Berry Head search for despondent

Callout to Berry Head, Brixham

After finishing in the early hours of June 7th, the team were called again late that afternoon for a high risk missing person in the Berry Head area.

We were tasked to search the cliffs, the Berry and the forts together with the more inaccessible areas along the cliff tops and inland. High gusting winds and rain made the task more difficult and meant careful searching was required especially near the cliff edges, the team continued until being stood down around 21:00.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton control vehicle Dart02 on site at a Berry head callout for a missing person.

We were saddened to learn that the individual's body was washed up on a beach in East Devon later in the week. Our thoughts are with the family.


Concern for high risk missing person in Dawlish

Callout: June 6th - Dawlish

On Tuesday 6th June Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers were called by Devon and Cornwall Police to the Dawlish area to search for a high risk missing person.

The search encompassed nearby farms and woodland areas and continued across the cliffs and railway lines; the team together with coastguard rescue and the MCA helicopter searched until the early hours when we were stood down.

On Thursday 8th June Police confirmed the identity of a body located at Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis.

Our thoughts are with the family.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Landrover ambulances on site at an Exeter missing person callout

Monday, 29 May 2017 23:14

Exeter search finds a body

Exeter search finds a body

Callout: Exeter Canal Basin

Dartmoor Rescue volunteers were called out at 01:50 this morning to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with a search in the Haven Banks area of Exeter. We were joined by North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team and worked alongside Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service until being stood down at 06:45.

Exeter Haven Banks Dart62

We were saddened to learn that the missing person's body was recovered from the River Exe 6 days after our search by Police divers. Our thoughts are very much with the family

Multi-agency search for vulnerable male across Torbay.

Callout: Torquay

Dartmoor Rescue volunteers were called out on Monday evening to Torquay to search for a vulnerable male who had gone missing earlier in the day and the Police were concerned for his welfare.

Dart02 torbay

Our team of volunteers searched scrubland and park areas around the Willows and Broomhill Way retail parks. for over 3 hours. The Police had been in sporadic contact with the individual throughout the evening before he terminated the calls. Our teams were stood down shortly after 10pm.

Other agencies were also involved in the search including Torbay Coastguard, Berryhead Coastguard, The National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter and the RNLI.

Further investigations by Devon and Cornwall Police after we were stood down indicated the individual was outside our search areas. He was located at Berry Head shortly before midnight and taken to hospital for treatment.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:00

Teenage walker injured in Dartmoor fall

Teenage walker injured in Dartmoor fall

Callout Sharp Tor, Upper Dart Valley

At 12:36 the Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton volunteers received their second callout of the day. This time to assist the ambulance service with a casualty evacuation following a fall at Sharp Tor on the edge of the Upper Dart Valley.

Dart62, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton's crew landrover ambulance

As our members arrived at the RV, we were stood down as the ambulance service had stabilised the casualty and were able to evacuate without our help.

Search for walker lost around Haytor Rocks

Callout - Overnight search on Haytor Down

At 02:15am a full Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton callout was issued for our volunteers to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with a search in the Haytor Rocks area of Dartmoor for a male in his 40’s.

craig map reading

The missing male had driven to Haytor earlier in the evening. Following a reported conversation with his wife around 11pm to say he was returning home, the Police were called when he didn’t appear.

An initial Police search concentrated around Haytor as his car was found in the top Haytor car park, Fearing he may have lost his way as the area was fog-bound at the time, or taken a fall from the rocks or quarries in the area, our members were deployed. Attempts to call him on his mobile phone failed as the phone appeared to be out of network coverage or turned off.

Team members searched the area of moor surrounding Haytor across to Black Hill and Hound Tor overnight with no trace found. We were stood down shortly after 08:00 when the man had been located safe and well In the Liverton area.

Our soggy team members returned home to prepare for work and to dry kit ready for the next callout.

2017 05 17 08.03.43


Search in heavy rain for missing Exeter teenager

It has been a busy day for our Dartmoor Rescue team volunteers after welcoming 170 people on our Templer Way Challenge fundraising event. The team were on their way back to the Rescue Centre after the event when they were diverted to assist Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service with a search for a 17-year-old boy in Exeter.

dart02 exeter1

Our team of volunteers searched areas of woodland and undergrowth between Northbrook and Salmonpool weir in heavy rain with no further clues or sighting reported. We were stood down at around 10:30 pm and our soggy volunteers returned home to their families.

Callout update

A body was found in woods outside our search area on Monday May 1st. The thoughts of our volunteers are very much for the family at this very difficult time.

Dartmoor Rescue assist Air Ambulance with fallen climber at Haytor

Callout – Fallen climber at Haytor.

Just as Dartmoor Rescue volunteers were settling in to its regular Wednesday evening training session, this week a water rescue briefing in the River Dart at Buckfastleigh, we were called to assist the Devon Air Ambulance with the evacuation of a climber who had fallen from Haytor.

Team Helicopter at Climber Fall

The climber was leading a climb on Haytor Rock and had taken a fall. Fortunately his runners protected him and he continued to climb. Higher up the rock he took another fall and this time his higher up protection failed and he fell to the ground.

devon climber haytor

His belayer, along with his lower runners, managed to take some of the force out of the fall, no doubt saving him from more serious injury.

The Air Ambulance was called, and we were called shortly after to assist with the evacuation of the casualty to the helicopter. As we were on a training night, members were on scene quickly and assisted with his transfer to the helicopter for onward transport to hospital. We hope the climber makes a speedy recovery.

Climber injured in fall at Devon climbing rock

Callout - Chudleigh Rocks 17:45

Following the earlier callout and standby, later in the afternoon around 17:45, Dartmoor Rescue volunteers were called to assist the ambulance service with an evacuation of a climber who had fallen 15m whilst leading on a route on Chudleigh Rocks.

Evacuating a climber to the waiting ambulance who had fallen 15m whilst leading a climb at Chudleigh Rocks

Unfortunately his protection had failed resulting in him hitting the ground, catching his head on a rock. Because he was wearing a helmet, which sustained a large dent in the fall, his injuries were a lot less severe than they would have been.


Team members and the ambulance service worked together to evacuate him on a spinal board to the waiting ambulance for evacuation to hospital. We wish him a very speedy recovery.

The route on Chudleigh rocks where a climber fell whilst leading.

Thursday, 20 April 2017 13:41

Vulnerable adult missing on Haytor Down

Vulnerable adult missing on Haytor Down

Our regular Wednesday night training session was interrupted with a call from Devon and Cornwall Police to assist them with a missing person search in the Haytor area.

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The training session was a joint Dartmoor Rescue exercise involving all 4 teams along with an 846 NAS Merlin helicopter from Yeovilton, in preparation for the annual Ten Tors event to be held in a couple of weeks time. The helicopter crew very kindly delivered a number of our team members from the White Tor area on the West side of the moor to the Visitor Centre car park in readiness for the search.

The missing adult had gone for a run and not returned when expected. Team members congregated in the car park to await deployment whilst the Police Helicopter (NPAS) conducted search patterns across the Down.

Spotted by member of the public

A phone call was received by the Police around 9pm from a member of the public who was concerned about an individual matching our missing person’s description, who was spotted in Chudleigh Knighton. Police attended the scene and around 9:30pm the team were stood down when the person was located by Police safe and well.

Thursday, 09 March 2017 10:19

Body of man located at Newton St Cyres

Body of man located at Newton St Cyres

The team have spent the day searching the area around the river Creedy near to Newton St Cyres. We were continuing a search that DSRT Okehampton had started on Wednesday evening and had carried out until 0130.

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Devon and Cornwall Police are concerned for the welfare of a missing elderly gentleman.

Our water specialists joined officers from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue to search the river whilst other team members provided bankside support.

A report on the search by the Crediton Courier

Callout update

Devon and Cornwall Police released the following statement on their website on the 29th March 2017.

‘Police have located the body of a man during the search for Peter Giles from Newton St Cyres. Officers were concerned for the welfare of Mr Giles, 70, who was reported missing on 8 March. His Land Rover Discovery was found in an area known locally as ‘Newton Rec’ in Newton St Cyres and police carried out detailed searches of the area. The body of a man was located in the River Creedy in Newton St Cyres on 24 March. Formal identification has not yet been carried out but the family of Mr Giles has been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.’

