In case of emergency, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Police

Callouts 1996 - 1999

DSRT Admin

DSRT Admin

Tuesday, 13 October 2020 10:14

Lost walkers near Grippers Hill

Callout 43/2020 - Holne moor 20:16 5th October 2020

The team were called out by Devon and Cornwall Police to locate two female walkers who had become lost as darkness fell.

We were fortunate that they could be located by the SARLOC tool and were near Water Oak Corner, North of Grippers Hill.
A team were quickly dispatched to their location and as the weather conditions rapidly deteriorated they were walked off the moor to a team Land Rover.They were then taken back to the road head at Cross Furzes.

The team were stood down at 21: 19hrs.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020 10:12

Assist SWAST on Haytor

Callout 42/2020 - Haytor, 15:04 29th September 2020

Dartmoor Search & Rescue Ashburton were deployed by #DevonandCornwallPolice to assist South Western Ambulance Service with the extraction of a female stuck halfway up Haytor Rocks with back pain.
Initially only the rope team were going to be utilised, but upon further enquiries and the known nature of the injuries, it was decide a full team call out was needed.
At 15:36, the full team were called and met at Haytor top carpark. Team members present were very quickly at the casualty site where a rope extraction and use of one of our stretchers were carried out. Once lowered to the ground the casualty was transported in one of our team land rovers to the roadside and handed over to SWAST, where she was taken to Torbay hospital. We wish her a well in her recovery.
An amazing 15 members attended this call out, so a big thank you to who could attend.
Team stood down at 17:10hrs
Tuesday, 15 September 2020 09:42

Person fallen on Low Man

Callout 41/2020 - Low Man, Haytor, 15:12 13th September 2020 

Dartmoor Search & Rescue Ashburton were called out this afternoon to assist a lady who had fallen from Low Man, the tor to the south west of Haytor Rocks. She sustained injuries to both legs and her chest. Our team members provided first aid then stretchered her from the rocks to the road head where she was transferred to a land ambulance. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Team stood down at 16:45 hrs
Tuesday, 15 September 2020 09:41

Fallen climber on Haytor

Callout 40/2020 - Haytor, 12:38 5th September 2020 

Members of the Team's rope access group were called to Haytor to assist SWAST with a fallen climber.

Friday, 28 August 2020 14:01

Ashburton Chimney Sweep sponsors raffle

Ashburton Chimney Sweep Ltd are sponsoring a raffle by donating £500 worth of stuff (kiln dried logs, pallet cover, firefighters etc) .

Ashburton Chimney Sweep raffle

Prize kindly donated by Ashburton Chimney Sweep

Full Prize package:

  • 1 x Convenient Pallet of Silver Birch Kiln dried logs
  • 1 x Convenient Pallet waterproof cover
  • 10 x Kindling nets
  • 2 x Boxes of Burner Firelighters
  • 1 x Calfire slate sheen
  • 1 x Stovax glass cleaner
  • 1 x Pair of Fire safety gloves

Free Delivery anywhere in Devon

Dan and Ashley with prizes Prizes

Draw details:

Competition dates 1st Sept 2020 09:00 til 30th Sept 2020 19:00hrs

Draw will take place at Team training on 30th September

Google random numbers to select winners.

All profits from the raffle will be used to fund the work of our search and rescue charity. Reg charity number 1106098.

Please use the Register (individual) to buy 1 ticket, or Register (Group) to buy more than 1 ticket - you'll then be asked to enter contact details and pay via PayPal.

Event Details

Event Date 01-09-2020
Event End Date 30-09-2020
Registration Start Date 28-08-2020
Registered 127
Cut off date 30-09-2020 7:00 pm
Individual Price £5 per ticket
Ashburton Chimney Sweeps
Bowdleigh, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0JH
Ashburton Chimney Sweeps
We are no longer accepting registration for this event

Wednesday, 26 August 2020 15:22

Ankle injury on Trendlebere

Callout 39/2020 - Trendlebere, 16:20 21st August 2020

The team were called out to assist South West Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) with the extraction of a lady who had fallen and broken her ankle in the East Dartmoor Natural Nature reserve between Trendlebere Down and Drakesford Bridge. The original what3 words location seemed to be wrong – once we contacted the casualty’s sister it became clear that the casualty was closer to Drakesford Bridge.  A local team member who lives nearby, was tasked to confirm the casualty site location and pass this onto SWAST & HART. Our team members assisted paramedics with initial treatment and transfer of the lady into the land ambulance

Friday, 21 August 2020 13:32

Assist DSRT Tavistock

Callout 38/2020 - Ashreigney, 07:20 21st August 2020 

The team were contacted to assist in the ongoing search for a missing high risk female near Ashreigney. The Exmoor and Okehampton teams had been searching during the night, then Okehampton were called away on another job on the North Moor. Exmoor then asked if Tavi could assist in the morning. As Tavi only had 9 team members available they asked us for support. Shortly after the team called out we were stood down as the individual was found safe and well

Friday, 21 August 2020 13:28

Lost family near Pupers Hill

Callout 37/2020 - Cross Furzes, 11:35 19th August 2020 

Dartmoor Search & Rescue Ashburton were deployed by Devon & Cornwall Police to assist locating a family who had become lost in poor weather after camping overnight near Pupers Hill.
While the rescue team were on their way, the family contacted a local farmer who picked them up and drove them to the Lud Gate road head where they met the first of our team members arriving for the callout. After an assessment by our team doctor to ensure they were uninjured they returned to their car.
The team stood down at 12:18hrs
Monday, 17 August 2020 07:27

Lost walker - Haytor

Callout 36/2020 - Haytor, 21:07 16th August 2020

Dartmoor Search & Rescue Ashburton were deployed by Devon & Cornwall Police to assist in locating a walker in the area to the rear of Haytor.

Whilst the walker knew their location they were caught out by the thick descending fog. Using ‘phone find’ the team confirmed their location and two team members who were out running nearby were diverted to locate the missing person.

A second search party were to deployed to accompany and walk the missing person safely back to their car.

Team stood down at 22:01hrs

Monday, 10 August 2020 14:19

Injured female - Dart Valley

Callout 35/2020 - Dart Valley - New Bridge, 15:37 9th August 2020

Dartmoor Search & Rescue Ashburton were deployed by Devon & Cornwall Police to an injured walker along the River Dart.

A family of four had been walking along the river and crossed over to Long Island Ford where a female slipped between rocks and sustained a lower leg injury. Team casualty carers treated the female at the riverside and was stretchered off the island to a nearby vehicle who transported the female back to Newbridge car park to an awaiting ambulance.

We wish the lady a speedy recovery & wishing her family well & a safe journey back home.

Team stood down at 18:48hrs

Monday, 10 August 2020 14:18

Injured walker - Dart valley

Callout 34/2020 - Dart valley - Beltor corner, 17:40 7th August 2020

A woman with a lower leg injury on the Dart below Bel Tor. Call was received at 17:30 (just after most of us had showered from the last call out) team stood down at 21:00 after handing the patient over to SWAST at the Bel tor car park. An exhausting stretcher haul up the Simonslake path, plenty of gorse scratches to go around. 18 team members attended.

Monday, 10 August 2020 14:16

Fallen climber at Chudleigh rocks

Callout 33/2020 - Chudleigh Rocks, 11:43 7th August 2020

 At around 11am on Friday 7th August, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton were contacted by the police.

Our assistance was requested to secure, stabilise and recover a person who had fallen whilst rockclimbing at Chudleigh rocks in South Devon.

The team deployed three vehicles and 17 team members. Our team doctor, along with BASICS Doctors and paramedics from HART & air ambulance stabilised the casualty whilst the team conducted a technical rescue over vertical and overhanging rocks.

Team members then carried the stretcher through woodland to an air ambulance landing site where Devon air ambulance conveyed the patient to hospital.

This was a complex multi agency operation involving Coast Guard helicopter, BASICS Doctors, Devon air ambulance, SWAST, HART team, along with Devon Cornwall police and Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton.

Our thoughts are with the climber and her family & friends at this difficult time.

Friday, 07 August 2020 09:58

Near miss on Wednesday morning

Near miss on Wednesday morning at 07:50hrs. 

Team SM, was called by D&C control to assist with possible search for a missing occupant seen leaving the scene of a vehicle in a hedge and on fire. At this point not enough information showed a person was missing and with emergency services on scene dealing with a fire, we may only add to the confusion.  At about 08:30hrs, control again called for assistance and at this point it was not clear where the burning vehicle was or had an occupant left the vehicle.  The duty Police LPSM, was contacted for further information.  It transpired that the vehicle was not on the Moor as earlier indicated but just off the A38, toward Newton Abbot.  During the conversation, it became apparent that this was possible not a call for the team, and agreed by the duty SM & Police LPSM that we would not call out the team.  Further discussion with the Duty SM and other SM’s, it was agreed that this was not a shout we, as a team would get involved in.  At 10:30hrs, the Police LPSM, was contacted for further information and it transpired the driver of the burned out vehicle had been picked up by a local taxi firm and taken to Newton Abbot railway station.

Friday, 07 August 2020 09:55

2 lost females at Avon Dam

Callout 32/2020 - Avon reservoir, 15:06 5th August 2020

At approximately 14:56, team SM, was contacted to assist with locating two female walkers near Avon Dam. One walker 70yr old, had fallen and had possible lower leg injury.  The team were called out at 15:06, to RV, at Avon Dam.  Two teams with a stretcher were then sent to assist D&C Police, who were already making their way to the casualties.  Both casualties were safely evacuated from the moor. The elderly lady was treated by SWAST at Shipley Bridge car park. Weather conditions were not good and again proves that local people and visitors are still being caught out with the rapid change to weather conditions on the moor.  Both walkers were well enough to drive home in their own vehicle.  Thanks to all team members for assisting with this call out.

Standby xx/2020 - Budleigh Salterton, 14:15 1st August 2020

Search managers were advised of a potential missing male with dementia in Budleigh area, however he was found by Police safe and well before the team were mobilised.

Friday, 07 August 2020 09:32

A busy week

Callout 27/2020 - Bradninch, 18:00 23rd July 2020 

Callout 28/2020 - Bradninch, 18:00 24th July 2020 

Callout 30/2020 - Bradninch, 10:30 25rd July 2020 


The team were called to assist in a multi-agency search for believed missing despondent from Bradninch. No signs were found that evening, and Exmoor teams took over the search with Ashburton and Okehampton teams planned to return over the weekend.


Callout 29/2020 - Haytor, 16:010 24th July 2020 

Third callout of the week to assist SWAST for a collapsed unwell casualty North of Haytor and east of Smallacombe.  However the air ambulance was also involved and paramedics reached the casualty as the team assembled at Haytor Visitor Centre. She was take to hospital in the air ambulance.

There were also requests for assistance on Friday in Heathfield and Torbay which were handled by DSRT Plymouth, as the team were already committed on the incidents above.

Monday, 20 July 2020 17:26

Injured walker - Haytor

Callout 26/2020 - Haytor, 14:03 20th July 2020

At approximately 13:52, the duty search manager for DSRT Ashburton was contacted by South West Ambulance Service, to help locate a lady with lower leg injury. At 14:03 a full team call out was initiated to look for the lady in the area of Haytor. On arrival at Haytor car park information given by SWAST showed the missing lady was somewhere between Haytor Rocks and Smallacombe rock. A hasty team of 2 were sent ahead whilst we waited for the control vehicle and other members to arrive.  At approximately 14:50hrs, the hasty team located the injured walker and other team members had set off to meet up in our Landrover.  At the casualty site the casualty was treated for an ankle injury and members of our casualty care team administered first aid & pain relief. The injured walker was then transported to the waiting ambulance where she was handed to the paramedics. This shows that even on hot sunny days on Dartmoor a simple fall can lead to emergency agency teams working well together.  The casualty was then taken to hospital by ambulance and DSRT Ashburton wish her a speedy recovery.

Monday, 13 July 2020 17:39

Missing elderly lady in Newton Abbot

Callout 25/2020 - Newton Abbot, 10:45 11th July 2020

On Saturday morning the teams SM’s were contacted by D&C  Police, to assist in a search for a missing elderly lady in Newton Abbot. The duty SM and team leader met with D& C Police to discuss how best to assist.  Having put members of DSRT Ashburton on stand by it was agreed that a limited number of members would be required and the remaining team members were stood down.  Shortly after searching a small area near the river Teign, the lady was found safe and well. This was again another multi agency response with the Police and local fire service from Newton Abbot.

Wednesday, 08 July 2020 20:33

High risk missing person - Chudleigh

Callout 24/2020 -  Finlake nr Chudleigh, 09:51 8th July 2020

Dartmoor Search & Rescue Ashburton were deployed by Devon & Cornwall Police to assist in the search of male in the area of Chudleigh. This was a multi agency search with several police officers, including the police drone team, police search dogs, along with Maritime & Coastguard Agency helicopter.

Several team members deployed to defined search areas on foot to commence their searches. Our sister team Dartmoor Search & Rescue Plymouth were later called out to assist in the search, however a member of public contacted police with information which led to the finding of the male who was then assessed by medics and escorted back to safety.

Team stood down at 12:44hrs

Thursday, 02 July 2020 11:26

Walkers in trouble near Avon Dam

Callout 23/2020 -  Avon dam/Shipley Bridge, 18:35 1st July 2020

At approximately 18:35 the teams Search Managers were contacted by Devon & Cornwall Police, to say two females and a dog were stuck in rocks in a steep valley North of Avon Dam.  At 18:50, a full team call out was initiated, this led to our regular Wednesday night training being cancelled and the team instantly switching from a training mode, to a full scale search and rescue incident. Team members were dispatched to a known location and the two casualties were found very quickly.  Luckily they were not in as perilous a situation as we were informed.  The two ladies and dog were safely walked off the moor and given a hot drink on arrival at the control vehicle. The two ladies had set off for a walk in good weather conditions, unfortunately for them the weather changed in an instant from clear skies to thick fog & then rain. This does bring home that weather conditions on Dartmoor will change without warning. Our team members stood down at 20:00hrs, we then carried on with our training, albeit in a different location.


