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Callouts 2015

DSRT Admin

DSRT Admin

Concern for high risk missing person in Dawlish

Callout: June 6th - Dawlish

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

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

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

Our thoughts are with the family.

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

Monday, 29 May 2017 23:14

Exeter search finds a body

Exeter search finds a body

Callout: Exeter Canal Basin

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

Exeter Haven Banks Dart62

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

Multi-agency search for vulnerable male across Torbay.

Callout: Torquay

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

Dart02 torbay

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

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

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

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:00

Teenage walker injured in Dartmoor fall

Teenage walker injured in Dartmoor fall

Callout Sharp Tor, Upper Dart Valley

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

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

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

Search for walker lost around Haytor Rocks

Callout - Overnight search on Haytor Down

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

craig map reading

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

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

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

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

2017 05 17 08.03.43


Search in heavy rain for missing Exeter teenager

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

dart02 exeter1

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

Callout update

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

Dartmoor Rescue assist Air Ambulance with fallen climber at Haytor

Callout – Fallen climber at Haytor.

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

Team Helicopter at Climber Fall

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

devon climber haytor

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

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

Climber injured in fall at Devon climbing rock

Callout - Chudleigh Rocks 17:45

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

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

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


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

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

Thursday, 20 April 2017 13:41

Vulnerable adult missing on Haytor Down

Vulnerable adult missing on Haytor Down

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

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

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

Spotted by member of the public

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

Thursday, 09 March 2017 10:19

Body of man located at Newton St Cyres

Body of man located at Newton St Cyres

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

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

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

A report on the search by the Crediton Courier

Callout update

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

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

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

Monday, 06 February 2017 08:22

Climber injured in fall at Bonehill Rocks

Climber injured in fall at Bonehill Rocks

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

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

Devon Air Ambulance

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

The team was stood down shortly after 16:00.

Sunday, 19 February 2017 08:16

Overdue Kayakers spark River Dart search

Overdue Kayakers spark River Dart search

Callout: 21:00 Sunday 19th February

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


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

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

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

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

Chumleigh search involves four Mountain Rescue Teams

Callout 20th February Chumleigh

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

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

Emergency Vehicles

Missing person located

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

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

Missing teenager sparks search around Ivybridge

Callout: 12:50 Friday 3rd March - Ivybridge

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

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

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

Monday, 19 March 2018 19:31

The return of the 'Beast of the East'

The return of the 'Beast of the East'

Callouts 11 and 12 of 2018.

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

Our Landrover ambulance DART62 on the B3192 to Teignmouth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winners! SW search and rescue teams celebrate award success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volunteer Doctors enhance medical care for casualties

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

Volunteers and emergency services at Devon major incident

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

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

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

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

Major investment to bring vital radio network into 21st century

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

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

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

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

2018 draw prizes

Prize Draw

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 28 July 2018 09:01

Celebrating 125 years of volunteering

Celebrating 125 years of volunteering with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

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

Dramatic Dartmoor rescue featured on Nick Knowles Close Calls on Camera

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

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

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

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

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

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

click here to support Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton



Community support for Shaldon Primary School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Sponsored walkers on the Templer Way in Bovey Tracey

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

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

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

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

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

Prepared for a severe weather event on Haldon Hill

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

stranded motorists due to the snow on Haldon Hill in 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSRT Ashburton respond to Haldon Hill snow event 2010

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

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

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

Weather forecast for Exeter: XC Weather forecast for Exeter

Weather Radar: Net Weather Radar

Thursday, 22 February 2018 11:02

River Dart casualty recovery training

River Dart casualty recovery training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


New Year Honours recognition for Dartmoor Rescue

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

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

Photo credit: Matt Austin

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

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

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

Team Member Interview - Dr Tas Ali

Team member interview - Dr Tas Ali

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

2) When did you join DSRTA and why?

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

3) Tell us about your day job?

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

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

4) Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

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

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

Focused, highly skilled, trust, friendship and humbling.

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

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

7) Jam or Cream first?

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

8) The Rolling Stones or The Beetles?