Our thoughts and condolences are with the family of Mr Giles at this very sad time.

Monday, 06 February 2017 08:22

Climber injured in fall at Bonehill Rocks

Climber injured in fall at Bonehill Rocks

At 15:15 on Sunday 5th February the team were called to assist the ambulance service’s HART team with a fallen climber at Bonehill Rocks.

A group had been bouldering on the rocks close to Widecombe in the Moor when one fell and injured their back.

Devon Air Ambulance

Several team members including our two team doctors were close by and soon assisting the HART paramedics, as more team members arrived the casualty was moved to a more sheltered location and kept warm before being carried to the Devon Air Ambulance.

The team was stood down shortly after 16:00.

Sunday, 19 February 2017 08:16

Overdue Kayakers spark River Dart search

Overdue Kayakers spark River Dart search

Callout: 21:00 Sunday 19th February

21:00 on Sunday 19th February Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton were called by Devon and Cornwall Police due to concerns for two overdue kayakers on the upper section of the River Dart.


The pair had set off with a group from Dartmeet and after a while had decided to get out of the river and walk out to meet the rest of the group who had continued kayaking. When the pair didn’t reach the car park and darkness fell their friends alerted the police who then called the team out.

Believing the missing kayakers to be on the south bank of the river, two team members took a Land Rover upstream from New Bridge for a hasty search whilst the rest of the team prepared to carry out more thorough searches and our swift water technicians and rope experts prepared to carry out a technical evacuation if required.

5 foot search teams were sent to search both sides of the river. Thankfully the missing kayakers were located safe and well just before 23:00. They were walked to one of our Land Rovers and driven back to New Bridge to be reunited with their group.

An incident like this shows the importance of being prepared. It would have been dark under the trees in the valley before 1700; the missing kayakers didn’t have any torches with them so were in complete darkness for 6 hours. Thankfully it was quite a warm night. #BeAdventureSmart

Chumleigh search involves four Mountain Rescue Teams

Callout 20th February Chumleigh

The evening of Monday 20th February saw Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton team members join colleagues from DSRT Okehampton, DSRT Tavistock, Exmoor Search and Rescue and search dogs from Cornwall.

Devon and Cornwall police were concerned for the welfare of a person believed to in an area close to Chulmleigh. At the height of the search 60 members were involved searching farm and wood land.

Emergency Vehicles

Missing person located

At 2300 as we were finishing our primary search areas we received information that the missing person had been located outside of our search area, allowing us to go home to our beds.

This callout was a great example of neighbouring Mountain Rescue teams working together, allowing large areas to be searched quickly and effectively.

Missing teenager sparks search around Ivybridge

Callout: 12:50 Friday 3rd March - Ivybridge

AmbulanceAt 12:50 on Friday 3rd March the team was called to assist DSRT Plymouth with a search for a missing teenager from Ivybridge.

As the first of our search teams were starting to search farm and woodland to the north of the town, the police received information that our missing person had been located out of our search area.

The team was stood down at 14:40 allowing members to return to their day jobs.

Monday, 19 March 2018 19:31

The return of the 'Beast of the East'

The return of the 'Beast of the East'

Callouts 11 and 12 of 2018.

CALLOUT 11 / 2018 - 08:00 18th March 2018

Our Landrover ambulance DART62 on the B3192 to Teignmouth

Following our deployment 2 weeks ago as part of the Haldon Hill emergency snow plan, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers were again deployed as part of the emergency response to a second snowstorm to hit the county.

Our volunteers were deployed at Haldon Hill and also our Rescue Centre at Ashburton to cover various pinch points on the Devon Expressway (A38) corridor. 

Our task is primarily about welfare checks on cars but, inevitably, we do also get involved with trying to help keep the roads clear that have been blocked by stranded vehicles.

The A38 over Haldon Hill was kept open very successfully bar a few minor short-term closures. The A380 at Telegraph Hill to Torquay was sacrificed early on so as all efforts could be focused on the A38. Reports of Road Traffic Collisions (RTC's) were frequently being received by the Police including a reported 20 car pile up at Ideford Dip on the A380. Although that report proved to be inaccurate.

One area of problems that our volunteers were called to assist with was the B3192 from Ashcombe Cross on the A380 to Teignmouth. The road had not been cleared by snow ploughs and 2 wheel drive vehicles attempting to climb the hill were getting stuck and blocking the road preventing emergency access. We managed to clear the route along with some help from volunteer 4x4 drivers and returned back to our Haldon Hill base at the Haldon Forest Diner around 5pm when we were stood down for the evening pending further problems.

Team member Stuart checking a stranded vehicle on the B3192 between Teignmouth and Ashcombe Cross

Team search manager Dave Close said "Our volunteers have once again been out and about checking on motorists and their passengers as part of our role to assist with maintaining the Devon Expressway during severe weather events. We'd like to thank them for their professionalism and committing their time to helping the community.  We'd also like to thank the Haldon Forest Diner" for once again looking after our volunteers in between deployments. It really is very much appreciated."

CALLOUT 12 / 2018 - 18:25 19th March 2018

At 18:25 on the 19th March, the team were called out by Devon and Cornwall Police to assist in the search for a missing 10-year-old girl at Christow in the Teign Valley.

As our volunteers were making their way to the Rendevouz in Christow, there was some good news as the girl was found and the team stood down.

Winners! SW search and rescue teams celebrate award success.

The best of the South West celebrated this week at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards held under the last Concorde to ever fly at Aerospace Bristol.

And we were delighted to be recognised with a special Outstanding Contribution award given to the South West Mountain, Cliff and Cave Rescue Teams for the huge voluntary contribution to looking after visitors as well as their pets.

Our team leader Keith said "We are delighted that all the search and rescue teams in the region have been recognised with this award. Our volunteers give up a huge amount of their time to be part of the team fundraising, training and on callouts. It can be very disruptive to family and work life so this award is very much for them, their families and employers, as without their support we wouldn't be able to provide the life-saving service we do."

Team members collect a special outstanding contribution award at the SW Tourism Awards 2019.

 Nell Barrington on behalf of the South West Tourism Alliance presenting the award said "The success of tourism in our Region is not just dependent upon businesses such as those we’re celebrating this evening, but also other bodies & agencies that play a huge role in our success. "

"One such service is run entirely by volunteers and proportionately has more rescues involving visitors to the South West than those who live and work here. " 
"This is the service that looks after our visitors and local residents:  those who get lost on the moors, who get stuck on cliffs and a whole unimaginable range of difficult, sometimes life-threatening situations. " 
"AllTeams annual running costs come from fundraising, they receive no statutory funding."
The SW teams recognised with the award were:
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton
  • North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team - Tavistock
  • Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team - Plymouth
  • Exmoor Search & Rescue Team
  • Cornwall Search and Rescue Team
  • Devon Cave Rescue Organisation
  • Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue
  • SARDA (Search and Rescue Dog Association) SW

Team members Paula and Alec (3rd and 4th left) attended the awards with other representatives from the SW teams.

Volunteer Doctors enhance medical care for casualties

Last night's training exercise was a joint agency exercise where we worked with BASICS Devon volunteer professional Doctors who specialise in expert medical care where lives hang in the balance.
Dartmoor Rescuers begin to enter the water at Haytor Quarry to reach a casualty
A scenario involving a fallen climber stranded on a difficult to access ledge was set on Haytor Rock, and 2 separate water-related incidents around the pond at Haytor Quarry involving a deteriorating hypothermic casualty and another who needed an emergency leg amputation due to a foot entrapment in the water and a deteriorating cardiac condition.
Dartmoor Rescue volunteers attend a casualty on a stretcher whilst a BASICS Devon Doctor looks on.
Team members and BASICS Doctors worked alongside each other to effect smooth rescues with expert casualty care being received on-site at the casualty locations.
Our Team Leader Keith said: 'The exercise was designed to get a better understanding of the skills of each organisation and how best we can work together to ensure the best outcome for the casualty.  We always pick up valuable learning points from these exercises and last night was no exception. The good news is all three casualties were rescued safely and received effective expert medical care even before they had reached the ambulance. Had this been a real incident, the joint working between us and BASICS Devon would have given them the best chance of a good recovery. '
A casualty receives CPR on a Dartmoor rescue sled after being rescued from a rock ledge by a pond
You can find out more about BASICS Devon at The volunteer Doctors are tasked by the South Western Ambulance Service control room. Many call-outs they respond to are to the victims of major trauma, often involving road accidents.