33 members attended the call out, an amazing response.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020 16:05

Missing person - Woodland Nr. Ashburton

Callout 22/2020 -  Woodland Nr. Ashburton, 17:50 23rd June 2020

At approximately 17:50 hrs, DSRT Ashburton was called out to look for an 83 yr old high risk male in the hamlet of Woodland, near Ashburton.  A team of 6 members was dispatched along with a search dog team from D&C Police to an area of wooded copse.  It was during the search of the copse that the missing person was found. A second stretcher team was also dispatched to assist. The casualty was stabilised and treated at the scene by a team doctor.  He was then taken to Torbay hospital by land ambulance.  The team was stood down at approximately 19:00 hrs. We are thankful that the gentleman was found very quickly and the team wish him a speedy recovery.

Callout 12/2019 -  Decoy Country Park, Newton Abbot,  02:20 26th April 2019

The team has been searching throughout the night for a vulnerable lady reported missing giving concern for her welfare in Newton Abbot.

Team members and the Devon and Cornwall Police LPSM discussing a missing person search strategy

Park and woodland around Decoy Country Park was searched by our volunteers alongside Police Officers, Police search dog handlers and the Police helicopter.

A foot team of our volunteers and Devon and Cornwall Police searching at night

Our volunteers were stood down shortly after 6am following a report that the lady had attended a local hospital. We hope she gets the care she needs.

Now it's time for a quick kip before heading off to work.

Press report:

Callout 11/2019 -  Ryders Hill,  13:54 24th April 2019

Fire crews and volunteers are tackling 12 separate blazes across seven miles of south Dartmoor.

Crews on foot are using beaters and a range of specialist vehicles to fight fires in Dartmoor National Park

Photo credit: Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

Press articles

7 team members were called to act as drivers and navigators for fire service personnel when another blaze was reported on Ryder’s Hill.

After being stood to for several hours it became apparent that the newly reported blaze must have been a misreported sighting of the earlier fire. Team members and vehicles now heading for home.



Callout 10/2019 -  Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead 10:15 28th March 2019

A vulnerable male known to have attempted to take his own life in the past was reported missing on the 27th. His car was located parked on Mardon Down between Moretonhampstead and Clifford Bridge and a potential sighting of the individual around 2pm yesterday was enough for a request for search assistance to be issued by Devon and Cornwall Police. 

Our Control Vehicle on site at Mardon Down coordinating a search for a vulnerable male whose car was found in the area.

Our sister Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team at Okehampton searched the area overnight and were stood down in the early hours. During the morning the Police requested our assistance to search further areas alongside a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter and various search dogs. 

Searches across the local area

Searches were conducted through the woods from Clifford Bridge to Mardon Down with no further sightings confirmed.

Early this afternoon confirmed intelligence was received that put the individual outside our search area by some margin and the team was stood down. The Police investigation continues.

Callout 09/2019 -  Primley Woods, Paignton 17:08 26th March 2019

Dartmoor Rescue was called to assist in a search for a suicidal male in the Primley Woods area of Paignton. Shortly after the arrival at the RV the male was located outside our intended search area

Callout 08/2019 -  Harefoot Cross, Holwell Down 14:17 24th March 2019

The team were called at 1417 on Sunday 24th March to assist a woman reporting that she was stuck in a bog in the Haytor area. A team deployed from our Templer Way Challenge fundraising event that was taking place at the time, and were stood down en route as the woman managed to self-rescue.

Callout 07/2019 - Pynes Hill / Ludwell valley, Exeter 00:56 9th March 2019

Overnight we have been in Exeter alongside our colleagues at North Dartmoor Search and Rescue, assisting Devon and Cornwall Police, to locate a male which they are concerned for his wellbeing.

Concern had been rasied by a member of the public earlier in the evening when they disturbed the male who seemed intent on taking his own life. The alarm was raised he after ran off.

Mystery surrounds disappearance of a man disturbed trying to take his own life

Police officers, dog units and a Police helicopter were used alongside Ashburton and Okehampton Dartmoor Search and Rescue Teams but without any idea of who we were looking for or the direction of travel, it was always going to be a difficult tasking.

The Dartmoor teams searched the Ludwell Valley together throughout the night and were eventually stood down at around 5:30am with no further clues or sightings of the individual.



Sunday, 24 February 2019 10:52

Dartmoor camper sustains a head injury.

Callout 05/2019 - Harford Moorgate, Dartmoor National Park, 01:27 24th February 2019

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton callout volunteers had an early start this morning with a callout at 01:27 to locate and evacuate a camper with a head injury from Piles Copse in the South-west of Dartmoor National Park..

A small group of campers spending the evening at Piles Copse had some unplanned excitement when one of the group sustained a head injury. in response to the group calling the ambulance service to report the incident, a team of paramedics, Police officers  and Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton volunteers were dispatched to the RV at Harford Moor Gate on the moor to the north of Ivybridge.

A team deployed via Landrover towards Sharp Tor to walk into the reported location in Piles Copse, whilst a second Landrover deployed to a high point to the north of Harford Moorgate to act as a radio relay for communications to the casualty site.

Once deployed the radio relay noted a torch light that appeared to be signalling towards their position from just south of the reported casualty position. It redirected the foot team to the location who confirmed it was the casualty we were looking for.

Casualty location and team GPS tracks at Harford Moorgate for a callout in the early hours of 24th February

Medical examination by team Doctor

One of our team Doctors and a SW Ambulance Trust paramedic completed an initial assessment of the casualty's injury and decided he didn't require a stretcher and was fit enough to be walked off the moor.  A team Landrover and Ambulance service vehicle met the party at New Take and transferred the casualty to the waiting land ambulance at Harford Moor Gate, where he was taken to hospital for further treatment.

Team Search Manager Craig Scollick said: 'We are very grateful to our volunteers who attended this incident in the early hours of this morning. Working with our ambulance service and Police colleagues, we were able to bring this incident to a close reasonably quickly and stood down our members at 04:30. Fortunately, the campers had torches that made it much easier for us to locate them. We recommend always carrying a torch when walking/camping on Dartmoor as they can really make a difference in an emergency situation as this incident showed. We wish the camper a speedy recovery from his injury'

The team were stood down at 04:30 and returned home to their beds. One member then had to be up and ready for work at 07:00.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019 23:15

Stood down on route to Penn Inn Newton Abbot

Callout 04/2019 - Penn Inn, Newton Abbot 20:44 12th February 2019

Tuesday evening and the team were called to assist in the search for a middle aged male missing in the Penn Inn area of Newton Abbot.

Fortunately as our volunteers, including our water rescue sepcialists, were on their way to the RV to begin the search, the missing person was located and the team were stood down.

Callout 06/2019 - Westpoint, Exeter 00:33 1st March 2019

The team were called at 0033 to assist in the search for a missing 27 year old terminally ill male who had become lost in the area around Westpoint. At 0052 the team were stood down following location of the misper by a local farmer.

Friday, 01 February 2019 10:47

Snow causes major disruption outside Exeter

Snow causes major disruption outside Exeter

Callout 03/2019 - Haldon Hill, various locations 14:19 31st January 2019

Rescue team members undertaking welfare checks on the A380 at Haldon Hill, Exeter

Dartmoor rescuers based at Ashburton are not just involved with finding lost walkers in Dartmoor National Park or missing dementia sufferers across Devon. As part of our role in the multi-agency response to snow events on Haldon and Telegraph Hills just outside Exeter, the team also responds in preparation for expected snow events.

Bad weather (snow) was expected to hit Haldon Hill between 15:00 and 18:00 on the 31st January. Dartmoor Rescue search managers were involved with various briefings with the emergency services and Devon County Council emergency planners earlier in the week and placed the team on standby from midday on the 31st. All agencies prime objective was to keep members of the public and their teams safe, followed by keeping vehicles moving on the A38 and A380 major road arteries in Devon.

DART52 Land rover ambulance in the snow at Kingsteignton

Team members and vehicles deployed to both sides of the hill from 15:00 to make sure members could reach any location. The East side of the hill was covered from Kennford and the West side Kingsteignton.

The weather front was travelling from the west and affected Bodmin Moor in Cornwall during the afternoon causing major traffic disruption. It travelled slower than expected and didn't hit Kingsteignton until around 18:00 when conditions deteriorated quickly and snow soon began to cause problems on the A38/A380.

Rescue team members undertaking welfare checks on the A380 at Haldon Hill, Exeter

Within 30 minutes vehicles became stuck on both sides of the hill and teams were deployed to undertake welfare checks on drivers and their passengers Working with the other agencies members did their best to unblock the routes to let snow ploughs and gritters through and help vehicles that had become stuck to get on their way.

Our team leader Keith Lambeth speaking to the 'i' national newspaper said:

"We were looking for vulnerable people and those who were ill or with injuries. One family group included a one year old baby. Members stayed with them and made sure they were kept warm until the emergency services  arrived and they could get underway"

"It was like heavy-metal Jenga with the stranded trucks. We pushed around 80 vehicles with muscle power to enable the gritters to get through."

"We are all volunteers who live locally and when people are in trouble we do our very best to help. We usually operate on Dartmoor but we've been part of the response to Haldon Hill snow issues about eight times in the 15 years. Our members came from home and straight from work in some cases to help others."

Team controllers stationed in our incident control vehicle at Kennford stand down around midnight

"Rescue teams from across the SW region were out doing the same sort of work in their respective areas to help keep the county's roads free-flowing. We have the skills to help it's just what we do But we couldn't do it without the support of our families at home."

The roads eventually reached some sort of normality around midnight although routes were still slippery in places. Team members returned to their homes having been deployed for around 8 hours.



Dartmoor rescuers have a busy start to the new year

Callout 01/2019 - Holwell Tor 17:31 1st January 2019

First callout of the New Year for Dartmoor Rescuers based at Ashburton this evening.

The team was mobilised following reports of 2 individuals stuck on Holwell Tor  Dartmoor National Park unable to descend.

Our volunteers were sent to assist. In the meantime the individuals managed to get themselves down but became disorientated in the dark and mist trying to get back to the Houndtor car park.

We located and picked them up on the granite railway and following a quick check-up from a team Doctor to make sure they were ok, returned them to their car.

A Dartmoor rescue Ashburton Landrover ambulance at night near Haytor deployed during the callout for 2 stranded walkers

Callout 02/2019 - Newton Abbot 02:07 2nd January 2019

Tasked by Devon and Cornwall Police to assist in a search for a vulnerable 80-year-old adult in the Forde House area of  Newton Abbot. 

Our foot search teams worked alongside Devon and Cornwall Police officers and dogs, and a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter using its heat-sensitive camera to try and locate the gentleman.

At 06:21 our teams were stood down with no further sightings.

Police investigations continued and later that morning it was confirmed the gentleman had been located safe. He was located in Newton Abbot outside our search area thanks to information from a member of the public.

Water rescue training for flood incident responses

We aren’t always training on the moor.

Last night we were in the South Hams in S Devon training on the water at Aveton Gifford. The village sits alongside the River Avon, also known as the River Aune. Why do we train there?

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers training on the River Aune at Aveton Gifford

Well there is a tidal road that is submerged by the incoming tide that on spring tides is covered for about two hours before and after high tide. This gives us conditions that are the nearest we can get to recreating a flooding incident, such as when we were called to the York Floods major incident in 2015.

Dartmoor Rescue volunteers entering the River Aune at Aveton Gifford whilst training


There are lots of things to be aware of for our team members during flooding and the tidal road allows us to train so that we are well prepared for any events we are called too.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers wading the River Aune during a training exercise in the South Hams

Water and flood rescue is a key part of what we do, with the Upper Dart being a hot spot for previous searches, rescues and recoveries. Hence we make sure our team volunteers are trained to operate safely around any water course.

Dartmoor rescue members wading the River Aune tidal road at Aveton Gifford

All of our members who want to be on water-based call outs need to undergo specialist water rescue training before being allowed in the water. The team has four levels of training that use the 'Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)  Module' water safety and rescue training guidelines '.

Water safety awareness

'Mod1 trained members provides general water safety awareness training and basic land-based rescue techniques and are not allowed in the water.

Dartmoor Rescue team members wading the River Aune tidal road at Aveton Gifford with a Water Rescue Systems sled.

Those in yellow helmets are trained to 'Mod 2' (Water First Responders) level and are trained to work safely near and in water, using land-based and wading techniques, and must remain 'non-bouyant' should they go in the water..

Our red helmets are Mod 3 Swiftwater Rescue Technicians and they can undertake advanced/specialist water rescue operations that could require swimming.

Dartmoor Rescue personnel training with a Water Rescue Systems sled on the tidal road at Aveton Gifford

Finally we have our water incident managers who wear white helmets, and they’re 'Mod 5'. that covers water-related operational and tactical incident command relating to local incidents. 

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton water team members carrying a casualty on a Water Rescue Systems sled

Heightened alert for Dartmoor rescuers

  • STANDBY - 13 Nov – Exeter - Near Miss – The team were called by D&C Police approx. 06:15 this morning to assist in the search for a vulnerable female missing in the Exeter area.  The search managers concluded that there was insufficient information to necessitate deployment for DSRTA members, and so elected to wait for further (mobile phone) intel from the Police in order to narrow the possible search areas.  At approx 10:30 the misper was located on an industrial estate near to where she had been found the previous day having gone missing.
  • STANDBY - 26 Oct – Babbacombe – Near Miss: approx. 07:20 D&C contacted the SM’s regarding a high-risk vulnerable missing person in the Torquay area.  The MCA was in attendance to cover coastal areas identified through a mobile phone ping test, which our Duty Search Manager deferred to in the absence of defined inland areas for our volunteers to search. A short while after, the misper was located safe and well by Devon and Cornwall Police.
  • STANDBY - 25 Oct – Sidmouth – Near Miss: just after 19:00 last Wed Devon & Cornwall Police contacted our team Search Managers regarding a potential high-risk missing person in the Sidmouth area.  The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was on-scene and searching coastal areas and so our duty Search Manager postponed our involvement until these areas were exhausted or further intelligence suggested areas we would add value to searching.  Shortly after initial notification, the misper was located at a member of the family’s residence in Dorset.

Dartmoor Rescue Christmas celebrations

Rescue Robin.023 Version 2 300x293

This evening the new Trainees will be demonstrating their organisational and innovation skills by hosting the rest of the team in the annual “Trainee Xmas Bash”.

Being a team member is more than just knowing how to search for someone and provide first aid when they are found. As a team we all have to interact and work well together, and so events like this evening, whilst good fun for all involved, are also designed to showcase the new Trainees’ talents in self-organising without supervision, and to show “team spirit”.