I am far too young! OK Beatles.

LIBOR bank fines fund rescue training for volunteers

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

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton attend LIBOR funded rope rescue training

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

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

Vital work of Devon rescuers showcased in new film

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


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

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

Team Leader Keith Lambeth said:

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

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

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

Keith continued:

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

Blinkback director David Kilkelly said:

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

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


Notes for Editors:

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

Film produced courtesy of Blinkback



Working hard behind the scenes on Dartmoor at Ten Tors 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Merlin helicopter at Ten Tors

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

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

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

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton at Ten Tors

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

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

Long may it continue.

Links Ten Tors Website 



Queen's Jubillee Medal Presentation to Devon rescuers

Queens Diamond jubilee medal presented to Dartmoor Search and Rescuers

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

Dartmoor Search and Rescue members presented with Diamond Jubilee medals

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

Dartmoor Rescue climber summits Mount Everest

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

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


News article courtesy of the Herald Express, Torquay.

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

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

Saturday, 24 September 2011 13:21

New home for Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton

New home for Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton

Rescue Centre Grand Opening

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

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

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

RAF Seaking flypast

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

Rescue Centre cake
Rescue Centre cake

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

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

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

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

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


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

Donate at:




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

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 13:17

Technology in Search and Rescue

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

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

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

SARLOC© – A method for locating lost climbers and walkers

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

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

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

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

sarloc can send a text message to help locate lost walkers

A typical success story:-

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 13:06

Ten Tors 1978 – One from the archives

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

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

Thursday, 09 October 2014 12:54

Multi agency response at Hackney Marshes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Photos from last night's event is below.

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

Saturday, 28 February 2015 12:42

From moor to sea in aid of rescuers

templer way 2015

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

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

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

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

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

templer way 2015

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

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

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


Monday, 20 April 2015 12:36

Walkers enjoy a fabulous day

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

templer way 2015 3

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

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

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

templer way 2015 4

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

Monday, 22 June 2015 12:32

Cyclists support rescuers

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

dartmoor classic 2015

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

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

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

The prize winners in the draw were:

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

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

Dartmoor classic 2015 prize winner

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

Monday, 29 June 2015 12:27

Rescuers launch urgent appeal

Control Vehicle Replacement Appeal

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

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

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

Devon charity of rescuers makes urgent appeal for vehicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Park and Ride and rub shoulders with Team Sky and Team Dimension Data!

On September 9th, the Tour of Britain professional cycle race visits Devon when riders, from 21 teams (including, subject to last minute changes,  Dimension Data, Sky and Team Wiggins), leave Sidmouth on stage 6 of the race to cycle the 150 Km to a mountain finish at Haytor, in a repeat of the Haytor summit finish which was a highlight of the 2013 event.

We are delighted to have been invited again to be part of the event and will be running a ‘Parke and Ride’ facility from Mill Marsh Park, Bovey Tracey, to the Moorlands House Hotel at Haytor, with all proceeds going to team funds.

B3387 Road closure

The main B3387 from Station Road roundabout (known locally as the Jenga roundabout) to Hemsworthy Gate will be closed to vehicles, apart from local access, cycles and Park and Ride buses from 05:00 on Friday 9th September until 19:30 on Friday 9th September. A Clearway (No Parking, Stopping or Unloading) will be in place along the same stretch of road from 21:00 on Thursday 8th September until 19:30 on Friday 9th September. Details on how you can ‘park and ride’ and see what promises to be an exciting finish to the day’s racing are below.