Volunteers and emergency services at Devon major incident

Today the team took part in a multi-agency exercise that simulated a major incident involving multiple casualties.

Volunteer search and rescue teams from across the region, supported by Devon & Cornwall 4x4 Response volunteers, worked alongside the full-time statutory services including the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team, SW Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and Devon and Cornwall Police.

The exercise took place in Kingsteignton and included professionally made up casualties with very realistic injuries.

Thanks to Sibelco for allowing the exercise to take part in their quarry and DC Police for organising.
A very worthwhile afternoon that promoted the expertise of all the teams involved and how best we can all work together - not just on major incidents but also on the day to day incidents we respond to on a regular basis.
Thanks to BBC South West for the film report.

Major investment to bring vital radio network into 21st century

WESTCOUNTRY lifesaving volunteers are hoping a new prize draw will give them a flying start towards funding a major upgrade to bring its radio communications into the 21st century

For decades the radios used by members of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team in Ashburton have hardly changed.

The Ashburton team has had to retire 15 of its VHF radios but still needed to communicate effectively when responding to the 35 callouts for the lost, missing and injured it receives each year. 

it took the opportunity to look at how it communicates and found digital technology could bring many advantages. so is fundraising towards a target of £45,000 to convert to a digital network.

2018 draw prizes

Prize Draw

The solution is a £1 prize draw running from now until December 14th with prizes including top quality outdoor equipment, experience tickets and wine, all donated by supporting businesses.

‘The team, funded entirely by public donations, has used the opportunity to not just replace 'like for like' its retired radios,  but to invest and make a leap into 21st-century communications for callouts, training exercises and fundraising events,’ said Technology Officer Ross Livings.

‘The way we communicate hadn’t changed significantly over the last 40 years apart from radios getting smaller!

‘By adopting modern digital technology we can communicate more effectively and improve the safety of our volunteers as each callout member will have their own radio capable of pinpointing their position using GPS functionality. 

‘We will also be installing new digital repeaters and lightweight masts to significantly reduce the number of coverage black-spots’

Team Leader Keith Lambeth said: ‘The £45,000 investment is significant but will serve the team well for many years to come as our callouts become more varied and increase in number.

‘We support the emergency services, respond to calls for the lost and injured on Dartmoor like we always have done, and increasingly respond to flood and water incidents, as well as searching for missing children, people with dementia and mental health issues.

’The calls cover South and East Devon including frequent urban searches in places like Exeter and Torquay.

‘We hope sincerely the public will support us and allow our small local charity to continue providing a free vital service to those in need 24/7.’

Saturday, 28 July 2018 09:01

Celebrating 125 years of volunteering

Celebrating 125 years of volunteering with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

In 1993 John Major was the UK Prime Minister, Bill Clinton became President of the United States, mobile phones were the size and weight of a brick, Jurassic Park (the original) was showing in cinemas and the Channel Tunnel was still a year from opening.

25 years ago in 1993, 5 people volunteered for Dartmoor Rescue. 25 years later they are still active members

1993 was also the year that five members of the public decided they would like to volunteer with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton. Here we are 25 years later and Paula, Kelvin, Julia, John and Ian are all still active members.

To mark this impressive milestone, we interviewed them to find out why they joined, why they have stayed and what has changed over the last quarter of a century.

The common reason all five joined the rescue team is a love for the outdoors and an unconditional desire to give something back. Kelvin summed it up as: ‘I have always enjoyed the outdoors and hill and mountain walking, so for me it was the old cliché of giving something back’.

 Joining is one thing but why they are all still active team members after 25 years? They all spoke of feeling a strong sense of camaraderie and the inclusiveness of the team as Ian says. ‘Everybody plays an important part in how the team operates. There is no room for egos with each member being an equal sized cog that contributes to the greater good of the team.’

Ian Lowcock (left) receiving his 25 year long service certificate from Team Leader Keith Lambeth

Ian Lowcock (left) receiving his 25 years long service certificate from team leader Keith Lambeth.

Julia talked about the team’s professionalism in training and callouts, and its ongoing desire to develop and share skills. ‘What keeps us going is being part of the team, with the huge sense of support, affection and shared goals and experience it brings.  It has become a way of life, a demanding one both physically and emotionally on occasions, not just for us but also for our families’

So what had changed over the 25 years? We expected them to talk about advances in technology as Paula sums up: ‘When I joined, night navigation and the stamina to search for long hours were the most important skills and traits. The most techie thing we had was a pager. Now technology has improved providing us with lighter and more advanced equipment such as radios the size of a mobile phone when 25 years ago a radio was the size of a breeze-block and just as heavy! GPS devices now complement map and compass skills and software helps us manage searches and locate missing people.’

Dartmoor Rescue volunteers in the Upper Dart Valley in the 1980s

Much more is expected of team members now than it was 25 years ago. Ian said: ‘The skills expected of a team member are much more advanced now than they were. Training and assessments in Casualty Care (advanced first aid), swift water rescue, technical rope rescue, the list goes on. We also get called to a much wider range of incidents across a larger area that stretches from Salcombe to Lyme Regis and frequent searches in urban areas such as Exeter and Torbay.

What surprised us was hearing about the gender attitudes to recruiting new team members from 25 years ago. I’ll let Julia explain: ‘When I joined the team, it was a different era when women were not routinely given equal opportunities in many spheres of life. It has been a great source of pride to me that Ashburton allowed the handful of us women, who were motivated and suited to this way of life, to be accepted. Today we only consider a person's qualities and experiences when we consider them as a trainee not their gender.  That's something to celebrate.’

What all five were agreed on was one thing which hasn’t changed in 25 years. The commitment of the rescue team volunteers to continue to do their utmost regardless of the time of day, or the weather, to find lost or injured individuals. John summed it up when he said: ‘You respond to a callout for a missing person at 3 am to search difficult ground in poor weather. You look around you and see your teammates who have all volunteered to look for somebody they don’t know. It really does give you a nice warm feeling knowing there are people who will still give back to their community without reward or recognition anytime of day or night just because they want to help.’

John Brett, Paula Holbrook, Julia Brett and Kelvin Bull presented with their 25 years long service to Dartmoor rescue certificates.

Left to right: John Brett, Paula Holbrook, Julia Brett and Kelvin Bull presented with their 25 years long service to Dartmoor rescue certificates.

This article has focussed on 25 years with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton but of course for these volunteers, life outside the rescue team has always marched on; jobs, relationships, houses, births, deaths, marriages but their commitment has never wavered as they continue to respond to calls to help someone they have never met. This article is dedicated to those five veteran volunteers and all the hours they have committed to fundraising, training and callouts over the last 25 years.

Craig Scollick, Hill Party Leader
Al Pewsey, Press Officer and team member

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

Thanks to our teammates Paula Holbrook, John Brett, Ian Lowcock, Julia Brett and Kelvin Bull in helping us write this article and for their continued selflessness.

Dramatic Dartmoor rescue featured on Nick Knowles Close Calls on Camera

Ann was walking with her friends in the Dart Valley below Dartmeet when she slipped 30 feet on to rocks.

The dramatic story of Ann's accident was featured on the current series of BBC1's 'Close Calls on Camera'. The series uses footage from dramatic events caught on camera, interviews those involved and tells the casualty's story from before, during and after the incident. 

Ann spent 3 days in Intensive Care after being airlifted to hospital, followed by a lengthy recovery process to get her back on her feet. We are very pleased to report that Ann is actively walking the moors once again with her friends who were with her on the fateful summer's day.

You can watch the Close Calls on Camera story that featured on the BBC show below.