Traditionally the evening will involve mince pies and mulled wine at some point (helpful hint to any trainees that may have forgotten this – there’s still time!) but the rest of the evening’s festivities are entirely up to the trainees themselves, and are kept a secret from the rest of us. It’s a nice Christmas surprise to the team before our Christmas training break (but we are still on call throughout the festive period).

Merry Christmas!

So good luck to the trainees, it will all go well, and to everyone else, Merry Christmas from Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton.

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The class of 2016

On Saturday 12th November this year Devon charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton held its annual trainee selection day. Following the assessment 5 lucky candidates were invited to join the search and rescue team as trainees, attending their first training evening just 4 days later. Becky, one of the new intake was invited to blog about her first few days in the team and she kindly obliged. Thanks Becky!

Read about Becky’s first week below.

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Becky’s first week.

The first day. The first week. Five new trainees with lots of ‘no question is a stupid question’ questions. Only a week ago we had no idea if we would be stood among the red jackets at Hemsworthy Gate as we still had Saturday’s assessment day to get through.

Anyway cutting that story short, five of us got that wonderful phone call and here we are on our very first training night.

A few faces we don’t know from our assessment day – and to be honest I didn’t recognise many people I had already met now with their hats on. The pub later solved that mystery.

Back to the task in hand. We were allocated our search teams and given our jobs to do. With the help of Al I was in charge of Dart 23’s radio. My days working in the office of a ferry company paid off slightly with a marginally greater confidence in using the radio. Though it took me a while to work out the wind affects the message – hopefully it didn’t give the controllers too much of a headache.

Fairly quickly the other two teams located the ‘casualties’ who had been reported missing after going out for a walk. They were on the top of the Tor and had various different injuries, one was unconscious.

It was pretty inspiring watching all the casualty carers spring into action and from the perspective of a newbie it all looked rather professional.

We then helped with the stretcher back down from the Tor. It looked a pretty smooth ride from my angle, though Dart 23 were obviously the better stretchers bearers… That’s what Alec said anyway.

We were soon enough having our debrief and the night seemed to be over in a flash. It was back to the pub and my first visit to the Rugglestone Inn at Widecombe. Definitely think I’ll be making a sneaky trip back there.

It was a great first training night and we were certainly made to feel very welcome, roll on next week.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 13:43

First Experience of the fabled All Night Nav

The All Night Navigation Exercise

In the second post from the 2016 intake of team trainees, Dave blogs about his first experience of the All Night Navigation Exercise. The event is a right of passage for our team trainees and takes place towards the end of them completing their log book. For the newbies, we invite them along so they can see what awaits them in around about 12 months time and they can see the skill and pressure which will be expected of them. For their first experience though it is very much about enjoyment and getting to know some of the team members.

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My first introduction to the Team All Night Navigation Exercise

‘So Dave, how was your first all night navigation exercise?’ This was put to me and really it was exactly what it said on the tin.

The sea of headlights greeted each other with blinding head torch introductions from strange people. However, through the crowd immersed a nervous Bex, one of the 2015 trainees undergoing her assessment,  carrying her bodyweight in torches. I think the total was 7, supplying enough candlepower to send a distress signal to space.

Before we set off we were given a quick brief from an unknown head torch (turned out to be Navigation Team member Rob Dixon) about the new recruits not shying away from navigation during the evening essentially.

Soon we arrived at Lud Gate and Lee stepped up to navigate the first stage of the trip. I was so engrossed in a conversation with a random head torch and completely absent minded until they suddenly asked me where we were on the map. Luckily Stuart was there with his map pointing to the exact point; I then gave an approving nod.

Once we were at Pupers Hill it was my turn to take on the navigation. My job was to navigate from Pupers Hill to our campsite for the night, T Girt. So leaving the comfort of the track I headed out on bearing brimming with confidence. The pressure suddenly mounted when I looked behind to find a head torch starring at the ViewRanger app. Roughly 5 minutes into my leg, the batteries in my head torch died and I brought out my below par search torch. Unassumingly hovering my torch over the compass along with my mobile phone in the pocket next to the compass, I had naively ignored the electromagnetism effect of the torch and phone on my compass had caused me to have gone off course– that’s what I blamed anyway.

After arriving at the campsite we set the tents up on the only part of the Dartmoor not pickled with too much lumpy frozen sheep poo. Team member Tas offered around her pick n mix. She had the most eclectic selection I have ever seen. This party I was having in my mouth was slowly stopped after one head torch told me it was the same pick n mix they had brought in Woolworths in 1985, just topped up each year.

We then began to get cold so a head torch instructed Owen to lead us to a location somewhere on Huntingdon Warren. Owen expertly led us to Huntingdon Warren over particularly rough ground.

From the track leading to Red Lake we began to head south to the Marker Stone. Fully equipped this time with new batteries in the head torch I led the group to the Marker Stone.

Following a minor dispute about the location of the marker stone, we headed along the path to Huntingdon Cross where we stopped for some food. I drank the remains of my water bottle that was laden with enough caffeine to keep me awake for a month.

We returned to T Girt at approximately 3:40am and then waited for some people to arrive before retiring at 4:00am.

Everyone who was involved in the planning and organising of the trip did a fantastic job. An unforgettable experience with the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton team.  I look forward to many more in the future.

Thursday, 26 April 2012 13:38

What it means to earn the ‘Team Jacket’

Earning the red jacket

Alan, one of the 2010 intake of trainees, recently qualified and elected in to the team as full member. Here he writes about what it means and the hard work involved. The article is reproduced below in his own words.

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In the early to mid 80’s, I was part of the Dartmoor Rescue Group, Okehampton Section until work commitments got in the way. About 2 years ago I decided the time was right to rejoin so I applied to join the Ashburton Section of the Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team.

Times have changed somewhat as in the 80’s the training was very informal, whilst now trainees are given a logbook consisting of sections that cover all aspects of skills required including First Aid, micro navigation, swift water skills, ropework and radio competency. Before you can be nominated to become a Full member, a completed logbook will require over 60 signatures signing off the various skills required.

Getting through the selection day

But before you get to that stage, you need to get through the selection day.

Having sent my application to the team in early 2010, I was invited to join a selection day at the team’s base along with 13 other hopefuls in October of that year. The day consisted of a written test along with demonstrations and tours of the team vehicles and some of the equipment. Finally the prospective trainees were taken out on the moor in pairs to see what their navigation skills were like before heading back to the pub for a spot of socialising with the others and some of the full members.

I think its fair to say I underestimated the level of micro navigation involved. I was very rusty having done little detailed navigation in wild country for some years, and hence I, along with 2 others, was called back for a second chance to prove we were up to the task. By this time I had pulled my socks up and got myself out on the moor to practice and I was pleased to get the call to join the other 4 already successful applicants and become that year’s intake of trainees.

The team trains every Wednesday night throughout the year. A rendezvous (RV) is given for that night’s exercise and a theme. SaR Ex (Search & rescue Exercise), navigation, first aid, swift water training, rope work, etc, etc. It is up to the individual trainee to be proactive and work on his/her logbook to get the 60+ entires signed off.  The training traditionally has a final test which is the fabled ‘All night Nav’ exercise. Trainees up for assessment, are taken out in pairs by 2 members and are put under pressure and tasked to route plan, navigate,  find targets and reroute themselves typically getting back to camp around 5am in the morning. The idea is to test if they can be relied upon when they are tired and under pressure, which is a situation not uncommon on real callouts. Once they pass this, they are forwarded to the committee for approval to become full members and receive their team jacket.

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The training has been fantastic. Not only does it get you out and on the moor in all weathers, but you also get the opportunity to do lots of different things including working with RAF Chivenor and their air-sea rescue Seaking helicopters. In addition as the team is a voluntary charitable body that relies wholly on public donation, members get involved with fundraising activities as well. Everything from providing safety cover at organised events such as Ten Tors, various sponsored walks and runs, running presentations and talks to local groups interested in what we do, as well as helping at larger events such as the Dartmoor Classic. All great fun and very worthwhile.

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Finally, the reason why most people initially join is to assist the public who get into difficulty on our patch. We are called out by the Police, 9 time to date this year,  and our callouts vary from people lost on the moor, as you would expect,  canoists in diffuiculty, and also increasingly these days, looking for despondants, vulnerable adults and children,  or dementia sufferers who have gone missing anywhere across the moor, South and East Devon, including urban areas such as Exeter and Torbay. As a Senior trainee I have already attended callouts and what makes me proud is that a group of people are on call 365x24x7 to go and look for people who they don’t know, in their own time day or night for no payment what so ever. Community spirit is alive and well.

Last night I was awarded my team jacket having successfully completed my training and have now become a full member. Getting to this stage has been a challenge and I have learnt an awful lot from a lot of great people. The team members by their nature are a very giving bunch and I can’t thank them enough for helping me to get through the training.  To say I am chuffed to bits is an under statement. The training is ongoing however to continue to improve my skills and make sure I fit into the team and that it all gels together and works efficiently on a callout when our services are required.

I can’t wait!

Saturday, 27 October 2012 13:32

Trainee selection day 2012

Rescue trainee selection

Once a year the team holds a selection day where we assess for suitability those who have applied to become members of the team. In 2012 that day occurred on Saturday October 27th, that happened to be a gloriously sunny autumn day, not the best weather to test navigation skills!

Throughout the year applications that come into the team are collected by the team secretary and invited to a day in October where they can see if they like us, we see if we like them and they have the capabilities and dedication to become a full member.

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As we are all volunteers and there are many skills required of a team member, it’s important that the people we select to become trainees are made fully aware of what awaits them and the commitment required.  Callouts and weekly training,  specialist training at weekends as well as fundraising and support for events such as The Abbots Way, Dartmoor Classic and The Haytor Heller . Furthermore we don’t just rescue walkers, our work also covers swift water rescue for example where all members have to be at least trained to Level 2 : Bankside Support; as classified by Defra, as well as all our off-moor callouts.

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It’s not widely known that we frequently are called upon by the Police in searching for vulnerable members of our community who have gone missing due to dementia related illnesses, as well as suicide risks and on occasions, crime related scenarios. This could be on the moor but typically is in and around urban areas, including Exeter & Torbay, and  across the South Devon area.

A lot of the training relies on the generosity and time of the already busy team members to impart skills and knowledge, hence it is only fair on them that the trainees selected are committed to see the training through to completion so that this valuable time is not wasted. To balance the training needs of both existing members as well as trainee’s, we limit our annual intake to approximately 10% of the membership, which means that some of the candidates who attend the day will not be successful this time round.

The day begins

So the day begins in the rescue centre where the candidates are welcomed with a coffee and an introduction to who we are. Next its straight into the first test of the day with an hour to complete a written paper. That done its a briefing from the Chairman who highlights our intake limitation and the requirements and expectations the team makes on its members.

Other key members introduce themselves and provide more background on what being a team member means from their perspective and more insights on the workings of the team.

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Then its a tour of the centre, vehicles and equipment where members give an overview on all that the trainees will need to become familiar with over the coming months.

Next the candidates are split into pairs and assigned to 2 Hill Party Leaders who will be taking them ‘on the hill’ in the afternoon and early evening. This part of the day assesses their navigation, self sufficiency and survival skills, as well as how well they could fit into the team. They are given the grid reference of the start point for the navigation exercise and told to make their own way there.

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The car park quickly fills as members and candidates arrive. This causes a lot of interest from passing motorists out enjoying an afternoon on the moor seeing a mountain rescue Landrover and bright red team jackets.  But soon peace returns as the small groups head off onto the moor to return later in the dark of early evening where the day comes to an end over a beer in the pub. After the candidates leave for home, tired and a lot more informed about search and rescue than when they left,  the hard work begins as the Hill Party Leaders gather to share their shortlist of who will be invited to join us and which ones will get the no doubt disappointing news they, on this occasion, have not managed to make it, but hopefully they will try again next year.

The successful candidates will get a call over the coming days with an invite to our regular training nights. If they are still keen to be part of the team after a month,  they are issued with their training logbook which will be their focus for the coming 12 – 18 months. Then the hard work begins!


Trainee Selection 2012

Pushed to the limit in preparation for life saving role

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For all trainees, the ‘All night nav’ is a right of passage into the team and typically one of the final elements to be signed off in their logbook before being nominated to become a full member. This year, Lugs has kindly written about his recent experience giving you an insight into what it takes to be part of a search and rescue team.

Lugs says …….

The all night navigation assessment is designed to test at night and over an extended period regardless of weather, a trainees navigation skills when tired and under pressure.

 The ‘all night nav’ assessment normally takes place when the trainee is at the end or near the end of their logbook.  My intake has had the chance of two previous all nighters to prepare us for the real thing. The first one turned into a full scale all night call out 30 minutes after leaving the vehicles,  and the other, in March this year, we were taken for a gentle ‘bimble’ so we had some idea of what it was like to be out and moving across the moor all night, while the then senior trainees were being put through their paces further out on the moor, in amongst the bogs and mires….

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Finally it was around 8p.m and we are off. The first part of the evening involves getting to our Bivi site, the location of which we are only told the night before. We are in groups of four, two specialist nav team members and two trainees being assessed. The first couple of legs are fairly straightforward and act as a nice settler to get your ‘moor head’ on and making little adjustments to your bag which at this point is not the lightest as you begin to concentrate and warm up. Getting used to the terrain which even at this point isn’t easy going, striding through clumps of knee high purple moor grass and knee deep soft bog,  trying to get into some sort of rhythm, which isn’t easy.   You look at your map while remembering to dim your headtorch, trying to build up a mental picture of the ground…and so away we go, little specks of light in the blackness working our way out across the moor from point to point. Even though each trainee is given an alternate leg, there is no time to rest in between legs as you need to keep track and pace with whoever is leading because at some point you will be asked where you are…

Sometime just before 12 midnight and having worked our way out via Deep Swincombe  to Ter Hill and back down the valley formed by the fledgling Swincombe, we arrive at the bivi site half way between Fox Tor and Childe’s Tomb. From here the main event starts. We unload, set up tents grab a quick cuppa and some fuel, in my case bananas and a well known chocolate confection, (ok a Mars bar). We now pair up with two different nav team members and off we go, the main event..the all nighter.