Bovey Tracey Mill Marsh Park ‘Park and Ride’  TQ13 9FF (cash only, parking for approximately 400 cars)

The Bovey Tracey ‘Park and Ride’ car park is at Mill Marsh Park, Bovey Tracey, and opens at 08:00 on the 9th September, first bus 09:00. The entrance to the Park and Ride will be via St John’s Lane off Station Road. Use the postcode TQ13 9FF for satnavs. The P&R coaches will accept pushchairs and wheelchairs but they will be need to be collapsed and stowed in the coach luggage area. Provision for spectators with impaired mobility We are afraid that dogs are not permitted on the P&R coaches other than Assistance Dogs. We apologise should this inconvenience anybody. Please check the Devon County Council website for further provision for spectators with impaired mobility Prebooking is essential. (P&R entrance Grid ref SX 811-783) 

There is no overflow car park so once its full, its full!  The cost is a minimum donation of £10 per car, £20 for minibuses and we are sorry it will be cash only as we can't accept cheques or credit / debit cards . You are then able to take a bus to the finish or cycle your own bike. Your donation will be put to good use. All proceeds will go towards keeping our Landrover ambulance and control vehicle on the road and continuing our program of equipment maintenance, medical equipment renewal which is vital to us continuing to provide our free search and rescue service to the public on Dartmoor and across Devon.

The Park and Ride opens at 08:00 with the first bus leaving at 09:00. The last bus to the Moorlands House Hotel before the race will be approximately 13:15. PLEASE REMEMBER - Don't leave your bus ride to the top to the last minute. Once the road to the top closes, we will be unable to run any further buses. If the last bus is full, we will not be able to get you to the top.  Return trips to Bovey Tracey will commence once race organiser’s have given the OK after the event finish. The last bus back will be approximately 19:00. All the above times are subject to change so check the official Tour of Britain website and Twitterfeed  for all the latest news

For people parking in Bovey Tracey and requiring a return bus ticket only, the cost will be a minimum donation of £3 return.

At the Haytor Finish

The bus stop at the finish which will be outside the Moorlands House Hotel, Haytor, TQ13 9XT. (Grid ref SX 767-773). It is approximately a 1km walk from the bus stop to the finish line at the Haytor upper car park. (Grid ref SX 759-767). There are a limited number of parking places available for the disabled at the P&R but it should be noted that the bus drop off point will be 1Km from the stage finish line. There is additional prebooked disabled access and parking provision at the finish area provided by the event organisers. Please check the following website for details.

tour of britain Haytor King of the Mountains finish 2013

We urge you to arrive in good time as the event organisers are expecting a large number of cycling fans to attend. A second Park and Ride scheme will be in operation on the day from Holwell Down. Further details, plus all the latest news, full event and stage details,  go to the Devon Tour of Britain website:  

Why not visit Bovey Tracey as part of your day out?

Bovey Tracey town colour crest

Whether coming for just the day or staying in the area around the time of the Tour, there are a whole host of places to stay, sites to see or things to do for friends and family. For further information visit, please visit  If using the park and ride facility from Bovey Tracey, why not allow yourself a little extra time to explore the shops and services within the wonderful town of Bovey, which is just a few minutes stroll from leaving the Park and Ride.

Travel, camping and food.

All travel, camping and food information is available on the official website  

 Social Media feeds

Dartmoor National Park Authority Tour of Britain information: Event website: Official Twitterfeed for the SW Tour of Britain in Devon.Tweets by @SWTourofBritain  (for all traffic, travel and event updates). Keep up with Tour of Britain Tweets about “#tob2016”  

TourofBritain colour

Park and Ride to the Haytor Finish of Stage 6 of the Tour of Britain

On September 9th,  Stage 6 of the Tour of Britain professional cycle race visits Devon when riders, from 21 teams (including, subject to last minute changes,  Dimension Data, Sky and Team Wiggins), leave Sidmouth on stage 6 of the race to cycle the 150 Km to a mountain finish at Haytor, in a repeat of the Haytor summit finish which was a highlight of the 2013 event.

We are delighted to have been invited again to be part of the event and will be running a ‘Park and Ride’ facility from Mill Marsh Park, Bovey Tracey, to the Moorlands House Hotel at Haytor, with all proceeds going to team funds.

Tour of Britain 2016 visits the iconic mountain top finish at Haytor

Monday, 10 August 2015 16:25

Control Vehicle Appeal - BBC Radio Devon

Search Manager Keith Lambeth talks to Fitz about the success of our Control Vehicle Appeal and the work of the team.