 Accidents can happen to anybody at any time. Mountain Rescue teams across the country are all volunteers and will drop anything anytime day or night to help someone in need.

There are lots of ways you can donate to the work of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Asdhburton volunteers. Just click the image below to find out how you can help us to help those in need like Ann.

click here to support Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton



Community support for Shaldon Primary School

As a small charity of volunteers, we rely on the generosity of our team members and many supporters to remain operational helping those in need. Shaldon Primary School is one of those supporters who we have become to rely on for the successful running of our annual Templer Way Challenge kindly allowing us to use their minibuses to ferry walkers back to the start and their vehicles. So we were delighted to return the favour and provide them some support for a sponsored walk of their own.

VIP Colin the Rescue Otter being greeted by his team members around the MREW Landrover Discovery

Children and parents in Year 6 stepped up to the challenge to undertake a sponsored walk along the Templer Way to raise some funds towards their Tall Ships and sailing fund. Enjoying better weather than our Templer Way event the week before, the participants were greeted to a VIP visitor in Colin the Rescue Otter as he turned up for the start in the Mountain Rescue England and Wales Landrover Discovery that the team had on loan for the week as part of an agreement between HRH Prince William and Jaguar Landrover in support of Mountain rescue.

Bluelight escort from the MREW Landrover Discovery on loan with the team for the week.

Team members turned out to help marshall the event lead by Shaldon parent and team member Craig Scollick and his wife Sam.

We were very happy to assist with the event and help put something back into our local community A good day was had by all and we wish Year 6 the very best with the fundraising.

Shaldon Primary School parents and students ready for the off along the Templer Way

Walkers aged from 13 to an amazing 80 complete this year's Templer Way.

Local rescuers Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton are gaining a reputation for putting together well run and enjoyable events.  Its 8th Templer Way Challenge fundraising event proved as popular as ever on Sunday despite the weather doing its best to dampen the spirits.



Sold out yet again, 180 participants braved the wet and foggy weather at Haytor early on Sunday morning to take part in the 18 mile sponsored walk to Shaldon walking the historic and beautiful Templer Way Trail.

Raising money for the rescue charity that relies on public donation for over 90% of its income, the participants have so far raised over £6,000 from this year’s event helping the volunteers assist those in need not just on Dartmoor but across Devon.

Event Director Craig Scollick said: “Every year we are humbled by our local community who support the team rain or shine and raise vital funds walking 18 miles from moor to sea helping us to save lives.”

“We can’t thank them enough and despite the poor weather forecast, they turned out yet again. with good humour and, from the feedback we’ve had so far, thoroughly enjoyed the day and are already looking forward to next year’s event.”

Sponsored walkers on the Templer Way in Bovey Tracey

Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey added “We rely on the generosity of the public and local businesses to keep our service running through donation and sponsorship. This year, apart from all the participants, we’d very much like to thank Moorgate Vets who yet again took part and sponsored the production of our event map” 

“Without our amazing supporters, the team would fold it’s as simple as that. This would leave a huge gap in resources available to not just rescue outdoor enthusiasts on Dartmoor but also vulnerable people across Devon such as those with mental health problems including dementia

“We try very hard to make the event as inclusive as possible to young and old. It’s not a race but very much aimed at participants to challenge themselves in completing the distance. A special mention must go to Trisha who was our oldest participant this year who finished the event and gained her medal at the amazing age of 80 despite the weather! I spoke to her at the finish and she was very complimentary and really enjoyed it”

Walkers enjoy a well earned ice cream at the finish in Shaldon

The team is already planning for next year’s Templer Way Challenge and would very much like to hear from any local businesses who would like the opportunity to be headline sponsors for the 2019 event. Get in touch via their website

Prepared for a severe weather event on Haldon Hill

Following 2 high profile severe weather events on the A38 and A380 at Haldon and Telegraph Hills in 2009 and 2010, (the latter event involved Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton rescuing motorists), where drivers and their passengers were stranded for up to 8 hours following heavy snowfall, emergency response agencies have collaborated on a response plan so as to be fully prepared should a similar weather event happen again.

stranded motorists due to the snow on Haldon Hill in 2010

Photo credit: Pete Sherman, DSRT Ashburton. DSRT response to Haldon Hill snow event 2010

The first event overnight on the 5th February 2009 saw around 200 people being rescued from their stranded vehicles after a sharp snowfall of up to 12 inches occurred in a matter of hours. 

Team member Al Pewsey experienced the event first hand (before he joined the team) as he travelled over Haldon in his car on the A38 that night. 

‘I left Exmouth in the pouring rain which turned to sleet as I approached Splatford Split at Kennford. I could see vehicle hazard warning lights at the top of Telegraph Hill on the Torquay road but the A38 looked clear. As I turned the corner after the A38/A380 split I was presented with vehicles that had ground to a halt as the sleet had turned to snow due to the increase in altitude.’

Stuck in traffic on the A38 at Haldon Hill in the snow of 2009

Photo credit: Al Pewsey, Haldon Hill snow event 2009.

‘The snow was settling very quickly and vehicles just weren’t getting anywhere. I managed to manoeuvre my Mini through the traffic chaos until I reached the front of blockage and a stuck lorry driver offered to give me a push which gave me enough momentum to get over the top. As I looked in my rear view mirror as I reached the top of the hill by the racecourse, I was the last car to make it over.’

‘I continued down the other side and all I could see were the crash barriers either side of the road as the road was under a thick blanket of snow. I knew as I descended the hill the snow would clear - which it did - and I was able to get home safely.

Travelling the A38 over Haldon Hill in a blizzard and thick snow was quite an experience

Photo credit: Al Pewsey, Haldon Hill snow event 2009.

The Highways Agency and other services struggled with the conditions as snowploughs and gritters couldn’t get through the traffic chaos which meant the roads couldn’t be cleared hence stranding motorists. Fortunately there were no serious injuries on either occasion and agencies have learnt from the experience and are now far better prepared.

The resulting ‘Haldon Hill Severe Weather Response Plan’ involves many of the statutory authorities including the Highways Agency, Devon County Council and the 999 emergency services, as well as voluntary organisations such as Dartmoor Search and Rescue and Devon 4x4 response. 

Part of this plan is to identify any potential severe weather events that may affect the major road arteries over Haldon in advance and assemble the various agencies ‘just in case’ to makes sure everybody is in the right place and ready to act should it be needed.

Our team search managers were called to a briefing at 4am this morning with all the relevant agencies, and positioned our incident control vehicle at Kennford ‘just in case’. Callout members were put on heightened alert last night ready to respond should we be needed so we could be in place ready to help before the rush hour commenced this morning.

Fortunately, the plan wasn’t required and we were stood down, for now, but are still on alert should the weather deteriorate later in the week.

DSRT Ashburton respond to Haldon Hill snow event 2010

Team leader Keith Lambeth said ‘The Haldon Hill response plan has learnt from the various agencies being caught out in 2009 and 2010 and means agencies are much better prepared now.’

‘However, drivers still need to keep abreast of the local weather forecast and reports, and plan their journeys accordingly and only travel where absolutely necessary if adverse weather is predicted. If you need to travel, make sure you carry in your vehicle spare food, drink,warm clothing and supplies such as a sleeping bag or blanket, and clothing for bad weather including boots, so that you can keep yourself and your passengers safe should you get stranded.’ 

‘Cars cool down very quickly once the ignition is switched off and without anything to keep you warm, you are putting yourself and your passengers at risk.’

Weather forecast for Exeter: XC Weather forecast for Exeter

Weather Radar: Net Weather Radar

Thursday, 22 February 2018 11:02

River Dart casualty recovery training

River Dart casualty recovery training

Every week, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers train to make sure they are fully prepared for any incident that they are called to by the full-time emergency services. The team doesn't just rescue walkers, climbers and the vulnerable on land, they also have a water rescue capability to respond to swift water incidents involving water sport enthusiasts, flooding events and searches for vulnerable missing persons that may involve watercourses.

Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton swift water rescue specialists preparing for a water rescue exercise

Of course, the team are on-call 24/7 so need to undertake training at night as well as during the day to reflect the incidents they are called to.  Hence last night's team training session focussed on communication and manoeuvring of a specialist rescue sled in the recovery of casualties stranded in the water in the dark.