Swapping legs between the two trainees being assessed it is now after midnight. On each leg, bearings, pacing and timing need to be accurate. We navigate to features that are not on the map ( there’s a lot on Dartmoor that’s on the ground and not on the map and vice versa) but we are told what we should be looking for and sometimes it can be just a tiny ‘kink’ in a contour line. Each trainee has to follow the route of the other, at any point the one that isn’t leading will be asked for a position, how far we have been or how far it is to our intended target, and so it goes on…At one point this year we had a good dousing followed up by a nice fog, which, as its pitch black anyway, doesn’t really slow proceedings down that much…just makes the evening even more interesting… I’ll not give too much away, I think if I say we went over Crane Hill, across Plym Head and back south easterly just North of Ducks Pool, on to Blacklane Mire and then back up towards Crane Hill all the time pace counting, checking bearings, checking timings, checking your surroundings, is the ground running up where it should be, is it starting to fall away where I expect it to, and is what’s supposed to be there actually there at all!

All this is done with map and compass and dead reckoning. The team does of course use GPS devices but you have to be able to navigate to a very high standard with map and compass across any terrain and in any weather and every member of the team can, without exception.

After making our way back over Crane hill we headed  back to the bivi site, stopping for a well earned brew on the way back arriving around 5.30a.m in time to grab a couple of hours kip before a hike off the hill and a well earned breakfast at The Tradesman’s in Scorriton. Needless to say navigating to such standards and across terrain such as this is hard work but ultimately very rewarding and as a Search and Rescue Team entirely necessary. 

 And there you have it the bare bones of the all night navex…well you didn’t expect me to tell you everything..did you?

Thanks Lugs, an excellent insight to the standards trainees are expected to reach during their training. What Lugs didn’t say though was he passed. Congratulations and very well deserved.

Monday, 15 April 2013 13:26

Life as a search and rescue trainee

Life as a search and rescue trainee

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Our blog includes various posts written by our trainees on their experiences in a search and rescue team as well as different aspects of the training. But up to now, they’ve been all from the guys. So to put that right, newly qualified member Emma (congratulations!) has written about her experience of being part of our team from the initial selection day to earning her ‘team jacket’

Emma’s account of life as a search and rescue trainee….

This weekend I went on my first callout. My phone beeped at me with a grid reference and off I went. It is strange to think that 18 months ago I was only vaguely aware of Mountain Rescue and now I find myself part of team on Dartmoor.

So to rewind, 18 months ago I was sat at my desk writing my doctoral thesis in marine biology and I was distracting myself by looking for other things that I would rather be doing. I came across a call for volunteers for mountain rescue on Dartmoor and thought it looked like an interesting thing to be involved in. I duly sent off my application and the following weekend I found myself in a room with about 16 other people beginning the assessment process.

We were a pretty diverse group 14 men and 2 women from all walks of life. Firstly, we were given a talk by Team Leader Rob. He told us that we were all cogs in a machine and each cog was as important as the next, if a cog was too big or too small the machine wouldn’t work properly. That brought home to me how important it was going to be to work as part of that team. Overall, the assessment was an interesting, exciting, and very challenging process.

The second stage involved a written test with a map to check our general orienteering skills and a chat with a team member about how we would deal with different incidents. Finally, we headed out onto the moors, just as the rain began, to test our orienteering skills to the full. We navigated into the night before heading to the pub for a well-earned pint! I have to admit I was somewhat surprised and delighted the next day when Mickey (the training officer) called to invite me to become a Dartmoor Search and Rescue Trainee, I had assumed that they were only looking for 14 stone muscular chaps but apparently an  8 stone girl could still have something to offer…..

(To give you a more in-depth idea of what the selection day entails, a blog has been written on the 2012 event.) 

The last 18 months have involved comprehensive training, mainly on Wednesday nights, in different rescue areas. This has been hugely diverse from advanced navigation, to river safety, rope work, radio use and casualty care. Every training session has been professionally run and I have always learnt something new. It has pushed me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, like jump in a fast-flowing river, or dangle off a tor at night. It has given me confidence in my own skills, but most importantly it has taught me the importance of being part of a close-knit team. We were continually assessed and our training is recorded in a logbook. All of our training comes together on Search and Rescue nights where we are given a scenario and work as we would on a proper callout.

The final part of our training is known as the “All Night Nav”. This is where we spend an entire night navigating the moors in the winter. My first attempt was a complete disaster. I stepped out of the car, panicked, forgot everything I had been taught and couldn’t find my way out of the car park. Not a great start. Needless to say the night didn’t improve and unfortunately I failed. However, the massive cooked breakfast cheered me up nicely!

Our next All Night Nav was scheduled for 10 weeks later. I knew that I had 10 weeks to get my act together and not let myself down quite so spectacularly. With the help of team members, friends and family, I spent as much time as I could wandering the moors and felt considerably more confident when the next one came around. As the night went on and I was hitting all my targets my confidence grew and by the end of the night I really knew I could do it! It was a great sense of achievement to be told the following morning that I had passed!

The next Wednesday night I was given my Jacket and added to the callout list.

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It is a huge personal achievement to have come this far, however, I am well aware that I couldn’t have done this without the help, support and patience of the team members and other trainees. For this I will always be grateful, and I look forward to being able to help new recruits in the same way in the future. I am excited to be a cog in a very well-oiled mountain rescue machine. Thank-you to everyone for their help and support.

Monday, 28 October 2013 13:17

Tough competition for budding rescuers

Tough competition for budding rescuers

On Saturday October 26th we held our 2013 trainee selection day.

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We are often contacted by members of the public who wish to become members of our team and once a year we run a day designed to assess the capabilities and the ability to fit in to the team of those who have applied throughout the year. We had 16 members of the public who joined us at our Rescue Centre for the 2013 assessment, out of which we were able to offer up to 6 places for this year’s intake.

Men and women from all walks of life apply with a wide range of skills.  Our Training Officer kick started the day giving an introduction of what was in store for them before introducing other team members who gave a short overview of their involvement and the commitment it entails. Our Chairman delivered a potted history of the team before the candidates were presented with a short written test paper so that we could get a better understanding of their base capabilities with regard to navigation and first aid.10534148865 dd91997d58 b

Although the focus of the day is very much around assessing the candidates capabilities, we also provide a tour of our Rescue Centre , equipment and vehicles so that they leave with a much better understanding of the work of a Mountain Rescue team. The biggest area under estimated by many people who apply is the commitment we expect from our trainees and team members. It’s not just the callouts any time of day or night but also the weekly training throughout the year and the involvement with events and fundraising as we rely almost entirely on the generosity of the public to remain operational.  Every member of the team is an ‘equal cog’ and working as part of a team is of utmost importance. So apart from the skills navigation, first aid and technical skills being assessed, we are also looking at how candidates will fit in as team members.

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Early in the afternoon candidates are given a kit check and a grid reference to make their way to where they will be met and split up into small groups of 2 or 3. Accompanied by senior team members they are tasked to navigate their way to targets features on the open moor. This often opens another area that candidates underestimate as the navigation will include features that are not Tors!  These could be cairns, boundary stones, re-entrants and other features that will test the candidate’s ability to navigate to a more advanced level, returning after dark to the car park and a wind down in a Dartmoor pub.

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So, if you are thinking of applying to our team we would love to hear from you (see our Contact Us page on our website on how to get an application form). But, before you apply make sure you are well prepared for the next selection day and take onboard the following points.

  • It is a big commitment being part of a Mountain Rescue team and you will be expected to attend not just callouts, but weekly training meets and fundraising events throughout the year. If you can’t realistically make give this level of commitment, then consider joining
  • We expect a good standard of navigation skills of all our potential trainees on the selection day as we are not able to train individuals to navigate. Instead, we will help you once selected as a trainee to develop your skills from a base standard into the advanced skills required for the team. You should, therefore, be able to pace accurately, read a map and relate it to the ground about you, understand contours, take and walk on a bearing and be able to take a resection.
  • Make sure you bring every item on the kit list that will be sent out with your selection day invitation. This includes, waterproofs, map, compass and a good hand and head torch as you will need them all! It never ceases to amaze us that some candidates don’t bring a map.
  • Before the day make sure you are up to speed with your navigation skills as these will be tested on the hill.

Our next selection day will be in October 2014 and you can apply anytime between now and then. In between time we are very much looking forward to welcoming 6 new trainees into the team and helping them work through their logbook to become active full team members.


Trainee Selection 2013

Saturday, 15 February 2014 13:15

When the rescued become rescuers

When the rescued become rescuers

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Catherine, one of our current trainees, talks about the motivation behind her joining the team.

My motivation for joining the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team at Ashburton was directly as a result of having been on the receiving end of their professionalism and dedication, when they hauled my daughter out of the Dart gorge up very steep ground, whereas the NHS and Search & Rescue helicopters had both been unable to safely reach her.  She had sustained a knee injury while jumping in the river and was unable to walk.  We sat and waited for about 3 hours while the emergency services decided it was too tricky a location and her injury not worth the risk of winching her out of the gorge, and them calling DSRT.

When they arrived it was a wonderful sight to see Paul and Mike in their red jackets approaching, and within minutes being warm again (having only come out equipped for a quick swim on the last afternoon of the holidays…) as they provided my daughter with a kit mat to sit on, and spare clothes for both of us – my first taste of wearing a red jacket.  I was very impressed with the efficiency with which the rescue was carried out, as the ‘screamer’ was rigged and put into action.  I was amazed by all these people giving up their beautiful summer evening, pending barbecues and meals, to come out and help.   It was a lot of work getting my daughter safely and comfortably onto the stretcher, and then all the way up the side of the gorge to Dr Blackall’s drive and the waiting landrover.

During the evening I had the opportunity to quiz team volunteer Taz about training nights etc, and I couldn’t help thinking how much I would enjoy being one of the rescuers.  Anyway I sent off my application form and attended the October assessment day, which was rather nerve wracking as 16 of us were going for 6 places.  It followed the format described in previous blogs.  I was extremely delighted to receive the call from Mickey telling me I was one of the chosen ones.

My first few training evenings were quite intimidating, being surrounded by all these people in red jackets and head torches who all knew exactly what they were doing.  As the weeks have gone on I have come to appreciate both what a priviliege it is to be part of the team, and how much time team members are willing to give to teach me and my fellow trainees what we need to know.  I had no idea quite how beautifulDartmoor could be at night, and I feel very lucky being out every Wednesday in such an amazing environment.

While the training nights have frequently put me out of my comfort zone as I do new things, I feel I am learning at a good pace, and look forward, in a years’ time or thereabouts, to wearing a red jacket again, as a team member this time, and getting the chance to help others as we were helped.

Thanks Catherine for the post and we are glad you are enjoying life on the team.

Friday, 26 September 2014 13:12

Would you like to join Dartmoor Rescue?

Would you like to join Dartmoor Rescue?

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Selection is closed for 2015

The opportunity to apply to become a Trainee Candidate within Dartmoor SRT Ashburton for this year has closed. To be considered for the 2015 intake please use the Contact Us page and select ‘I am interested in joining the team’ from the list of options. Approaches after this date will be considered for the 2015 intake.

Devon volunteers home from devastating York floods

We are very pleased to say that Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers alongside those from North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Tavistock, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Plymouth and Exmoor Search & Rescue Team have been stood down, debriefed and are on their way back to Devon tonight.

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Dave Underhill, an Ashburton team search manager deployed to York said “We have been given such a warm welcome by the people of York and we have been deeply touched by their generosity towards us. We hope that our deployment has been of help to the local community and that we have made a positive difference to them, helping them to get through the awful flooding they have endured. We thank them and wish them well with the task of getting their homes and business’ back to normal over the coming months”.

Dave went on to say:

“We’d also like to thank all of you for the hundreds of messages of support that the team has received over the last few days on Facebook and Twitter. We really appreciate it. Our volunteers returned to Devon and their families at 03:30 this morning with kit packed away already for the next callout and wet kit hanging in the drying room.”

“They  couldn’t do what they do without the support of their families and we would like to thank them for being the rock behind our members. They put up with the disruption to family life and rarely get the public recognition they deserve. A very big thank you to them all.”

Mountain Rescue teams across the country have been deployed to the floods in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire over the last week or so. They are all volunteers who use their own equipment and give their time free of charge because they want to help. We are proud to be part of such a wonderful group of men and women.

Press Articles

The video is courtesy of BBC Spotlight

Torbay Herald Express:

Western Morning News:

Dartmoor walker with no map, compass, torch or whistle requires rescue

The team 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.

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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:

Herald Express:

Bad 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 dialled 999 after getting disorientated and cold in horrendous weather on the south moor.

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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.

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

Press Articles


Western Morning News:

Torquay Herald Express:

Headline sponsors announced for annual Templer Way Challenge

Registration for the 2016 Templer Way Challenge is now OPEN. Register at

A BOVEY TRACEY firm has delighted members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton by becoming headline sponsors for the charity’s 2016 Templer Way Challenge.

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The deal could result in as much as £5,000 from Plastic Surgeon Fine Finishers with management pledging to match funds raised by staff who undertake the 18-mile sponsored walk on sunday April 24.

That amount could make serious inroads into the £20,000 it takes to keep the lifesaving volunteers able to respond to the 35 or so shouts they receive each year.

Last Christmas their expertise was even called for in Yorkshire when floods devastated a number of communities.

‘Plastic Surgeon have given the 2016 Templer Way Challenge a real kick start and we’re extremely grateful for their support,’ said team fundraising officer Alan Pewsey.

‘Now we’re looking forward to the event, our sixth, with great anticipation and hoping to attract plenty of walkers who will have a great day with us.

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‘Everyone will set off from Haytor Quarry and make their way to Shaldon, and the best bit is it’s all down hill!’

‘We usually have about 100 people take part and we’re hopeful we can do that again this year. Registering for the event is via our website at We’d also like to hear from other businesses if they’d like to follow Plastic Surgeon’s lead and become corporate sponsors, we really do appreciate the help.’

Plastic Surgeon is based in Bovey Tracey but has seven regional centres across the country and employs almost 200 staff.

It specialises in surface repairs to materials such as metal, plastic and render. Customers include major housebuilders, insurance firms and private householders.

Managing Director Rob Mouser said: ‘There are two reasons we’ve chosen to support Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton, one is that they’re local and relevant to people here and the other is that we always do things which encourage teamwork among our staff.