Wednesday, 09 September 2015 16:13

Lads Night In supports Prostate Cancer UK


Martyn and his colleagues raised almost £400 for Prostate Cancer UK during their Lads Night In.
Martyn, 61, Ashburton, Devon.
A few years ago team member Martyn was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Martyn Lads Night In. Raising money to help fight Prostate Cancer

Martyn picks up the story ….

“I had made an appointment with my GP for a general health check, and a good friend told me to ensure I talked about a check for prostate cancer, something I was completely unaware of at that point. The doctor gave me a PSA blood test and all was well and I was monitored over the following months. One month the test came back with a high reading and I was referred to hospital for further checks. Following a biopsy, the results showed that my prostate contained aggressive cancer.”

“At that point I felt the world drop out of me as the impact of the big ‘C’ word hit me. Robotic surgery was soon scheduled to remove my prostate followed up with regular six monthly blood checks and all, I’m glad to say, is now well.”

Martyn is keen for men to speak with their GP about prostate cancer.

“My advice to all is to speak to you doctor about prostate cancer if you have any concerns. A guardian angel looked over me as I had no signs or symptoms but did in fact have an aggressive prostate cancer that was luckily caught in time.”

Martyn is an active member of local charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton, and on the 25th September, he is going to help another great cause, Prostate Cancer UK,  by holding a ‘Lads Night  In’ with the Ashburton team at their Rescue Centre.

“We’re going to have lots of fun with games, camping and an all night barbecue. Local business have also got involved to donate anything from beer to a portaloo! It should be a great night raising funds and awareness for a really important cause.”

Alan Pewsey the team Fundraising Officer said “Martyn approached me about supporting a team event in aid of Prostate Cancer UK and I thought it was a great idea for on this occasion to support another great cause rather than our own charity. Hopefully the ‘Lads Night In’ on the 25th September will raise awareness of Prostate Cancer and if it helps at least 1 man detect the cancer early when the chance of  a full recovery is at its highest, it would have been all worthwhile.”

You can find out more about Prostate Cancer UK Charity at

Last night a large multi-agency search and rescue exercise took place on the River Dart at Newbridge, Dartmoor. A problematic area for communications consisting of rapid river levels increases, steep ground and difficult access.

Major exercise tests emergency services and volunteers

Teams from Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were joined by voluntary sector Mountain Rescue Teams including Tavistock, Plymouth, Exmoor and Ashburton. The objective of the exercise was to promote inter-team working and best practice, as well as to test major incident handling at Bronze and Silver levels.

The scenario included 5 casualties who had decided to construct a homemade raft and got into difficulties after leaving Dartmeet, failing to arrive at the River Dart Country Park. A member of the public who alerted the authorities to the incident had got themselves involved as they slipped whilst ascending steep ground whilst trying to get a mobile signal.

Deployed teams consisting of members of all organisations were then tasked to search areas along the course of the river to locate and rescue the casualties.

Alec Collyer, Ashburton and Dartmoor Rescue Group Chairman part of the organiser team for the event said ” A major full-time / voluntary inter-agency search and rescue exercise is conducted at least once a year and tonight’s proved to be very successful. The Upper Dart Valley is a difficult area for all the agencies involved, hence sharing skills between the full-time and voluntary sector is vital to ensure any potential incidents are dealt with effectively.”

“The casualty sites required different problem solving challenges and they were purposely made awkward to test the teams.’

“Following the event, debriefs are being held to correlate learning from the exercise and the findings  will be used to improve operational procedures across all agencies.”

Alec also highlighted the contribution of the volunteer casualties. “We are very grateful  to all the members of the public who volunteered as casualties. Without them the exercise wouldn’t have been possible or as successful as it was”

Multi-agency exercise - Newbridge


Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service donate 6 Landrovers that are now surplus to their requirements to Dartmoor and Exmoor Search and Rescue Teams. On a typical Dartmoor drizzly day in November, all the team’s got together to officially accept the Landies before undertaking a group training exercise.