Session organiser and team member Dave Underhill highlighted the need for water rescue training at night.  "Working in water at night has its challenges when trying to effect a water rescue. Apart from the obvious reduction in visibility, effective communication becomes harder with the background noise of the water and difficulty in visual signals being seen."

"We train frequently in the water during the day to make sure our volunteers have the confidence and skills necessary to not just search and rescue effectively, but also look after themselves and their teammates around water courses, and keep themselves safe. The evening water-based sessions put all that training into practice and get them used to working in a very challenging environment."

Apart from the assessed water 'Mod2' training which the majority of the team volunteers are qualified too, the team also has a specialist water team consisting of a group of Swiftwater Rescue Technicians (SRTs). The SRTs undertake additional assessed specialised training courses that enable them to undertake more advanced water rescues using equipment such as a 'rescue sled'.

Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton water rescue specialists training on the River Dart with their rescue sled

Dave continues "This training event on the River Dart was designed to get our Swift Water Technicians as well as Mod2 qualified members working together effectively in rigging and positioning our rescue sled and recovering casualties. Its teamwork such as this which is very important and could make the difference in being able to save a life of someone in need of our services. "


The charity is called out around 35 - 40 times a year by the Police, Ambulance and Fire Service not just on Dartmoor but across South and East Devon and further field on occasions. Its most recent callout at Longdown just outside Exeter did involve its water rescue specialists who found a body in the search for a missing University of Exeter student. Although the team were unable to save a life on that occasion, it's reassuring to know that a group of volunteers will respond any time of day or night to the aid of those in-need, and help bring closure for a family at such a difficult time.

You can donate to the team to help them with their specialist training and equipment costs via their website at


New Year Honours recognition for Dartmoor Rescue

We are delighted that one of the founding members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton, Alec Collyer, received an MBE in the New Year Honours announced over Christmas.

A founding member of DSRT Ashburton, and still an active volunteer 40 years later, Alec Collyer is awarded an MBE. Photo credit: Matt Austin

Photo credit: Matt Austin

Alec has been involved in countless searches and rescues in Dartmoor for a staggering 42 years. In 1976 he was one of the founding members of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Team and continues as an active volunteer to this day.

Our Team Leader Keith Lambeth said: 'To say that Alec is an important member of the team is an understatement. In a community that attracts strong and determined characters Alec still stands out and his constant sense of adventure and exploration have benefitted the team immensely. Alec has drawn on his electronic expertise to develop and lead the use of radios, from the huge surplus sets of the '70s to modern digital units. His mountaineering experience enabled him to ski through a blizzard to one benighted group on the Moor.' 

'His achievements over the years would lead some to complacency but Alec continues to be a force of nature on the hill. We also benefit hugely from his dry humour and his steadfast commitment to "getting the job done" quickly and safely.
Esprit de corps is vital in a volunteer team and Alec in many ways is the embodiment of the British mountain rescue ethos.'
Alec has previously held the Chairmanship of the team and is currently the Chair of the wider Dartmoor Rescue Group which represents all 4 of the Dartmoor teams.  He was recognised by the Government with an Outstanding Contribution Award, acknowledging his contribution to rescuing people in the severe weather that hit the UK in December 2009 and January 2010. He is also an active member of the Dartmoor Cave and Rescue organisation for which he has also received a long service award. He was asked by the BBC to carry the Olympic torch in recognition of voluntary search and rescue teams in the UK. He has contributed so much for so long, demonstrating selfless commitment whilst also going above and beyond in his day to day life.
We are immensely proud that Alec has been recognised with this award. Very well deserved.
Thursday, 21 December 2017 12:23

Team Member Interview - Dr Tas Ali

Team member interview - Dr Tas Ali

In this series of team member interviews, we find out more about what makes our volunteers tick. In this interview we talk to Dr. Tas Ali, currently the Chair of our team.

 Dr Tas Ali. Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton. Team Chair.


1) What is your role within the team and what does it involve?

I am the Chairman of the committee that manages the business of the team. It is a huge privilege to be considered to be fit to do this for such a talented group of people.

I have responsibility for the management, rather than the operational side of our work. These aspects are often intertwined, so I end up working closely with the Team Leader on most issues.

It is my responsibility to ensure the whole range of views of the committee is heard, and to forge census by negotiation. We are lucky to have a wide range of engaged and knowledgeable people in our committee who contribute huge value to our discussions.

We have an ethos within the team that we are all cogs in the machine and if any cog gets bigger than the others the machine jams. My view is that we run a well-oiled machine!

As one of the team doctors, I train our team to the Mountain Rescue standard of Casualty Care. I am proud of our team as we now have over 30 members who hold this qualification.

2) When did you join DSRTA and why?

Just under 20 years ago I moved from London and met a couple of team members who asked if I wanted to be a body on the moor! I felt perplexed at the time, but then understood it meant being a casualty for a search and rescue exercise and I haven’t looked back since.

3) Tell us about your day job?

I am a consultant anaesthetist and ensure patient’s undergoing surgery are safe under general anaesthesia, wake up comfortably and are pain free post-surgery. Other aspects of my work are looking after women in labour who need an epidural or a caesarean section. On call, I work with the intensive care team to stabilise sick and injured patients coming into the emergency department and if needed take them to the operating theatre for emergency surgery.

It puts life into perspective seeing people having to cope with immense stresses and makes me understand that we should be grateful for what we have and be kind to one another as life is fragile and precious.

4) Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

Anything outdoors, climbing, biking and recently running, but I am really bad at it!

5) Choose 5 words which best describe your experiences with DSRTA

Focused, highly skilled, trust, friendship and humbling.

6) Where is your favourite part of Dartmoor and why?

The Dart valley, it is a magical place that constantly changes but is always calming.

7) Jam or Cream first?

Clotted cream first, and squirty cream second. I am sure I will get into trouble for that…..

8) The Rolling Stones or The Beetles?

I am far too young! OK Beatles.

LIBOR bank fines fund rescue training for volunteers

Over the last two weekends, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers alongside sister Dartmoor teams Tavistock and Plymouth,  and representatives from Exmoor and Cornwall search and rescue teams,  attended a training course funded by the LIBOR financial fines which have been made available to Mountain Rescue for 'train the trainer' activities.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton attend LIBOR funded rope rescue training

The volunteers participated in the regional rollout of Mountain Rescue England and Wales Rope Rescue Operator Instructor courses delivered by climbing equipment manufacturer Lyon Equipment. The course focussed on being able to execute safe and effective rope rescues and to cascade that training to their teams. The course attendees refined their skills in using technical equipment to access casualties in difficult steep ground or cliff faces and were given training on how to deliver that content back to their home teams.

 Rope rescue skills are regularly used by  Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton for the extraction of casualties from the bottom of the River Dart gorge near Poundsgate, to rescue climbers from the cliffs at Haytor and for steep ground searches.  
 Rope team lead Simon Rhymes from Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton said "This training course was a great opportunity for 6 of our volunteers to extend both their personal rope rescue capability and instructing skills under the expert tuition of Bill, Mark and Mike from Lyon Equipment.  With these new found skills we can continue to extend the professional service we offer to our local community."
Rope rescue train the trainer courses for mountain rescue delivered by Lyon Equipment
Bill Batson from Lyon Equipment said “Lyon Equipment has a long history of involvement with mountain and cave rescue in the UK and we very much enjoyed delivering rope rescue instructor training to Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton and other rescue teams from the Peninsula Mountain and Cave Rescue Association.  We are delighted that the team members attending the course found it both useful and enjoyable.”
Several banks and financial institutions were fined for fraudulent rigging of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate, which was widely used to set other interest rates throughout the world. The Government announced proceeds from the fines in the UK would go to support armed forces and emergency services charities and other related good causes.

Vital work of Devon rescuers showcased in new film

The Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton has launched a film highlighting the vital community service it provides across the county and beyond.