‘I’m not sure yet how many colleagues will be taking part but we’re aiming for 20. I’ve done the walk before as have some others but this will be the first time as a company that we’ve sponsored it.

‘It promises to be a great day.’

Press release courtesy of:

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Thursday, 16 June 2016 11:23

Extraction of unconscious teenager

Extraction of unconscious teenager

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 lost in Dartmoor National Park. 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.

Press articles

Plymouth Herald:

Difficult helicopter winch from Dart Valley

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

Torbay Herald Express:

Grough Online:

Talking to BBC Radio Devon about the team’s 40 years saving lives

Ramblings of a Mountain Rescue Team.

Hill Party Leader Steve Jones and Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey talk to BBC Radio Devon’s Shep on the past 40 years and what’s ahead for the next 40 years.

Click on the green play button to play the clip (duration 10:31).

You can also open the clip in the Vocaroo application allowing you to scroll through the clip rather than having to listen to it all. Just click on ‘Vocaroo’

If the embedded application doesn’t appear then you can hear the interview via the following link CLICK HERE

Order your copy of our 40th anniversary book.

Our new book ‘Ramblings of a Rescue Team’ is a collection of accounts of real rescues from our 40 year history.

Not only is it THE stocking filler to have this Christmas, each book purchased raises funds for the rescue team.

Order yours by clicking on the image below:15193550 10154219105397545 3854899567981452636 n 300x300

We have a number of video and audio clips that tell you more about the vital service the team provides to the emergency services in Devon. The interviews and reports includes footage of incidents we’ve been involved with not just in Devon but to major incidents across the country

Missing 16-year-old spotted entering the River Dart

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.

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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.

totnes callout

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 behavioural 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..

On Sunday morning the 8th August, Polcie 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.

Mountain Rescue Teams, #morethanjustmountains

Press reports:

Grough Online:

BBC Devon:

Torbay Herald Express:

Stories of hairy hands, pillow mounds and parliaments

From hairy hands to pillow mounds and parliaments; we had them all at our third sell-out Dartmoor in the Dark guided walk on Saturday.

After two really successful 'Dartmoor in the Dark' night walks at Haytor and Hound Tor, we changed venues at the weekend to Two Bridges leading five groups of walkers out to Wistman's Wood for a slightly spookier walk complete with several 'stories' told at designated stopping points along the way.

Spooky stories told at night in Dartmoor's WIstmans Wood by Dartmoor rescue volunteers

Teams walked just over three miles starting at the Two Bridges Hotel. Stops included Crockern Tor, Littaford Tor and of course, Wistman's Wood, with a supper in the pub to look forward to after the walk.

Fundraising officer, Ashley Rubens, was behind the third in our Dartmoor in the Dark series. He said:

“Most of our training and callouts occur after dark, especially during the winter, so we take walking on the moor in the dark very much for granted. We forget that for a lot of people it is quite daunting so 'Dartmoor in the Dark' is for those people, helping them to experience Dartmoor's unique beauty at night."

"I was really pleased to hear the great feedback from our guests and very grateful to our volunteers for their enthusiasm making sure our guests enjoyed the evening. The money raised will go towards upgrading our radio equipment to the new digital standard, which is vital in supporting our volunteers during their callouts finding the lost, missing, vulnerable and injured ”.

Night time stories at Littaford Tors during Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton Dartmoor in the Dark

Once again the weather was onside with a clear - albeit slightly windy – evening with plenty of opportunities to see the stars.

As a completely voluntary service, the main aim of the evening was to raise money for the team. Proving to be extremely popular - selling out on every occasion so far - the team will be looking to hold more events in the New Year. Details of which will be released on our Facebook page and also emailed out to those who've signed up for our newsletter.

Dramatic night time sky as Dartmoor Rescue volunteers entertain walkers on its popular Dartmoor in the Dark event at Crockern Tor.

 To get advanced notice of future Dartmoor in the Dark events you can subscribe to our newsletter below.

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Alpaca's and marshmellows. All in the name of fundraising.

Julie Dymott and a group of friends each year borrow a field that belongs to one of our team volunteers to host a fundraising bbq for the team.

Lots of fun is always had and this year was no different. Young Zach won a private flight, Billy won a big jar of marshmallows by guessing how many there were - keep a close eye on them Billy! Chris arranged an Alpaca walk and the weekend finished with, of course, a cream tea (cream first we hope #justsayin).

Zach and Billy with their prizes

This year the group of friends raised a magnificent £250 - (which hopefully will be matched by Barclays) + an extra £62.50 in gift aid

Julie and her friends getting acquainted with the Alpacas

We are incredibly grateful to Julie and her friends for raising this magnificent amount that will help us to help those in-need.

This has come at a very opportune moment as we are currently raising funds to replace a number of our VHF radios due to an enforced radio band change by UK Government, and taking the opportunity to improve our radio network which will all cost in the region of £25,000

Enjoy your flight Zach!

3 minibuses, 2 landrovers and a control vehicle : Templer Way 2018 a personal view

It’s hard to believe that this year saw Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton running their Templer Way sponsored walk for the eighth time.

It’s come a long way from the 20 or so participants we had in 2010 to almost 200 in 2018. I remember chatting with fellow team members Kate and Helen in the pub one evening in early 2010 about holding a sponsored walk down the Templer Way as ‘a bit of an experiment’. Little did we realise back them how much it would grow in popularity and become such a flagship fundraising event for the rescue team. Feedback from our participants say it's down to a few key things; they feel it is a great route, it’s a for a good cause, team members are friendly, and they are kept well informed through team member Alan Pewsey’s fabulous use of web and social media.

Craig and Alan brief 200 Templer Way Challenge participants at the murky start to the 2018 event

By March this year Alan’s social media marketing campaign had been picking up a pace and we were hopeful of around 200 participants. We were aiming to raise around £6,000, a big sum and a large proportion of the running costs the rescue team needs to raise each year to remain operational. In early April I dusted off the plans we had used in previous years and Alan, Kate and I discussed improvements we could make for this year’s event. A week before the event the web registration was closed, participant data collated, final checks done and plans completed.

The morning of the Templer Way Challenge 2018 dawned with fog and rain on Dartmoor. We were hopeful that the forecast of some sunny spells later in the afternoon would be true as by then walk was due to reach Shaldon. Despite the weather the start was a hive of activity; participants were registering, our team members were arriving, and equipment was being issued. After the pre-start brief to our team members it was onto thanking our participants for turning up on what was a very wet and misty day. We then struck off from the Haytor Car Park into the thick fog towards the start of the Templer Way tramway. After a quick countdown and we were off, no more planning, no more paperwork just the event to play itself out.

200 walkers set off on the Dartmoor Rescue Templer Way Challenge

In what seemed like no time we were in Shaldon and as the number of smiling finishers gradually grew I knew that we were going to have another successful event and I could start to relax. When we greeted the last participant and presented them with their medal I felt a growing sense of pride in what the volunteers of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton had achieved in running such a marvelous event.

We now know that the event raised over £7,000 and we already have many participants asking when the event will be next year. Team member Neil officially takes over the organisation of the event in 2019 when I’m sure it will be even more successful. As for me, in 2019, I plan to take part in the event as a participant and skip hand in hand down the route with my wife, something I’ve been promising her since 2010

Craig hands over the operational reigns to Neil for the 2019 Templer Way Challenge 2019

Craig Scollick

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton


Monday, 26 February 2018 17:12

Ivybridge bowlers raise funds for rescuers.

Ivybridge Short Mat Bowls Tournament raises £800 for search and rescue charity

The Ivybridge Short Mat Bowls Club held its annual charity tournament on Saturday 24th February.  28 teams competed from West Devon and East Cornwall in an event which raised £800 for a local search and rescue charity.

This event which is very popular with Short Mat Bowls teams is held annually at the Ivybridge Community College. The winning team this year was a team from Willand in East Devon.

John Chaplin the club secretary said:

"We generally try and support a charity local to the Ivybridge area or one that a member may have benefitted from. Proposals are put forward by members with the final good cause to benefit from our fundraising selected by the committee. As many of us regularly walk Dartmoor and coast areas of the South Hams a search and rescue organisation is one we may need, so the search and rescue team at Ashburton proposed by our members fitted the criteria very well." 

Mark Pickering receiving a cheque from Ivybridge Short Mat Bowls secretary John Chaplin

Photo: Mark Pickering receiving a cheque from Ivybridge Short Mat Bowls secretary John Chaplin

Mark Pickering, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton callout volunteer who attended the cheque presentation said: 

"We are a small charity of volunteers that relies on public donation for around 92% of our funding. "

"Not many people realise that we don't just rescue lost walkers on Dartmoor. An increasing number of the 30-40 callouts we are asked to attend by the full-time emergency services each year are off the moor and can be anywhere from Salcombe in the South Hams to Lyme Regis in East Devon and everywhere in between including urban areas such as Torbay and Exeter."

"The type of incident we respond to day or night also varies. Lost or injured walkers, climbers or cyclists. Water-related calls responding to flooding incidents as well kayakers in difficulty on the River Dart. We also get tasked to help the Police with missing person enquiries such as the vulnerable with dementia or mental health problems, as well as children."

"We are very grateful to John and all the bowlers for the magnificent donation of £800 raised from the tournament. All the donation will go directly to helping us help those in-need, 24/7 and will effectively save lives."

Short Mat Bowls is a popular sport for players of green bowls to play through the winter months as it can be played in local clubs and halls. The Ivybridge club meets Monday and Tuesday evenings at the Community College. New members are always welcome and training and equipment is available. The Secretary can be contacted 01752 691306 for further information.


Bovey golfers fundraising success for Dartmoor charity

A very big thank you to Mel Winter, 2017 Ladies Captain, and all the golfers that supported her nominated charity this year at Bovey Tracey Golf Course.

Bovey Tracey Golf Club present a cheque to local rescue charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

This support will make a big difference to us for the coming year, helping to keep us operational and helping those in need.

Thank you!

Donation from popular Dartmoor business vital for saving lives

Each year Ullacombe Farm likes to support a local good cause to support throughout the year`, and over the last 12 months, its staff and customers have been raising money for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton.

At its popular Funny Farm Festival event in September, Ullacombe farm's Debbie Coles unveiled a grand total of £3,489.68 raised for the volunteer charity of rescuers. Team Search Manager Dave Underhill said ' We are extremely grateful to the wonderful staff and customers of Ullacombe Farm for raising this amazing amount for team funds.'

'We rely on public donations for over 92% of our funding so support from the public and local businesses is critical to our continued operation, enabling us to help those in need. The donation shall be used to help meet the rising costs of vehicle and equipment maintenance which is a continuing drain on our limited resources.'

Debbie Coles from Ullacombe Farm said 'We've very much enjoyed raising vital funds for the team at Ashburton this year - even taking part in the 18-mile Templer Way Challenge in the pouring rain was great fun! Our fabulous staff and customers never fail to rise to the challenge, and we are delighted that our donation will help the team continue to provide the vital service it does to visitors and the local community.'

Debbie Coles from Ullacombe Farm presenting a cheque for £3,489.68' to Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton's Dave Underhill.

The photograph shows Debbie Coles from Ullacombe Farm presenting the cheque to team Search Manager Dave Underhill at its stand at the Funny Farm Festival.


Monday, 08 September 2014 13:00

Rescue volunteers in Torbay 10 mile sea swim

Dartmoor Rescue volunteers in marathon Torbay 10 mile sea swim

Our volunteers are a very generous bunch, giving up a lot of time and energy not just attending callouts when the phone goes off at 3 in the morning, but also taking part in regular training and fundraising events. However team members Andy Turner and Jim Webster have really gone the extra mile, or should that be 10 miles in swimming across Torbay to raise funds for the team!

Team members Andy and Jim swam 10 miles across Torbay to raise money for Devon rescuers

Both keen wild swimmers, Jim and Andy set themselves a challenge of swimming from Ness Beach in Shaldon to Brixham Breakwater both swimming the entire 10 miles as opposed to a relay.  They also set themselves a target of raising £2,000 for their chosen good causes, Cancer Research UK and ourselves. Andy said ” The choice of charities was simple as we have both lost a parent to cancer and both volunteer for the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton. The 2 charities rely on public support for their funding and we want to use the challenge to help support the great work they do”.

Shaldon to Brixham

The route followed the coast from Shaldon to Hopes Nose before heading directly across the bay to Brixham.  The guys left Ness Beach at 08:30 am yesterday morning and expected the swim to take between 5 and 7 hours. In the end they both finished the ride in less than 5 hours with Andy taking just 4 hours 20 minutes.

big swim Ness BEach Shaldon to Berry Head breakwater raising funds for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

An elated Andy at the finish said. “That was very enjoyable. The conditions were pretty good and we passed very close to a pod of about 20 porpoises on the way.” Andy went on to say  “The support we have had has been fantastic, and we are very grateful to all who saw us off from Ness Beach and the welcome party at the beach at Brixham”

Jim also expressed his thanks “I would like to say a special thank you to James the driver of my safety boat and to Gibset Marine at Torquay harbour for the loan of the boat. To Trev my safety kayaker who fed and watered me on route and to Georgie for the goodie bag complete with Big Swim T shirts presented on our arrival on the beach at Brixham.”

An elated Andy at the finish said. “That was very enjoyable. The conditions were pretty good and we passed very close to a pod of about 20 porpoises on the way.” Andy went on to say  “The support we have had has been fantastic, and we are very grateful to all who saw us off from Ness Beach and the welcome party at the beach at Brixham” Jim also expressed his thanks “I would like to say a special thank you to James the driver of my safety boat and to Gibset Marine at Torquay harbour for the loan of the boat. To Trev my safety kayaker who fed and watered me on route and to Georgie for the goodie bag complete with Big Swim T shirts presented on our arrival on the beach at Brixham.”

Jim also had a word for his swim partner Andy “A very big thank you to Andy for all the the training swims and swimming tips that helped so much. I won’t mention here how much quicker than me he was!!!”

We are very proud of them both and very grateful for the efforts they have put in in raising funds for the team. Our Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey said. “I thought they were slightly mad when they first came up with the fundraising idea but had no doubt they would complete it in style. Being at the beach at Brixham watch them approach the shore was very special and the money they’ve raised  will will be put to good use in saving lives and making a difference to our local community”.