Monday, 08 May 2017 15:28

Team Member Interview - Al Pewsey

In this series of team member interviews, we find out more about what makes our volunteers tick. For our fifth interview we talk to our Fundraising Officer Al Pewsey, 

Al Pewsey

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

Apart from a callout member I am also the team Fundraising Officer. We rely on the general public for around 92% of our funding so my main role is looking for opportunities for raising funds and liaising with our supporters who are vital to us remaining operational. It’s a fabulous job to have because I get to meet lots of very lovely individuals, groups, societies and businesses who support the team in so many different ways and for so many different reasons. I run lots of presentations to groups and societies talking about the work of the team, get to have my photo taken at cheque handovers, organise fundraising at events like our Templer Way sponsored walk and the Dartmoor Classic and generally keep myself busy representing the team anyway I can.

I also head up the team that runs the team website and social media feeds so that also keeps me busy!

When did you join DSRTA and why?

I was originally part of the Okehampton team in the 1980’s but had to leave when work commitments got in the way. Moving on to 2009, a friend of mine was part of the Ashburton team and he rekindled my interest in rejoining. As I enjoyed my time at Okehampton and the time was right for me to give up some spare time again as its quite a commitment, I applied and was lucky enough to be offered a place as a trainee in 2010.

Tell us about your day job?

I worked as a Presales Technical Networks Consultant, helping businesses to link their sites and offices for communications not just in Devon but across the country. It was not very exciting and I took the opportunity to leave late last year. I'm now having a break before I decide what to do next.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

Lots. Cycling (don’t mention bollards!), photography, travel, keeping fit, theatre lighting, walking, climbing (not very good) and water sports.

Choose 5 words which best describe your experiences with DSRTA

Great people. Busy. Very rewarding

Where is your favourite part of Dartmoor and why?

The beauty of Dartmoor is it has so much to offer at any time of year and what ever your mood so I have lots of favourite places. However my long time favourite place is Gidleigh Common as it has so much to offer with scenery, antiquities, the River Teign and of course peace and quiet.

Jam or Cream first?

Cream, there is no other way ..... duuuuhh!

The Rolling Stones or The Beetles?

Stones everytime.

Favourite part of being part of the team?

The camaraderie is fabulous and I work with some amazingly talented people. It is great to know that no matter what time of day or night, our volunteers will drop everything to search for somebody they don’t know regardless of the circumstances. It restores your faith in human nature.

In this series of team member interviews, we find out more about what makes our volunteers tick. For our fourth interview we talk to Andrew Luscombe, affectionately known as Lugs, the custodian of our team equipment and vehicles.


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

I am currently the team’s Vehicle Officer and Equipment Officer. My role is to ensure that all our vehicles are roadworthy and the kit within them is operational and up to date with a full checklist being completed weekly, this includes dealing with insurances, MOT’s plus any repair work, much of which is carried out in house. My extended role as EO includes checking all of our operational kit, ropes, water PPE, radios, medical gases, team bags, cas bags, vacuum mattresses and stretchers to name a few.

2) When did you join DSRTA and why?

I joined DSRTA in November 2011 as a trainee, and received my jacket in January 2013. It had been a long held desire to join the team and took some time(years) to buck up the courage to apply, I’m very glad I did…

3) Tell us about your day job?

I used to fettle wooden dowels for NASA, however due to the demise of the shuttle programme work dried up so I now work as a building contractor…

4) Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

I’ve always had an interest in birds, encouraged by my grandfather who in the 50’s and 60’s maintained bird counts for the RSPB and worked closely with H G Hurrell for many years. I occasionally knock out the odd painting,   trying to complete my collection of The Countryman magazine I’m missing 1927-1930, and have a constantly growing collection of minerals and fossils. Currently looking for an old brit motorcycle to restore, the more knackered the better!

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

Satisfying, challenging, diverting, poignant, warm.

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

Mount Misery, pitch black, fog, heavy sideways rain and barely above freezing….

Other than that both the Avon and the Dart. The Avon because I’ve known this river and all her moods since I was a small child. The Dart, from the source of both the East and West Dart to Dartmeet and beyond to New Bridge, sometimes on these stretches you could quite easily be on another planet.