The volunteers are well known for their work on Dartmoor but less so for the wider support they offer in both rural and urban areas across Devon and further afield. With public donations accounting for more than 92 per cent of its funding the group approached Ashburton film-makers Blinkback to help spread the message.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton attending a search in Exeter for a missing person

Team Leader Keith Lambeth said:

'Although responding to Dartmoor callouts is still our staple we also attend flooding and water incidents and missing person enquiries including those with mental health factors such as dementia and self-harm. ‘Blinkback’s film highlights this diversity which frequently goes unnoticed as our callouts often happen overnight when most people are in bed. ‘We are mobilised by the emergency services up to 40 times each year, at anytime of the day or night. Our 60 unpaid volunteers respond because they simply want to help and put something back into the community.’

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers set out an urban search in Exeter, Devon for a missing person

The professional Mountain Rescue training the team now undertakes means the Ashburton volunteers and their counterparts across England and Wales are frequently called on for major national incidents such as the York floods of Christmas 2015.

Keith continued:

'We are very grateful to the team at Blinkback who kindly donated their time and considerable experience to produce the film. We are delighted with the end result which highlights the service we provide and will raise awareness among those who are unaware of the wide range of support we offer.’

Blinkback director David Kilkelly said:

’Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton perform such a vital roll across the region. BlinkBack is based and works within Dartmoor National Park so we have a natural connection.

‘We felt that by donating our time and skills we could help raise their profile and communicate their message to a wider audience.'


Notes for Editors:

All video and photos are copyright and can be used to accompany this article as long as credited to 'Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton'.

Film produced courtesy of Blinkback



Working hard behind the scenes on Dartmoor at Ten Tors 2012

Newly qualified member Alan writes about the 2012 edition of the annual Ten Tors Expedition held on Dartmoor National Park and the team's involvement. His article is reproduced below in his own words.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Incident Control Vehicle deployed at Sittaford Moor gate for Ten Tors 

The second weekend in May every year is 'The Ten Tors Weekend' when 2400 14 - 19-year-olds tackle Ten Tors on routes of either 35, 45 or 55 miles over 2 days. Not forgetting the Jubilee event where another 300 or so youngsters with varying degrees of disability tackle their own Ten Tors.  Although I have been involved with Ten Tors on and off in various capacities over the last 30+ years, this was my first year as a fully qualified member of the Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team, Ashburton.

The rescue team base themselves between Fernworthy Forest and Sittaford Tor for the weekend where members are on standby to evacuate participants with injuries or locate teams that have gone missing. In addition, when the conditions are poor, we have worked closely with the organisers to make sure everybody is accounted for and safe and well. This year, fortunately, the weather was perfect. Ten Tors for the team started in the week leading up to the event where all our equipment is tested and packed ready for transfer to our base camp on the Friday. The kit doesn't just include our vehicles, a control vehicle and a Land Rover ambulance, but also stretchers, first aid & medical equipment, ropes, water rescue gear, radio's, generators, personal kit, tents, the list goes on.

Basically, everything that may be required to support a search and/or rescue over the event.

Merlin helicopter at Ten Tors

Once packed the vehicle and kit is transferred to base camp on the Friday and set-up ready for the 7am start on the Saturday. At base camp, team members are allocated into various shifts for the weekend and during their shift they are based at Sittaford Tor or Quintins Man, transferring back to base camp at the end of the shift.

The team are only stood down overnight when all teams and team members have been accounted for at their overnight camps at various tors around the moor.   400 teams of 6 are allocated one of the 26 different routes available to complete over the weekend. Team members can drop out but if more than 2 drop out of a team, the whole team has to drop out. Each route has ten manned checkpoints they need to reach in a specific order which will vary for each route. Once a team has arrived at a checkpoint, they swipe an orange tag that updates the Ten Tors website with the time at that checkpoint indicating to those waiting eagerly for information on their teams progress, where they are. Our role is to work alongside the army who deploy us when an incident occurs.

This weekend, due to the lovely weather, we were thankfully fairly quiet. We had one stretcher carry for a lad who had a badly sprained ankle, and various participants that had to drop out and needed escorting back to the nearest fallout centre so they could be returned to Okehampton camp for reuniting with their team managers. Our final job on the Sunday was to walk out to pick up 2 youngsters who had badly blistered feet and couldn't continue. We located them, patched them up, and walked them slowly back to the fallout centre. Their choice of footwear didn't really help their predicament as their feet and socks were soaked from the famed Dartmoor bogs.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton at Ten Tors

We have little involvement with the Jubilee event unfortunately due to our location, however a previous blog gives an insight into this wonderful event which, if you ever get the chance, is well worth supporting. Then, it was time to return to our camp, pack up the equipment and head back to our Rescue Centre. There we checked equipment, recharged radios, and had everything ready to go for our next callout. Finally, I am very chuffed to say my daughter sucessfully completed her 2nd Ten Tors this year. She undertook a 45 Mile route and returned to the finish at midday on the Sunday. To say I am very proud of her achievements is an understatement. I've been wandering around since Sunday with a grin like a Cheshire Cat! Ten Tors is not a race. Some teams seem to have the competitive edge to be the first team at the finish. Personally, I think this is a shame as there is next to nobody at the finish to welcome them home.

The best time to finish is between 11am and 3pm on the Sunday as that's when most people are about and they always give the teams a raptuous welcome which the early finishers just don't get. When I did Ten Tors I finished at 10:30am. I wish, with hindsight, I had sat somewhere for half and hour or so to make our triumphant return even more memorable! Ten Tors is a fantastic event and its so nice to see so many polite and enthusiastic teenagers out in the great outdoors.

Long may it continue.

Links Ten Tors Website 



Queen's Jubillee Medal Presentation to Devon rescuers

Queens Diamond jubilee medal presented to Dartmoor Search and Rescuers

In recognition of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Jubilee Medals were presented to members who had been in the team for 5 years or greater recognising their contribution to their local community. Needless to say the team as a whole is very proud of the work we do and proud that this medal has been presented in recognition of individuals who have volunteered for an extended period of time. Medal's were presented on July 15th at the team rescue centre near Ashburton

Dartmoor Search and Rescue members presented with Diamond Jubilee medals

The following article appeared in a December 2012 edition of the Teignmouth Post.   

Dartmoor Rescue climber summits Mount Everest

We are very proud to announce that team member Ian Ridley has summited Mount Everest early on Friday the 1st June on his second attempt. Huge congratulations to Ian from the whole team.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton team member Ian Ridley summits Mount Everest


News article courtesy of the Herald Express, Torquay.

Ian first attempted Everest a few years ago from the north of the mountain. Unfortunately, on that occasion, he was defeated by illness. This time however he managed to avoid illness, but instead had challenging weather conditions to deal with that threatened the whole expedition on various occasions.  The weather did mean that some expeditions did have to turn back, however, Ian’s team did stay on and eventually a weather window opened for them allowing them to attempt a summit climb which was successful.

Ian will be running some lectures on his trip in the autumn, so watch this space for details and what should prove to be a very interesting and entertaining evening.

Saturday, 24 September 2011 13:21

New home for Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton

New home for Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton

Rescue Centre Grand Opening

On Saturday September 24th, Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team Ashburton, held the grand opening of its new Rescue Centre. Its first permanent base in its 35 year history. Up until now the team has relied on the goodwill of volunteers to store its equipment and vehicles. Now, thanks to the Abbot of Buckfast, we have a facility to securely store the rescue equipment, space to dry wet kit as well as meeting rooms to run training lectures.

The Buckfast Abbot blessing the new Rescue Centre
Buckfast Abbot blessing the new Rescue Centre

The day was well attended not just by invited dignitaries, including the Abbot of Buckfast Abbey who conducted the opening service, but also by the general public, supporters and team members and their families who got an insight into what team members do when they disappear in the middle of the night to answer a call for help. An air-sea rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor 22 Squadron provided a flypast to add further excitement to the day and make sure the day would be remembered by the team for a long time to come.

RAF Seaking flypast

After the rescue centre was officially opened, it was time for the impressive official cake to be cut and refreshments to be consumed as the formal part of the afternoon's celebration drew to a close.

Rescue Centre cake
Rescue Centre cake

Guests were invited to have a look around the new facility, ask the team members questions, and take a closer look at the kit that members use to effect rescues.  