The story of their challenge made it on to the BBC Spotlight news programme on Sunday 7th September, a copy of the video is below.





Gidleigh Park Michelin diners raise funds for Dartmoor charity

During the month of November diners at the 2 Michelin Starred Gidleigh Park Country House Hotel and Restaurant donated a total of £603.50 to Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton.

gidleigh park diners donate a cheque to Devon rescue charity

Alan Pewsey, Fundraising Officer for the team of volunteers who cover Dartmoor National Park and across Devon said “We are very grateful to Gidleigh Park and its diners for supporting us as their monthly charity during November. We rely on the general public for around 92% of our funding, and without this wonderful support from businesses such as Gidleigh Park, we would be unable to continue to provide our service to those who need it, not just on Dartmoor but across Devon.”

Assisting Devon and Cornwall Police

The team of 60 volunteers have been called upon 29 times so far this year by the Police to assist in search and rescues as Alan explained. “We get called by The Police, not just for those who get lost or injured on the moor, but also frequently called to search for the more vulnerable members of our community such as dementia and Alzheimers sufferers in rural and urban areas, and we will be on call 24×7 throughout the Christmas period to provide our service should it be needed.”
Alan and team colleague Dave Underhill, accepted a cheque from Gidleigh Park General Manager Scott Andrews and Reception Manager Sally Ruth. Scott said “We support local good causes throughout the year and are very pleased to make this donation to the Dartmoor Search & Rescue team at Ashburton. The hotel is situated in a stunning part of the National Park which means our guests are frequently tempted to explore all that Dartmoor has to offer. Its reassuring to know that should a problem arise, the men and women of DSRT Ashburton are on hand to help.”


Wednesday, 21 January 2015 12:48

Liverton Scouts raise money for rescuers

Liverton Scouts raise money for rescuers

At Christmas time the 1st Liverton Scout Group went carol singing, on this occasion rather than raise money for their own funds they chose to raise money for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton. In January the scouts visited the headquarters of the rescue team to get a better understanding of the vital work which these volunteers do and to get ‘hands on’ experience of the rescue equipment and make their donation to team.

LIverton scouts

Very grateful to the Scouts

Craig Scollick of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team(Ashburton) said ‘ We are extremely grateful to the1st Liverton Scout Group for making a donation of £240. It will make an excellent start towards the £17,000 which we have to raise each year to remain operational and help save lives in and around Dartmoor.’

Monday, 26 January 2015 12:45

Slimming World save pounds for rescuers

Slimming World save pounds for rescuers

Over the past twelve months, the members of Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Slimming World have raised an amazing £300 for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashbuton. Their members have devised a novel way of raising money for local causes by collecting the five pence pieces which they would normally have in change from their weekly membership fees. Team member Phil Martin said “Last year the team were called out to assist the police 29 times, providing their search skills in both rural and urban areas. To meet our operational costs we need to raise £17,000 a year and we are extremely grateful for this donation.”

Ashburton Slimming World

Pleased to support Dartmoor Charities

Phil and fellow team member Ross Livings met some of their members at their regular Tuesday evening meeting at the Dartmoor Lodge Hotel to collect a cheque from consultant Emma Jeffreys. Emma said “We are very pleased to support local charities like Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton. This amount was donated by the amazing and inspirational members of Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Slimming World who have donated their 5p change over the year. That’s 6000 5ps.”

95 walkers enjoy the Templer Way Challenge

April 2015 and 95 walkers enjoy the 5th annual 18 mile sponsored Templer Way Challenge in aid of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton.

A beautiful day for the walk that starts at Haytor Quarry in Dartmoor National Park and follows the historic Templer Way trail to the sea at Shaldon. The good news is it’s predominantly downhill!

£4,600 raised!

Thanks to all who took part and helped to raise £4,659.38 for team funds. Especially important this year as our Incident Control Vehicle has a major rust problem that means it is uneconomic to repair. Hence we need to find an additional £20,000 before the end of the year to fund a replacement vehicle and fit it out with the computer and radio equipment to help us manage search and rescue operations.

An appeal has been launched and you can contribute at the following Virgin Money Giving link.


Amazing support from Dartmoor Vale Rotarians

Following a presentation to the Rotarians based in Bishopsteignton earlier in the year by our Fundraising Officer, we opened the doors to our Rescue Centre to give them a hands on insight to our work, equipment and vehicles.

newton abbot rotary club present a cheque to Devon charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton after a visit to the Devon charity's rescue centre

The visit proved a great success and following the tour, the team was presented with a cheque for £500 by club President Chris Cullen.

Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey said ‘We are very grateful to Chris and his colleagues for this fabulous donation. It was a great pleasure to welcome the group to our Rescue Centre and give them a better idea how the donation will be put to good use. Support from the public and groups like the Rotarians is our life blood and is essential in keeping the team operational and effectively helps to save lives.”

dartmoor vale rotarian cheque presentation to Devon search and rescue charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton


Amazing support for team of volunteers recognised

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton’s  ‘dart2ZERO’ Supporters Club held it’s annual ‘Supporters Cream Tea’ to thank the public for all the support they give throughout the year. The day turned out to be a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon, and the team’s rescue centre was the ideal setting for tea, cake and of course scones.

The team, this year celebrating its 40th Anniversary, relies on the public for around 92% of its funding, so public support is vital to keeping the rescuers operational.

Cream teas

Apart from having a natter over a cuppa with team members, the team’s specialist vehicles and equipment was on display giving the chance to get up close and personal. Lots of fun was had as adults and children alike tried their hand at climbing on The Climbing Project’s mobile climbing wall, trying on specialist rescue equipment, squeezed into drysuits, got hung from the rafters on stretchers and ‘immobilised’ in vacuum mattresses.

young water team prospects at the Dartmoor Search and Rescue supporters tea

The team was also able to officially recognise the amazing contribution our supporters make to keeping the team running.

Local business Plastic Surgeon Fine Finishers at Bovey Tracey were awarded the ‘Platinum supporter award’ for being the prime sponsor at this year’s Templer Way event where they contributed over £5,724 to the total, helping to make the event the most successful fundraising event in the team’s history raising over £12,138 in total. Team Chairman Alec Colyer said ‘We were delighted when The Plastic Surgeon got involved with the Templer Way this year and we were very grateful to them for being so enthusiastic in taking part with over 28 of their staff walking the 18 miles from Haytor to Shaldon.’

Plastic surgeon fine finishers

The South Devon Methodist Churches also presented the team with a cheque which took their support to the team to over £2,000 this year and it was very a fabulous way to recognise their fundraising achievement at the event.

s devon methodist cheque presentation to Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

Newton Abbot College took us all by surprise as having nominated the team as their official supported charity for the 2015/16 school year, they unveiled a cheque for £8,571.75. The money had been raised throughout the year at various events culminating in their ‘Challenge Team’ of students who walked the Devon ‘coast to coast’, Lynmouth to Teignmouth at the end of the summer term. A fantastic achievement.

Newton Abbot College supporters tea presentation

Certificates were presented to many other organisations and businesses throughout the afternoon recognising their own significant contributions to keeping the team operational.

An overwhelmed Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey said: ‘What a great day! The team has so many wonderful supporters, business, organisations and individuals it really is quite humbling. It was a great way to say thank you for the support over a cuppa and a piece of cake.’

‘Thanks to everybody who donates, as well as comment and share updates on social media helping to spread the word of the vital work the team does across Devon not just on Dartmoor, and sometimes further afield. The support really does make a difference to us, a small local charity who don’t have the full-time paid resources of the big boys. Just volunteers wanting to put something back into their local communities and help those in need.’

‘This amazing support we get from our supporters effectively helps to save lives, so they can be very proud of the contribution they make to keeping the team operational.”

If you would like to become a supporter of the team, whether volunteering to help fundraising, bake a cake or subscribe to the dart2ZERO supporters club and get discounts and benefits, you can find out more and join at



Newton Abbot College passes the fundraising test.

Newton Abbot College raises over £9,000 for Devon charity of rescuers.

Newton Abbot College was proud to present its chosen charity for the academic year 2015-16, Dartmoor Search and Rescue (Ashburton), a cheque for an incredible £9066.23.

Newton Abbot College cheque presentation to Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton following a year raising money for the Devon charity

The amazing total reflects a year of dedicated fundraising by the College, including sponsored swims, non-uniform days, student-led fundraising drives, tutor group challenges and the Lynmouth to Teignmouth walk undertaken by staff and students in July.

A cheque for the total was presented to Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton in front of 200 students and staff. The final total was revealed to a thrilled Alan Pewsey, Fundraising Officer for the Charity: “We are delighted and humbled by the amazing support from the students and staff of Newton Abbot College. Their enthusiasm has resulted in the College being the most successful organisation who have supported us as their annual charity that we’ve ever had by quite some margin. Amazing!”

Mr Pewsey took time during the presentation to outline the impact of such an impressive total: “It costs around £15 – 20,000 a year to keep the team operational and we rely on the public for over 92% of our funding to continue our free service to the community and visitors of not just Dartmoor, but across Devon, and sometimes further afield. The support the College has given us is very much appreciated. Not just by our volunteers, but also to those who need our services that can and does save lives. The College can be very proud of their achievements.”

Assistant Principal, Katherine West, couldn’t have been happier with the total: “It was an incredible moment revealing the staggering amount our students have raised to Dartmoor Search and Rescue. The total really is testament to the dedication of our students and the importance that charitable giving plays in the ethos and culture of the College. We were proud to have been able to work with such a great organisation as Dartmoor Search and Rescue (Ashburton) and we hope the money raised will make a real difference to the wider community in need of their services.”

Monday, 14 September 2015 16:02

Team strengthens bond with its supporters

Team strengthens bond with its supporters

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton has strengthened the bond with its supporters with the launch of a new Supporters Club, dart2ZERO.

support us at Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

On Sunday September 13th the team opened its Rescue Centre doors to celebrate the launch of the club.

Cream tea was served followed by a guided tour around the team’s specialist vehicles and equipment to thank supporters for their amazing support throughout the year.

The volunteers who assist Devon’s emergency services when people go missing or become injured in remote locations, rely on the public for donations to continue its 24-hour service that can be life-saving. It’s not just about the money though as the busy team frequently need more volunteers to help with fundraising events vital to its continued operation as team Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey explained:

“Our supporters are our lifeblood and dart2ZERO acknowledges the amazing help individuals, groups and businesses give us each year. It also gives those with some time to spare an opportunity to get involved with a search and rescue team without the callout and training commitments, which can put some people off.“

Club Chair Ayse Rifat was delighted at how well received the new supporters initiative has been:

“We are very excited about dart2ZERO. It enables us to show our appreciation with club newsletters, access to exclusive competitions and special events organised especially for our supporters.”

“For those who have some time to spare and would like to get involved with fundraising, baking a cake or supporting the team in other ways, dart2ZERO will be perfect for them. Club members will even have the opportunity to act as a casualty on team training nights should they wish too.”

The team of volunteers cover not just Dartmoor but rural and urban areas across Devon and sometimes further afield, and dart2ZERO will support and raise awareness of the great work the volunteers do.

If you would like to find out more on the dart2ZERO Supporters Club, go to

DART2ZERO The Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Supporters Club

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:52

Newton Abbot Rotarian’s help to save lives

Newton Abbot Rotarian’s help to save lives

We extend our appreciation and thanks to the Newton Abbot Rotary for the magnificent £1,750 donation to the team following their Golf Day at Dainton in September.
Newton Abbot Rotarians present a cheque to local Devon charity, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton
We were lucky enough to be selected as one of the beneficiaries from the day which was followed by our Fundraising Officer attending a cheque presentation to receive the donation last week.
We would also like to extend our appreciation to Santander in Newton Abbot who has very kindly agreed to match fund the Rotary donation meaning a total of £3,500 will be making it’s way to our bank account.

We rely on donations

Alan Pewsey our Fundraising Officer said  “We rely on donations to continue to provide our search and rescue service to those that need it not just on Dartmoor but across Devon and sometimes beyond. Thanks to the Newton Abbot Rotary and the golfers who took part, their donation has made a real difference and has effectively helped to save lives.”

A visit to River Dart Country Park for a cheque presentation

We’d like to send a big thank you to St. James’s Place Wealth Management Group for raising £1,000 and the annual River Dart clean up for raising a further £535 for the team at the River Dart Country Park during November.

Cheque presentation to Dartmoor Search and rescue Ashburton from St James's Place Investment Management.

We really appreciate the support and it was great to meet a fabulous group of people from CRS Adventures and St James’s Place Wealth Management at the Country Park for a cheque presentation.

Cheque presentation

The photo shows Nik, Al and Dave accepting the donations from our team with Mark Allen from the River Dart Clean-Up in the front row, supported by CRS Adventures and the guys and girls from St James’s Place Wealth Management, and of course Maggie one of our Landrover Ambulances.

Find out more about the service St James’s Place Wealth Management do at:

Vintage Car Enthusiasts Support Search and Rescue Charities

Devon Vintage Car Club has been supporting us alongside our colleagues at North Dartmoor Search and Rescue throughout the year as its supported 2015 charities.

Following this support we were delighted to attend a cheque presentation at Ivybridge where both teams received cheques for £1250.

Cheque presentation to Dartmoor Search and rescue from vintage car enthusiasts

A fine collection of classic vehicles

With a fine collection of classic vehicles – including 2 search and rescue Landrovers obviously, members of the club handed over cheques to each of the 2 teams. The photo shows team member Rob White collecting our cheque on behalf of our team.

Team Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey said “It’s great to be nominated by businesses and organisations such as the Devon Vintage Car Club to be their charity of the year. We are very grateful as we rely almost entirely on donations to continue to provide our service to those in need not just on Dartmoor but across Devon. ”

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 09:21

A Big Noise for Charity

A Big Noise for Charity

Big Noise Chorus, Ashburton’s new pop and rock choir, brought their fantastic foot-stomping concert of popular classics to the Methodist Church in Ashburton with songs from Ben E. King to Amy Winehouse and Queen.

The concert raised over £500 for team funds that will go towards helping those in need and effectively help to save lives.  Some of our volunteers gave a demonstration of some of the equipment we use along with a brief talk on the sort of work we do.