7) Jam or Cream first?

Jam on the left and cream on the right

8) The Rolling Stones or The Beetles?

Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, ACDC, Wagner, Puccini, currently Electro Swing…anything really as long as its not jazz, jazz is just plain wrong..

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 for the team and what’s ahead for the next 40 years.


Monday, 07 March 2016 09:36

The secret life of a Search Manager

Team Roles. Episode 1, the Search Manager

We are often asked by members of the public about the different roles there are in the team, and what tasks are undertaken by these roles.

Well, in the first of this series on team roles, we introduce you to the secret World of a Search Manager. So what goes on behind the closed doors of our search control vehicle? We take you into their new office, our freshly fitted our new Control Vehicle complete with all mod cons,  while the duty Search manager had zipped out for a quick break during a particularly arduous shift to give you a sneak preview.

Keep it to yourself mind as it’s a closely guarded secret.  ;-)


With the trusty old Seaking being replaced, the team along with the remaining Dartmoor Rescue teams, undertook a familiarisation exercise this evening with the Merlin helicopter in preparation for Ten Tors. It’s a completely different beast to the Seaking and important we are trained in how to work with them safely.

Thanks to the crews from RNAS Yeovilton for their valuable time.


Thursday, 12 May 2016 09:26

Ten Tors Behind the Scenes

For over 40 years, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton has been supporting the annual Ten Tors Expedition. Over 2,400 young people taking on the challenge of Ten Tors over 35, 45 or 55 miles, as well as the Jubilee Event that gives those with additional challenges the chance to get involved.

We camp at Sittaford Moor Gate for the weekend and this short video gives a behind the scenes look of what we get up too.


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.

Templer Way 2016 plastic surgeon launch

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.

TW2016 logo 292x300

‘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.’

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 08:41

Templer Way Challenge 2016. The best yet!

Charity walk raises £11,000 for Ashburton rescuers

An 18-mile sponsored walk has seen over £11,000 raised for Dartmoor Search and Rescue, as 150 people walked from the Haytor Information Centre in Dartmoor National Park to Shaldon on the Devon coast.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton's Templer way 2016 fundraising sponsored walk

The walk was aimed at raising funds for the Dartmoor Search and Rescue team based at Ashburton, a voluntary organisation and registered charity, which relies on fundraising to keep its team fully equipped and prepared to deal with the many emergencies it attends each year.

Craig Scollick of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton said: “This event is very important to the team remaining operational as it is our largest fundraiser of the year, raising around a third of our annual running costs. We get called around 30 times a year to help those in need, not just on the moor, but the lost, missing, injured and vulnerable across Devon and sometimes further afield to major incidents like the recent floods at York. We rely on public donation for over 90% of our funding, so everybody who has taken part or supported this year’s event has effectively helped to save lives.”

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

Bovey Tracey’s Mayor Ulli Arnold set the walkers on their way for the event, which is now in its 6th year.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton's Templer Way fundraiser

The main sponsor of this year’s event was Plastic Surgeon, a nationwide surface repair specialist with headquarters in Bovey Tracey. The team at Plastic Surgeon contributed £5,358 of the £10,000 total with the staff raising funds that the firm then topped up to add to the total.

Team Fundraising Officer Alan Pewsey of Dartmoor Search and Rescue said: “We are very grateful to the team at Plastic Surgeon who have played a huge part in the success of this year’s event. Their enthusiasm has been infectious with the event being the most successful fundraising event we’ve ever put on, raising almost £10,000 so far with more donations expected to come in.  We loved having them involved and we are very grateful for all their fantastic support.”

Rob Mouser, Managing Director of Plastic Surgeon said: “Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton do a terrific job and often under very difficult circumstances. It’s important that they get the right funding to carry out their work and we’re absolutely delighted to be helping them. It’s a really worthwhile cause and we’re proud to be involved.”