The next challenge! The next challenge for the team is to re-equip all its members with new outdoor clothing to replace the ageing jackets and trousers that have been in use for about 10 years. This is expected to cost approximately £17,000 and the team is looking for sponsorship from organisations or businesses, and donations from the public to help with the ongoing costs of running the team.

The team based in Ashburton, Devon, is a registered charity funded by the generosity of the public, that provides a vital search and rescue service in the county. Although the police have the ultimate responsibility for responding to and investigating reports of missing persons, they will often request the services of volunteer Search and Rescue teams, such as the Ashburton based team, to assist in such matters. The team's responsibility covers not just the highland areas of Dartmoor, but also to the fringes of the Devon coast, where the coastguard takes over. Hence their search and rescue operations can cover both rural and urban areas. One key element about the team is that it is a voluntary organisation that relies on the valued time and effort of its team members.

The team also rely on kind donations from industry and the public plus fundraising activities by its members. 

The team members include a wide diversity of professionals, including A&E consultants, social care workers and electronics engineers.


Further information on the work of the Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team, Ashburton can be found at the following online resources:

Donate at:




The team is affiliated to MREW, Mountain Rescue England & Wales:        

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 13:17

Technology in Search and Rescue

This report by John Danks appeared on BBC Spotlight on April 24th 2014. It follows the team on a training exercise and delves into some of the technology used by the team on search and rescue such as SARMAN, SARLOC and Viewranger smart mapping.

We use a variety of equipment and tools to help in the process of search and rescue, and as you’d expect, technology is playing a bigger part. One such tool is SARLOC©  that helps to find lost walkers and climbers by sending a simple text message to a mobile phone.

sarloc an application developed by Mountain Rescue England and Wales to assist in the finding of lost walkers

SARLOC© – A method for locating lost climbers and walkers

SARLOC© is a system developed by Russ Hore who was a member of Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation for over 20 years, served 2 years as the teams chairman and is the IT Coordinator for the North Wales Mountain Rescue Organisation. Russ introduced North Wales Mountain Rescue Association (NWMRA) to the concept of tracking team members via their radios back in 2006 and has been continuously working to introduce techniques to assist the team.

The number of callouts rescue teams receive per year is increasing, putting a great strain on the volunteer rescuers who give up their time freely to aid those who come to grief in the moorland and mountainous areas of England and Wales. Quite often the Police receive a mobile phone call from people on the hill who are ‘lost’ normally due to bad weather closing in, poor navigation or being overcome by darkness, sometimes all three.

Given Russ’ initial work in tracking team members he has always been looking for a method of accurately locating these people and finally found a solution which is being used successfully on an increasing number of callouts including those that Dartmoor Search & rescue Ashburton are involved in.

The system uses functions of the web browser available on many mobiles. Once the missing person makes the distress call to 999 and the Mountain Rescue Team has been engaged by the Police,  the Rescue Team Search Manager sends a SARLOC text to the phone of the missing person. The caller then just clicks on the link in the text, the webpage asks the phone for it’s location, which is displayed on the Rescue Team’s map. At the same time the caller sees a page reassuring them that the team know where they are, and help is on it’s way. Don’t worry, the caller doesn’t need to do anything more technical than simply clicking on a link in a standard text message! It’s an interesting and very useful bit of kit, but has limitations in that the lost person needs to have a phone which has an internet connection and location services enabled hence it can’t be used for all missing person searches.

sarloc can send a text message to help locate lost walkers

A typical success story:-

Two walkers from the Midlands set off with no map or compass, heading for Moel Siabod, just south of the National Mountain Centre at Plas y Brenin. The pair, who had one torch between them, soon ran into low cloud, heavy rain and high winds. By 4pm, when they still hadn’t found the summit, or got anywhere near it, they telephoned 999 on their smart phone. When they were questioned over the ‘phone by the team leader, a definitive description of where they might be could not be established with some of the descriptions seeming contradictory. There was some urgency for this search as one man had a medical condition, and having been out in the poor weather for such a long time, his condition might have changed, making the search and rescue more urgent. Ten search and rescue team members went out on the hill to search probable locations of the duo, and the SARLOC©system was put into action. A link to the SARLOC© web site was sent via a text message to the lost persons ‘phone. They clicked on the link and their location was transmitted to the MRT with an accuracy of 12m. The rescue team members logged the grid reference on their GPS and walked straight to the two men.

So far SARLOC© has assisted teams in the UK over three hundred and fifty times. On many of these incidents a considerable amount of time would have been spent locating the missing people putting extra load on already over burdened rescue team members. With information from SARLOC© team members can proceed directly to the casualties location.

Russ says, ‘with today’s technology, whether we like it or not, our whereabouts can be known using the integral GPS found in most smartphones. It occurred to me that this could be used to MR’s advantage – and so SARLOC was born.

Russ is currently rolling out the system around the world to assist international rescue teams.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 13:06

Ten Tors 1978 – One from the archives

The short piece of cine film was taken on the Ten Tors 1978 event when the team was deployed on standby at Quintins Man after previously being at Okehampton Camp.

Thanks to Alec Collyer for giving us this glimpse into the team’s history.

Thursday, 09 October 2014 12:54

Multi agency response at Hackney Marshes

A major multi-agency search and rescue for four people from an inflatable boat, a drunk man staggering into marshes and a teenager falling off a bridge took place last night – but it was all part of a training exercise.

volunteer rescuers including Dartmoor Rescue and the RNLI  join forces at Newton Abbot for search and rescue exercise

A major multi-agency search and rescue for four people from an inflatable boat, a drunk man staggering into marshes and a teenager falling off a bridge took place last night – but it was all part of a training exercise.

Organised by Dartmoor Search and Rescue – Ashburton, the exercise took place at Hackney Marshes, Newton Abbot, and involved multiple casualty scenarios that were spread throughout the marshes.  Personnel from the Ashburton team participated and they worked alongside Teignmouth Lifeboat, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Water Rescue crew, Exmoor SRT, DSRT Plymouth and Devon Cave Rescue throughout the exercise

Alec Collyer, chairman of the Ashburton team, said: “We try to do an exercise like this to get involved in real life scenarios, and we like the Hackney Marsh area as there are lots of places to hide ‘casualties’ in. We organise multi-agency search and rescue exercises (SaRex) with other agencies that we can potentially work alongside during real incidents. This type of training is very important in that it helps the understanding of the capabilities of each of the organisations involved, and promotes good practise and team working.”

A lot of the success of the event was down to the volunteer casualties as Alec pointed out. “Without the people who volunteer as casualties, these events just wouldn’t happen. We are very grateful to them all for helping us out on what turned out to be a wet and stormy night.”

The evening was deemed a great success with one participant saying ‘It was an excellent well organised exercise. Apart from having a good time I also learnt some new skills and gained a better understanding of how the other teams function.’



Organised by Dartmoor Search and Rescue – Ashburton, the exercise took place at Hackney Marshes, Newton Abbot, and involved multiple casualty scenarios that were spread throughout the marshes.  Personnel from the Ashburton team participated and they worked alongside Teignmouth Lifeboat, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Water Rescue crew, Exmoor SRT, DSRT Plymouth and Devon Cave Rescue throughout the exercise

Alec Collyer, chairman of the Ashburton team, said: “We try to do an exercise like this to get involved in real life scenarios, and we like the Hackney Marsh area as there are lots of places to hide ‘casualties’ in. We organise multi-agency search and rescue exercises (SaRex) with other agencies that we can potentially work alongside during real incidents. This type of training is very important in that it helps the understanding of the capabilities of each of the organisations involved, and promotes good practise and team working.”

A lot of the success of the event was down to the volunteer casualties as Alec pointed out. “Without the people who volunteer as casualties, these events just wouldn’t happen. We are very grateful to them all for helping us out on what turned out to be a wet and stormy night.”

The evening was deemed a great success with one participant saying ‘It was an excellent well organised exercise. Apart from having a good time I also learnt some new skills and gained a better understanding of how the other teams function.’

Photos from last night's event is below.