Big Noise Chorus cheque presentation to Ashburton charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue

Big Noise cheque presentation

Big Noise Chorus is a network of 4 community pop/rock choirs around the South West raising money for charity with their highly popular concerts which are renowned for their fun, inclusive and high quality approach to community choirs.  Colin Rea, the choirs’ founder and conductor said “It is a real privilege to be able to support such excellent charitable work in the area. Over the past 6 years our choirs have raised over £65,000 for various charities, many of them local. It is incredibly exciting to be able to use our music-making to put back into the community and support such excellent causes.”

The choir goes from strength to strength and new members are always very welcome. No audition necessary. For more information go to their website

Newton Abbot College’s Incredible Christmas Fundraiser

Staff and students at Newton Abbot College are celebrating an incredible start to their fundraising efforts for the academic year by presenting a cheque to the College’s chosen charity, Dartmoor Search and Rescue – Ashburton, for £570.99 following the huge success of their student-run Christmas Fayre on December 11 2015.

Newton Abbot College presents a cheque donation to local Devon rescue charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue

Christmas Fayre

The annual Fayre, a highlight in the College’s calendar, is organised and run entirely by students; stalls included homemade baked goods, craft creations, face painting, hook-a-duck, book stalls and many more. More than 150 local primary school pupils were invited to the College to take part in the day, which included craft workshops in the Art Department as well as a visit to the Fayre to stock up on Christmas gifts and goodies.

Laura Davey, Teacher of Business Studies and lead organiser of the event, was thrilled with the Fayre and the incredible fundraising total: “This is the third Christmas Fayre organised by the College and by far the most successful. Its success can be solely contributed to the commitment and creativity shown by students across the College to deliver a truly fantastic event. Their passion and determination to fundraise for the College’s annual charity has been truly inspiring and we couldn’t be happier with the amount raised.”

Alan Pewsey, Fundraising Officer for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton, was equally as thrilled: “The team are incredibly grateful for the support shown by Newton Abbot College; their fantastic fundraising efforts will go towards saving lives and the money raised will really help people in need in the local community.”

Monday, 03 August 2015 10:55

A huge thank you from the team

A huge thank you from the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton

Our volunteers who assist Devon’s emergency services when people go missing or become injured in remote locations have been overwhelmed by the public’s response to a fundraising campaign.

AAP 4191 Version 2

We only just managed to get our essential control van through its last MoT earlier this year and realised a new one would be needed if our lifesaving work was to continue into 2016 and beyond.

An appeal for help went out at the end of June with a target of £20,000 that would allow us to buy the base vehicle.

But just a little more than month later and the fund has topped the £34,000 mark.

Our team’s delighted fundraising officer Alan Pewsey said: ‘We simply cannot believe how generous people have been and how quickly they’ve responded to our appeal.

‘In the first place we’re so grateful to the press who publicised our appeal as widely as they did because thanks to them the calls soon started coming in.

‘More than £1,000 was pledged very quickly and then one lady in south Devon contacted us and incredibly offered to donate £20,000 in memory of her late husband.

‘We were only just starting to get over the shock of that when the Newton Abbot Hospital League of Friends said they’d like to pledge a further £10,000, we simply couldn’t believe it.

league fo friends

‘With £34,000 in the fund we can not only get the van but equip it too with all the communications, medical and survival kit needed when searching for lost or vulnerable people.

‘We respond to about 35 shouts a year on average, any time and anywhere we’re needed, not just on Dartmoor but across Devon including urban areas such as Torbay and Exeter, and our entire operation is funded by the public’s generosity.

‘It costs us about £15,000 to keep going for a year and we’re always very grateful for the support people give us.

‘But the response to this appeal has been unparalleled and we offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped.

‘Even Toby at Pottery Commercials in Newton Abbot has been very generous to us in finding a virtually brand new van at a huge discount and fitting extras free of charge.

van handover

‘We can’t wait to show off it off as soon as it’s on the road and ready for action.

‘Again, thank you so very much. Sadly our work never ends but then neither do the bills stop coming in.’

Press Release courtesy of:

Strategy Public Relations Ltd
07711 595023
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Wednesday, 15 April 2015 10:53

Support for 4 legged friends

Support for 4 legged friends

We are very grateful to Moorgate Veterinary Group who have joined Sibelco in sponsoring our Templer Way Challenge that takes place a week today.

They are not just sponsoring the challenge either as 2 vets are walking the route and offering free dog first aid to any 4 legged friends taking part should they need it.

We are very grateful to the guys, girls …. and dogs at Moorgate in supporting the team. The photo shows our Fundraising Officer visiting the Bovey Tracey practice to pick up the donation from vet Ashley Rubens.

We really appreciate this boost to the Templer Way Challenge and look forward to a really good day next Sunday.

Saturday, 05 March 2016 18:05

Standby for collapsed walker

Standby for collapsed walker

The team was placed on standby today at 14:32 for a collapsed walker in the Green Hill area of the south moor. The Devon Air Ambulance was tasked to assist the walker and the team was stood down.

Dartmoor Rescuers respond to East Devon callout

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 Okehampton 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.


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.

Two callouts on Busy Saturday for Dartmoor Rescue

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.

2015 10 04 07.39.37 720x300

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. 

Press reports

Ivybridge and South Brent Gazette

On standby for lost teenager around Haytor

The team were put on standby at 14:13 for a 13yr old male that had become separated from a party on a walk around the Haytor area. Thankfully he turned up at Haytor within 20mins of the conversation with D&C Police, and the team were stood down

Call to assist our North Dartmoor colleagues

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.

Team Placed on standby in search for missing person

At 15:27 the team was placed on standby to assist with a search for a missing person in the Ivybridge area. Following receipt of further information by Devon and Cornwall Police of the individual’s potential whereabouts, the team was stood down at 16:13.

Friday, 03 January 2014 17:49

Standby due to predicted poor weather

Standby due to predicted poor weather

Immediately following our Newton Abbot callout, our swift water rescue specialists were put on standby to assist the emergency services including Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, HM Coastguard and sister Mountain Rescue teams across the peninsula.

A deep low-pressure system

A deep low-pressure system along with saturated ground and high winds and Spring Tides were combining to cause a tidal surge that could cause localised flooding and dangerous high seas along the coast during the early morning of January 3rd. Fortunately, the wind direction and strength changed to lessen the risk and our services were not required. However, further spring tides over the next day or so will mean the heightened alert will continue.

On standby to assist in Barnstaple missing person search

The team were placed on standby today to assist Exmoor MRT with a missing person search in the Barnstaple area.

At this stage of the missing person enquiry our services are not required and we have been stood down for the time being.

Police are asking for the public’s help to locate a 55-year-old man missing from his home in Barnstaple.

Officers are concerned for the welfare of Christopher Barrow who left his Swimbridge home around 1.30pm on Monday 10 February.

He disappeared on foot with his pet dog, a long-haired dark-coloured lurcher.

Police units have been conducting searches across the Barnstaple area for Mr Barrow since yesterday afternoon. The police helicopter and both Dartmoor and Exmoor Rescue Groups are involved in the search as is the Devon Cave Search and Rescue Group.

Officers are urging anyone who sees Mr Barrow or knows of his whereabouts to contact them immediately.

He is described as white, 5ft 10ins tall and of slim build. He is clean shaven and has cropped brown hair. He was last seen wearing a red top, blue jeans, tan-coloured work boots and possibly a green jacket.

Follow up to callout after body found

Christopher Barrow, 55, was found with gunshot wounds after a two-day police search to find him.

A GARDENER and delivery driver from Swimbridge intended to take his own life when he shot himself twice, an inquest heard today (Monday).

Christopher Barrow, 55, of High Cross went missing on February 10 and was found dead by a dog walker at Pugsley Hill Copse near Swimbridge two days later.

The inquest heard Mr Barrow was due to have an appointment with the bank the day he disappeared as he was facing a possible redundancy.

His wife Gail Barrow discovered he was missing at around 2.30pm and upon finding a note called the police, resulting in a widespread search of the area.

Mr Barrow was found on the morning of February 12 with gunshot wounds to the chest and head, the latter of which was fatal, a post mortem concluded.

Karen Perrett, who attended the inquest, said in a statement Mr Barrow was 'always smiling and was very polite, but always a bit reserved'.

Coroner Elizabeth Earland concluded although Mr Barrow appeared to have drunk some alcohol before his death, he had intended the consequences of his actions.

She recorded a verdict of suicide.

Thursday, 17 January 2013 17:45

Team on standby due to expected snow storm

Team on standby due to expected snow storm

The team has been placed on heightened alert for possible callouts relating to the snow tonight 17th January. If you are out overnight take care and be prepared taking spare warm clothes, food and hot drinks with adequate waterproofs and boots should the conditions deteriorate. Keep a sleeping bag in the boot of the car just in case is always a good idea, along with a spade.

Keep up to date with the weather conditions at

Advice for driving in winter is available on the AA website.

Standby – Due to adverse weather conditions

Our volunteers are on heightened alert for a possible callout should the weather conditions deteriorate further with significant and disruptive snowfall.

This could include callouts as part of a coordinated response should the Haldon Hill emergency plan come into effect involving the emergency services and other full-time and volunteer organisations including ourselves.

 Keep up to date

You can keep up to date with the weather conditions using various weather widgets, webcams and weather stations that we have brought together on our website weather pages under the Advice section.

Monday, 17 December 2018 08:26

Haldon Forest callout for high risk female

Callout 33/2018 - Haldon Forest 23:57 16th December 2018

We were called just before midnight on Sunday 16th December by Devon and Cornwall Police to help in the search for a 'high risk' vulnerable female who was believed to be in the Haldon Forest area on Haldon Hill just outside Exeter.

Team vehicles had been organised and team volunteers were just beginning to arrive at the rendezvous when we were stood down as the misper had been found by Devon and Cornwall Police officers.

Monday, 10 December 2018 21:35

East Devon search for missing young person

East Devon search for missing young person

Callout 32/2018 - Newton Poppleford / Tipton St John. 18:43 10th December 2018

The team were called at 18:43 to search for a high risk juvenile missing person who had been missing since the early hours in the Tipton St John / Newton Poppleford area of East Devon.

Our Control Vehicle DART02 on scene at the callout in East Devon

The misper was located by a search team en route to their search area at approximately 20:00. The young person was brought back to control, warmed up and assessed before being escorted home safe and well with their mother.

A good outcome so close to Christmas.

Press articles 


Wednesday, 28 November 2018 08:25

Search at Dartmouth following crash

Search at Dartmouth following crash

Callout 31/2018 - Dartmouth. 13:32 27th November 2018

CALLOUT: Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers were called out today at 1332 to search for a high risk missing male in the Dartmouth area, who may have been injured after a road accident.

Teams deployed to search identified areas until stand down at 1714 with no sign of the individual we were looking for.

Sometimes it’s all about using any assets available to us to best search an area. So thank you to Dartmouth Gold Club for lending some of our team members your golf buggies. They sped up the search no end and saved a few extra miles in the legs. This lot also wish to be known as Team Dart 23 Mechanised from now on...

Search and rescue gold buggies thanks to Dartmouth Golf Course 

Injured motorcyclist stranded in difficult to access location

Callout 30/2018 - Manaton. 14:37 26th November 2018

The team were called at 1437 today to assist the South Western Ambulance Trust with the extraction of an injured motorcyclist from a difficult to access location.

Whilst the team were en route a nearby forestry worker transported the casualty in their pickup truck to the ambulance and the team were stood down.

Teenage boys rescued wet and cold from south Dartmoor

Callout 29/2018 - Redlake. 16:11 24th November 2018

At 16:11 today Dartmoor Search and Rescue were called out to rescue four teenage boys from near Red Lake Dartmoor. The boys all from the south east of England, had previously walked in the Surrey Hills and the New Forrest and came to Dartmoor looking for a challenge.

20km kilometres into a 30km walk they became lost, then darkness fell. The boys were lucky be on a part of Dartmoor where they could use their mobile phones. SARLOC technology was used by the police to obtain their location and the rescue team were called.

Their location was just north of Redlake ford and fortunately for them, close to the Puffing Billy Track, a track along which Landrovers could be driven.

Two rescue team Landrovers, along with Landrovers from Dartmoor Search and Rescue Plymouth,  were dispatched and a foot team then sent to collect them from their location. They were fit and well but very cold and very wet. After receiving hot drinks and food they were then escorted to the Landrovers for the drive back to their car.

Ian Lowcock, DSRT Ashburton Search Manager, said: “With the wind and rain it would have been a difficult night for a prolonged search but knowing their location meant we could get to them quickly. They had set themselves a challenging walk on Dartmoor but had not anticipated the difficulties of navigating on Dartmoor.”

Search for pensioner centred at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary

Callout 28/2018 - Weston / Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth. 20:30 30th October 2018

The team were called last night by Devon & Cornwall Police to assist with a search for a male in his 70s who had gone missing earlier in the day giving cause for concern.

Dartmoor Rescue volunteers waiting to be deployed at the Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth on a callout for a missing elderly male

The search was entered around the Donkey Sanctuary / Weston area to the East of Sidmouth, where the gentleman’s car was found and down to the coast. Multiple agencies were involved including Police officers, a Police National Air Service helicopter, Sidmouth Lifeboat, Beer Coastguard Rescue Team, a Coastguard Rescue helicopter and a Devon and Cornwall Police search dog 

The search was stood-down in the early hours due to the difficult terrain and resumed in daylight this morning.

Thanks to a member of the public our volunteers located evidence that has significantly narrowed the search area, but due to the difficult terrain, the search was postponed until daylight this morning.

CALLOUT UPDATE 31st October:  

We are very sad to report that a body has been located by Coastguard rescue teams today.  

The Coastguard along with the Police search manager and staff from the Donkey Sanctuary with local knowledge, working in very difficult terrain, discovered the body of the missing person at the base of Dunscombe Cliffs in dense undergrowth in the area identified by our search teams last night.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the gentleman as this very sad and difficult time.

Teenager sustains multiple injuries in fall at Chudleigh Rocks

Callout 27/2018 - Chudleigh Rocks. 14:50 28th October 2018

The team were called out this afternoon as part of a joint rescue operation at Chudleigh Rocks. 

Polcie ambulance BASICS Devon and Dartmoor Rescue members wait for the air ambulance to take off transporting the injured teenager to hospital.