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton's Templer Way fundraiser

Alan Pewsey concluded: “We’d like to extend a very big thank you to all the participants, their supporters, team members, Plastic Surgeon and Sibelco who have also sponsored the event again this year. Early feedback we have had from participants and team members alike is that they thoroughly enjoyed the day and we will definitely be looking to run the event again in April 2017.”

For more information on Plastic Surgeon, please visit

Photo album of the event 

Templer Way 2016

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 08:34

Mountain Rescue Casualty Care Success

Congratulations to the 16 team members who passed their Mountain Rescue Casualty Care assessment at the weekend, especially to those taking it for the first time. The MR Cas Care assessment is an advanced qualification above the standard levels of first aid competence that all our members have to have.


The team now has 34 qualified advanced ‘Cas Carers’ within the team, which is something we are very proud of. The success is testament to the time and effort put in not just by our volunteers to train, revise and take the exam, but also to our Medical Team lead by Dr Rich and Dr Tas, who put in a considerable amount of their own time to train our volunteers to the standard required.

We extend our congratulations to the volunteers who also took the assessment from other teams across the region.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) – 40th Anniversary celebration

This November saw the 40th Anniversary of the creation of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton). To celebrate, black ties were tied and posh frocks were worn to a formal dinner where current and, past members and their partners mingled with honoured guests from Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon Fire and Rescue Service and Dartmoor National Park. The event was held in the magnificent surroundings of the Grand Hall of the Dartington Hall Trust. The Grand Hall was first build in the 1400s and this historical location with its vaulted ceiling seemed somehow fitting to represent the endurance and resilience of the rescue team. We were extremely grateful to the Dartington Hall Trust for the donation of the use of the grand hall for this event.

Dartmoor rescuers celebrate 40 years saving lives with a gala dinner at Dartington Hall

As the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) Chairman, Alec Collyer said at the event :

‘1976 saw the formation of the Ashburton team which had a handful of members and a few bits of gear in a drying shed behind Ashburton Police station. Today we have 60 members ready to respond 24/7 and 365 days/year using equipment and undertaking training which in some cases would be unrecognisable to those who joined the team all those years ago’. Alec closed his speech in toasts to absent friends, a recognition of the support we all receive from family, friends and organisations enabling us to do what we do and to the future of the team.

Alec modestly forgot to mention he was one of those early starters when he was in his late teens and he is still an active hill member and Hill Party Leader.

Standing in for the Chief Constable was Chief Superintendent Jim Nye, Commander, Alliance Operations Department, Devon & Cornwall Police. In his speech he said:

‘It was an honour to attend the 40th anniversary of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton), For 40 years DSRT Ashburton have worked very closely with the police to ensure the public are safe when visiting and working on Dartmoor, and more recently I have seen DSRT Ashburton helping the police in the urban areas of Devon as we look for missing people. I have always found the DSRT Ashburton volunteers to be very professional and dedicated in what they do. They turn out, day or night, regardless of the weather conditions. Our communities can be rightly proud of these people and I look forward to our close relationship continuing through future decades’

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton celebrates its 40th anniversary with a gala dinner at Dartington Hall

Ian Lowcock, Team Leader of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) recognised the ongoing contributions made by the current team members and also recognised those contributions given by past team members including a past controller (search manager) Les Scull who at a sprightly 94 was the oldest of the past members to attend.

As a current member who has clocked up a mere 10 years with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) it felt a real privilege to attend the event and reflect on all that we achieve as a group of volunteers from disparate backgrounds but all harbour a love of the outdoors and a desire to give something back to their community.

Craig Scollick

Hill Party Leader

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton)

BBC Radio Devon - SW Mountain Rescue response to the York floods

Our Search Manager Dave Underhill talks to BBC Radio Devon’s David Sheppard about the SW Mountain Rescue teams involvement in the Yorkshire Floods major incident.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton, Tavistock, North Dartmoor and Plymouth as well as Exmoor Search and Rescue have around 50 of their volunteers deployed in the York area.

BBC Radio York - Mountain Rescue’s contribution to the York floods

Ashburton member and DRG Secretary Dave Close, along with Roger Hartley from Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue, talk to BBC Radio York about the involvement of  Mountain Rescue in the York flooding major incident.