RNLI and Dartmoor REscue volunteers attend to a casualty during a rescue exercise at Newton Abbot

Saturday, 28 February 2015 12:42

From moor to sea in aid of rescuers

templer way 2015

Sunday April 19th 2015 sees Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton running its popular Templer Way sponsored walk fundraiser.

The event now in its 5th year is becoming increasingly popular as participants walk the 18 miles from Haytor Quarry to Shaldon along the historic Templer Way to raise funds for the search and rescue volunteers.  The team is called out 30-40 times a year to search for the lost, missing, injured and vulnerable not just on Dartmoor but across Devon in all weathers anytime of day or night. The team of volunteers need around £15,000 of donations from the public to remain operational each year and receives no central funding from Government.

Al Pewsey the team’s Fundraising Officer said ‘Last year’s event raised over £5,000 for team funds, way beyond our most optimistic expectations. It’s a fabulous route that takes in spectacular scenery on its way from moor to sea, and we see a number of familiar faces who come back each year to enjoy it with us. Our volunteers accompany the walkers providing a great opportunity to find out more about the frequently life saving service we provide and the working of a search and rescue team whilst enjoying a fabulous walk.’

Al went on to say ‘ We are very grateful and humbled by the public support we get and we hope this year’s event will be just as successful as last year’s.’

Our Templer Way Challenge has received a £500 kickstart from minerals firm Sibelco.

templer way 2015

On Sunday April 19 up to 150 people are expected to tackle the 18-mile Templer Way from Haytor Rocks to the mouth of the River Teign. Starting at 9am participants should reach The Green, Shaldon, some five – seven hours later.

Money donated by sponsors and well-wishers will help generate the £15,000 it costs each year to keep the 24-hour team of voluntary emergency responders on the road.  Alan Pewsey, fundraising officer for the team, said: ‘Our Templer Way Challenge is now in its fifth year and we are delighted that Sibelco has kindly given this important fundraising event a boost with a £500 donation. We rely on businesses and the public to fund the lifesaving work we do as around 92 per cent of our annual operational costs comes from donations. Sibelco’s generosity has really kicked off this years event in the best way possible and we are very grateful to them for this wonderful support.’

The 18-mile Templer Way passes close to some of Sibelco’s south Devon clay sites.  The firm’s director of Kingsteignton operations, Richard Giles, said: ‘When we heard about the Templer Way Challenge it just felt like the right thing to lend it our support. We try to help the community when and where we can and as a firm that puts safety above all other considerations the activities of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team seemed a perfect fit. The members are all volunteers and on top of their search and rescue work they have to find time to raise most of their income too, hats off to them. The group carries out missions across south Devon, not just Dartmoor as many people seem to think, and if our involvement can help in any way to raise awareness of that it would be great, we’ll certainly spread the word. We wish all those who take part in the challenge the best of luck and hope the day generates some serious income, please give generously.’


Monday, 20 April 2015 12:36

Walkers enjoy a fabulous day

Sunday 19th April and 101 people congregated in bright sunshine at the Haytor Information Centre with the objective to walk the 18 miles to Shaldon on the Devon coast in aid of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team at Ashburton.

templer way 2015 3

This year was the 5th year running the event has been put on in aid of the charity rescue team.  Walkers were launched on their way by team member and event organiser Craig Scollick. Craig said “This event is very important to the team remaining operational as it is our largest fundraiser of the year. We couldn’t continue to provide our search and rescue service to the community and visitors of not just Dartmoor, but across Devon including urban areas, without this incredible support from the public.

The event has become more and more popular with numbers increasing each year to walk the historic Templer Way trail. We see lots of familiar faces returning each year as well as plenty of new faces too. Word seems to get around as to what an enjoyable walk it is and with the added attraction of having the support of team members walking the route and providing safety cover, it gives members of the public a great opportunity to not just enjoy a fabulous walk, but find out more about what we do by talking to team members along the way”

The event for the first time this year was sponsored by minerals firm Sibelco as well as local vets Moorgate Veterinary Group. Fundraising Officer Alan Pewsey said “We are very grateful to Sibelco and Moorgate for getting the event off to a fantastic start. This year’s event has so far raised over £3,500 from donations and sponsorship, and we are very grateful to everybody who took part, supported, donated and helped at the event. Early feedback we have had from participants is that it has been a great success and all thoroughly enjoyed the day. We will definitely be looking to run the event again in April 2016.”

templer way 2015 4

It was soon back to normality for team members who are all volunteers, as they were called out to assist the ambulance service on the following day. A walker who had injured an ankle whilst walking on the moor was recovered promptly by the volunteers and transferred to the waiting ambulance.

Monday, 22 June 2015 12:32

Cyclists support rescuers

The Dartmoor Classic is one of the premiere cyclosportive events in the UK organised by the Mid Devon Cycle Club (MDCC), with participants attempting one of 3 routes of up to 160KM across Dartmoor typically on the 3rd Sunday in June. The event has become so popular that this year 4,000 cyclists registered.

dartmoor classic 2015

Our volunteers play a part in the running of the event by feeding riders as they pass through the Princetown feedstation and also providing expertise and resources for the event Silver Control.

Al Pewsey our Fundraising Officer also acknowledged the amazing support we get from the organisers. “We are very proud to be a charity partner for the Dartmoor Classic and this year we were given a custom Starley bike package to raffle in our event fundraising prize draw by the organisers. This created a huge amount of interest as you can imagine and helped to raise £2,563 over the weekend.”

“We are very grateful to the Dartmoor Classic for the support as we are a small charity that relies heavily on public donation to fund our annual running costs of around £15,000 enabling us to search, rescue and essentially save lives. This year we have the added expense of finding £20,000 to replace and fit out our Incident Control Vehicle as a major rust problem has been revealed that means it won’t pass another MOT. The success of this year’s draw has given us a huge boost in this fundraising.”

The prize winners in the draw were:

  • Paul Adams won the Starley / Madison Shimano custom bike package donated to the draw by the Dartmoor Classic organisers.
  • Steve Davey won the Paramo Ciclo Cycling Jacket sponsored by Paramo Equipment
  • Lynne Holmes won the Mountain Equipment Cascade Xtrafit Gore-tex gloves sponsored by Trail Outdoor in Ivybridge

We are very grateful to all our prize sponsors who made the success of this years draw possible.

Dartmoor classic 2015 prize winner

Apart from the our prize draw, the weekend proved to be another great success with very few incidents and good weather. We are already looking forward to being part of next year’s event.

Monday, 29 June 2015 12:27

Rescuers launch urgent appeal

Control Vehicle Replacement Appeal

The race is on to find a replacement control vehicle. Our specialist volunteers, who provide round the clock emergency cover 365 days a year, just managed to get our ageing van through its last MoT.

But now, due to a major rust problem, there’s no option other than to find a new one and get it kitted out with specialist radio and computer equipment in time for the autumn.

Without the vehicle,  the ability to respond to the 35 or so shouts we get each year will be severely hampered.

Devon charity of rescuers makes urgent appeal for vehicle

Our team’s Vehicle Officer Andy Luscombe said we either needed help raising the £15,000 that a suitable van was likely to cost or for a generous benefactor to come forward and donate one.

‘The vehicle we have is a long wheel base high top variety and we’re looking to replace with something similar, a Mercedes Sprinter is the most likely candidate,’ he said.

‘If possible a 4×2, four wheels on the rear axle and two front, as this gives much more stability when on the road with the vehicle close to its weight limit. 

‘It’s a self contained control centre with two computers, radio and telephone communications. The computers aid our searches by being able to pick up GPS radios and therefore tracking teams, they are also programmed with a host of invaluable search and rescue software.

‘The van will have a separate kit store for individual team bags together with emergency medical equipment including a wheeled stretcher.

‘The team can only be called out by the police or ambulance service and we help with everything from missing dementia patients to people wishing to harm themselves as well as missing walkers, climbing and kayaking accidents and flooding.

‘Members are trained for all eventualities and operate across Devon and beyond when required.

‘The cost of a new control vehicle including fitting it out with our specialist equipment is likely to be around £30,000 so we, and the many people we help each year, would be very grateful for any help people can offer.’


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Charity Number: 1106098.