The alarm had been raised after a teenager had fallen from a substantial height at the rocks which is a popular location for climbers. 

Team members worked alongside Devon & Cornwall Police, BASICS Devon volunteer doctors and SW ambulance personnel to treat and evacuate the casualty to the waiting Devon Air Ambulance helicopter for transport to a hospital. 

One of our team volunteers on site said: "The casualty was incredibly lucky to have survived the fall from the rock. The rock is in close proximity to a large number of small trees and we think it was the trees that broke the fall and prevented more serious injury."

"The ground surrounding the rocks is lose and slippery in places, and considerable care was needed to make sure the patient was transported safely by stretcher to the helicopter. All the agencies involved worked seamlessly together to make sure the patient was given the best chance of a good recovery."

The casualty sustained multiple injuries in the fall.

"The initial clinical assessment was that although serious, the injuries weren't thought to be life-threatening and the casualty was conscious when transported by stretcher to the helicopter.  This will obviously be updated once a more detailed examination in hospital is undertaken."

Team leader Keith Lambeth said: "Just two weeks ago the team undertook a joint training exercise with the BASICS Devon volunteer Doctors at Haytor in preparation for incidents such as this. The seamless team working shown by all the agencies on site today showed that joint training is of utmost importance in making sure casualties are given the best chance.. We wish the teenager all good wishes for a full and speedy recovery."


Elderly male with dementia goes missing in Decoy Park

Callout 26/2018 - Newton Abbot. 12:47 5th October 2018

Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers deployed on a search for a missing person in an urban area

Dartmoor Search and Rescue volunteers were called out early on Friday afternoon to search for a missing person with dementia who had gone missing in Decoy Park, Newton Abbot.

Fortunately, the elderly gentleman was spotted by team members on their way to the rendezvous and was returned to his family.

A good outcome for all concerned.

Walkers unprepared for rapid deterioration in Dartmoor weather

Callout 25/2018 - Redlake. 08:46 11th September 2018

At 08:46 on Tuesday morning, the team received a request for help from 2 stranded walkers in the Redlake area of the south moor.

A father and daughter had left for a camping trip on the Monday. Overnight the weather deteriorated with rain and both the visibility and the temperature dropping. Becoming cold and disorientated they called for help.

We were in mobile phone contact with the walkers and managed to pinpoint their location using SAR-loc. Instructing them to stay where they were, we sent our 2 Landrover ambulances up the puffing billy track to locate and evacuate them.

They were located by our Landrover on the track to the south of Redlake, very cold, sitting on their camping mats and sheltering using their tent flysheet as a makeshift shelter.

We escorted them off the moor to a member's house where they had a hot drink and warmed up before they were returned to their car at Shipley bridge.

Our duty Search manager Dave Underhill said:

'They were caught out by the change in the weather which deteriorated overnight. Conditions were very different on the Monday morning from when they set out meaning their summer clothing was inadequate in keeping them warm. The poor visibility added to the problem and they did the right thing in calling for help and staying put so we could pick them up.'

'We are sure they have learnt a valuable lesson and we hope will continue to enjoy the moor in the future better prepared for Dartmoor's notorious reputation for rapid changes in the weather.'

Missing ladies with dementia spark searches in Exeter and Paignton

Callout 23/2018 - Exeter. 21:57 16th July 2018

Dartmoor Rescue were called out just before 10 pm last night to assist Devon and Cornwall Police with the search for an elderly lady with severe dementia missing in Exeter.

She wandered out of her care centre and we were called to search the open grassy and parkland areas in the vicinity. On arrival, we received notification of possible sightings well outside of the planned search areas and a team was deployed into the Exwick area. After approx two hours the Police received a call informing them that a confused lady had knocked on the door of a residential property and the family asked her in and alerted the Police. The team were stood down and all ended well.

The team were stood down just before midnight.

Callout 24/2018 - Paignton. 13:41 9th August 2018

A second callout for an elderly lady with advanced dementia, this time in Paignton.

Devon and Cornwall Police resources were stretched Policing the Boardmasters event in Newquay and required our help to locate the lady who was missing from her home address. She was last seen by her husband in their back garden at 10:30hrs The team was requested to RV at the Clennon Valley Leisure centre and to search the large wooded and open areas in Clennon Valley. 

Fortunately, she was located by Devon and Cornwall P{olice, believed to be safe and well, whilst we were on our way to the RV and the team were stood down.

Standby 4/2018 - Shipley Bridge. 12:55 13th August 2018

The team were called at 12:55 and put on standby. A missing person called Police having 'turned right at the Avon Dam and lost the path'.

Police deployed a helicopter. and we deployed our former Team Leader Rob. The missing person wisely gave up and called the Police and stated that they had found themselves. This was a good thing and the team were taken off stand by.   




Railway focus for Kingskerswell missing person search

Callout 22/2018 - KIngskerswell / Torquay. 17:30 11th July 2018

Dartmoor Search and Rescue were called at approx 17:30hrs to assist Devon and Cornwall Police in the search for a missing male in the Torquay/Kingskerswell area.

With the assistance of Network Rail safety personnel, foot teams searched the embankments and farmland alongside the Torquay to Newton Abbot railway line. The teams were stood down at 22:30hrs as all relevant areas had been searched.

The Police investigation is continuing. 

Cries for help cause alarm at Becka Brook

Callout 20 and 21 / 2018 - 8th JULY 2018

It was a busy weekend for our team and dart2ZERO volunteers.

After spending most of the weekend fundraising at the quite amazing Historic Vehicle Gathering at Powderham Castle, we had to leave early on Sunday to respond to a missing walker callout at 3:45 pm.

Callout 20/2018 - Redlake, Dartmoor. 15:45 8th July 2018

The walker and their companion were camping in Dartmoor National Park for the weekend. Having run out of water on the Saturday, and not trusting the water quality near their campsite at Redlake, they left to find water on the Sunday morning and became separated and the alarm was raised.

Team members deployed to Avon Dam Reservoir and by Landrover to Redlake along with Devon and Cornwall Police to begin a search. A National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter was also used in the search.

Police and Dartmoor Rescue Landrovers looking for a missing walker at Redlake

Shortly after we were deployed one of our foot teams heading out from Avon Dam located the walker who was dehydrated but otherwise fit and well.

Shortly after, as team vehicles and members returned home, we were called again by Devon and Cornwall Police after walkers reported hearing a call for help from below Smallacombe Rocks near the Becka Brook between Haytor and Houndtor. 

Callout 20/2018 - Becka Brook, Dartmoor. 19:24 8th July 2018

The woods below Smallacombe Rocks are thick with bracken and trees and difficult to search

Although the walkers couldn’t see the individual, as the calls were coming from the dense area of bracken and woods in the valley, the person requiring help reported being able to see them and was in need of assistance and sounded very weak.

Foot teams searched the valley between Greator Rocks and Smallacombe Rocks until a just after 10 pm with no further contact from the individual. NPAS was again engaged along with a Devon and Cornwall Police search dog and handler.

A second group of walkers reported to us they had given water to somebody who could have been the person we were looking for walking out just before we started searching. However, without any firm confirmation, we needed to search the area thoroughly just in case.

 The sun setting behind Houndtor as our volunteers look for a walker reported in difficulty

Having covered all likely search areas, we were stood down around 11 pm and returned home after a spending most of the weekend on team duties. 

All part of being a volunteer in a professional search and rescue team.

Search mounted for despondent female in Axminster

Callout 18 and 19 / 2018 - 24th - 27th  June 2018

Standby - Axminster 00:19 25th June 2018

The team was called early on the 25th June by Devon & Cornwall Police to assist with a high-risk female despondent from the Axminster area. Following a conversation with the Police  Lost Person Search Manager (LPSM) it was decided to put the team on standby pending the results of National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter and air scenting search dog deployments. The team was stood down approx 01:05 having received a message that the misper had been located at a Taunton hospital.

Near Miss - Exeter - 25 June 2018:

Shortly before the stand down on the Axminster incident above, the team duty Search Manager was made aware of a second high risk missing person in the Exeter area. The decision was taken not to place the team on standby pending the results of Police activities that were already underway. The incident was resolved without necessitating involvement from ourselves.

Callout - Yarner Wood, Bovey Tracey 17:10 26th June 2018  

The team was called around 17:10 to assist South Western Ambulance Service in evacuating a casualty with a lower-leg injury. While the team were assembling at the rendevous from where the operation was based, we were stood down as the casualty had been successfully transported to a Land Ambulance by the ambulance crew on scene

Callout -  Looe, West Cornwall 05:03 27th June 2018

The team were called to assist Devon & Cornwall Police with a sensitive search for a missing person in Cornwall.  This ended up being a multi-agency incident involving our colleagues in Cornwall, Plymouth and Tavistock over a period of many hours. The missing person turned up north of our search area later that afternoon. 

Dartmooor Rescue searching a field for a missing person near Looe, Cornwall

Lady breaks ankle on walk in Lustleigh Cleave

Callout 17 / 2018 - 19:01  11th June 2018

The team was called earlier this evening to assist the South Western Ambulance Trust with the evacuation of a lady with a suspected broken ankle.

Dart62 Landrover ambulance at Lustleigh church

The lady had tripped injuring her ankle whilst walking with her husband in Lustleigh Cleave on a path just below Sharpitor. Unable to carry on the ambulance service were called who requested our help with the evacuation.

At the time of the initial request from the ambulance service, the exact location of the lady was unknown other than it was thought she was on the Lustleigh side of the Cleave and possible not far from 2 potential access points. Hence we were prepared for a potential search. An update was then given that she was 2 miles along a path that accessed the Cleave from Hammerslake.

As it turned out the lady was just under 600m into the Cleave from Hammerslake and we found her within 20 minutes of our first team being deployed. 

ambulance carry

The Paramedics had already splinted her ankle and administered painkillers and were ready for our evacuation. 10 minutes after our first team were at the casualty site, a second team arrived with our stretcher ready to begin the evacuation, closely followed by a third to assist with the stretcher carry back to the ambulance.

The transfer back to the land ambulance was a bit tight in places and required careful handling of the stretcher to make sure the patient was kept as comfortable as possible. On reaching the road, the lady was transferred to the waiting land ambulance for onward transfer to Torbay Hospital.

Dartmoor Rescue handing over a lady with a broken ankle to the ambulance at Lustleigh Cleeve.

Our duty team search manager said:

'I am very grateful to the team members who responded to this call for assistance from the ambulance service. From beginning the initial search to transferring the lady to the ambulance was less than an hour. I am very proud of the efficient and caring way the team worked in ensuring the lady was kept as comfortable as possible on a route that was very difficult in places.  We send our very good wishes to the lady for a speedy recovery and hope she is back exploring the beautiful Devon Countryside again very soon.'


The beauty of Dartmoor catches out elderly couple

Callout 16 / 2018 - 17:47  6th June 2018

We were called this evening to assist the ambulance service with an elderly couple who were visiting Devon from out of county and had over-stretched themselves on a walk around the Avon Dam Reservoir.

It was a beautiful day on Dartmoor and the couple had set out to see the display of Rhododendrons in bloom on the road to the Avon Dam Reservoir which are stunning at the moment. Those who love the moor as we do will understand she can be a bit of a temptress at times, as you turn a corner, or climb a rise, the next stunning view tempts you further encouraging you to explore.

Today was such a day and the couple reached the dam and decided to walk further on a sunny Dartmoor afternoon. Unfortunately, the route is longer than they estimated and they soon realised they had bitten off more than they could chose and were in difficulty and rightly raised the alarm.

The ambulance service was called as a precaution against any medical events occurring and Paramedics were sent to their aid. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding regarding their location meant the couple were further on to the moor than they thought and a call was made to us and the Coastguard helicopter based at Newquay, Rescue 924 to assist.

Knowing the moor and access routes as we do, we were able to send team members and our Landrover ambulances to assist. The couple were airlifted by Rescue 924 from Eastern White Barrow back to a waiting Land ambulance who assessed them before they returned to their vehicle.

Team members then escorted the paramedics back to their vehicles and we were stood down..

Whilst this was going on, on what was a regular weekly training night for the team, other team members not involved with the callout continued the planned rope training exercise at Leigh Tor.

Team members deploying and using steep ground safety lines


Monday, 04 June 2018 09:01

Exeter teenager found by Police

Exeter teenager found by Police

Callout 15 / 2018 - 00:09  3rd June 2018

 The team were called out at 0009 on Sunday 3rd June to search for a vulnerable missing person in the Heavitree area of Exeter.

Shortly afterwards, the team were stood down whilst our volunteers were en route as the missing person was located by Devon and Cornwall Police.

We hope the individual gets the care they need and get on the road to recovery.

Cause for concern for missing Exeter teenager

Callout 14 / 2018 - 02:58  26th May 2018

14 team members were called out shortly before 03:00 this morning to search for a missing 13-year-old in Exeter.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Landrover at the Exeter callout this morning

We were fortunate to have the support of 7 colleagues from North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team and a search dog from SARDA.

Several areas of park, farm and woodland were searched. The teams were completing final areas when the missing person was located outside our search area.

A happy outcome and an early start to the holiday weekend for our volunteers.

Team members checking search maps in advance of the search in Exeter

Urban search in Paignton for missing male

Callout 13 / 2018 - 19:07  22nd April 2018

In the early evening of Sunday, Devon and Cornwall Police investigating the reported disappearance of a middle-aged male, requested the team to search areas in and around the Foxhole area of Paignton.

Members were engaged in searches through parkland and woods in and around the area until they were stood down at 22:24. Further Police investigations had found the male was safe and well and outside our search area. 

Mountain rescuers involved in search in Exeter

Callout 10 / 2018 - 18:31  14th March 2018

Rescuers search for vulnerable missing person in Exeter City Centre

Photo: Devonlive

The team were deployed searching open areas and watercourses in Exeter yesterday evening searching for a 50 year old vulnerable male. 

Working alongside colleagues from North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service urban search and rescue team, the team were initially deployed to search areas of the River Exe in and around Cowley Bridge and along the Exe valley towards Uption Pyne. Following further intelligence gained by the Police we were relocated to the city centre based from the Waitrose store in Gladstone Road.

The missing person was not located during our phase of the search which was undertaken in very wet weather.   The good news is however that he was located around midnight by Police and a family member after making a call to his family. He was wet but otherwise unharmed.

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