Thursday, 31 December 2015 20:36

The Quite Amazing People of York

Heart FM interview Ashburton Search Manager and Dartmoor Rescue Group Secretary Dave Close about the wonderful welcome volunteers received from the people of York during the devastating major floods during Christmas and New Year


Wednesday, 30 December 2015 20:24

York Floods and the pending Devon weather

Now that Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers deployed to the York Flooding major incident are back home in the county, Matt Woodley interviews Ashburton Search Manager and Dartmoor Rescue Group Secretary Dave Close as he reflects on the floods and the pending Devon weather that is predicted.




Thursday, 09 March 2017 16:21

Not another helicopter story dad!

There we were in a perfect arctic huddle on a remote hill side in southern Dartmoor waiting for the aircraft.


We heard the rotor noise and the helicopter landed amidst a flurry of dead grass. In no time at all we had the thumbs up and were walking towards the helicopter for our training flight. Rather than the Maritime and Coastguard Agency or an air ambulance aircraft this time it was a Royal Navy Merlin from 846 squadron RNAS Yeovilton. It was on a familiarisation flight in preparation for the Ten Tors event in May and they wanted some friendly Dartmoor Rescue team members to train with. Our group consisted of members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton)  and from our sister team Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Plymouth).

merlin helicopter

Ten Tors for those who don’t know is an annual event on Dartmoor which is organised and checkpoint per by the military where 2,400 teenage children aged between 15 and 18 walk 35,45 or 55 miles over two days and have a wild overnight camp in the middle. It’s a real challenge for the young people as they are unsupported by adults with the best teams training for the 5 months leading up to the event.

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The role of the four Dartmoor Rescue teams is to provide rescue cover and should the situation arise the Royal Navy Merlins are on standby as air assets to support a serious casualty evacuation.

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Back to our flight and sadly it was cut short due to low cloud, it was Dartmoor after all, but we still had a great opportunity to train with the Royal Navy crew in preparation for May. The shortened flight meant surprisingly I was home for tea which isn’t usually the case on MR events. While eating with  my family I enthused about my exciting flight and and was humbled by the response of one of my teenagers who looked up, grunted and said ‘not another helicopter story dad’ and returned uninterested to his food.


Craig Scollick
Hill Party Leader
Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton)

All photo credits: Roger Hyde, DSRT Plymouth. Thanks Roger


In the 3rd of our series of Team Member Interviews, we interview team member and local celebrity Colin the Rescue Otter!

colin the Rescue Otter. One of 100 Moor Otters spread throughout the Dartmoor NAtional park as part of the public art project raising money for conservation of the moor.

Its great to have you in the team Colin. It’s not everyday that a Mountain Rescue team can boost a real celebrity in its ranks! So, now you are settled down with your glass of Devonia Sparkling Water chilled to 7 degrees and your blue M&M’s, i’ll ask you the first question.

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

I am the newest member of the swift water team. My role involves helping the team with their water searches. I do have to try and not to be distracted by all the lovely fish if we are on a call out I get the hard stare from my team mates if I do! Sometimes if I’m really hungry which is most of the time this can prove to be very difficult.

When did you join DSRTA and why?

I joined the team in March 2017. Someone promised me lots of fish. Yet to appear to be honest!

Tell us about your day job?

During the day I like to meet my fans and responding to all my messages on twitter this can be quite tiring so I try and get some sleep before my night job which involves a lot of fishing.
I have several types of fishing rods. Sometimes if I’m REALLY hungry I cast them all out in one go. I’ve just ordered a new one from Amazon I have quite a collection now
maybe some day I can show you.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

I’m top of the league at the Dartmoor Otter Pebble twisting association so mainly practising my pebble skills oh and a bit of fishing

Choose 5 words which best describe your experiences with DSRTA

Wet, Hungry, Hard Stare (I know that’s two but it needs to be pointed out) and did I mention hungry

Where is your favourite part of Dartmoor and why?

My Lips are sealed! Its a secret! I’m not going to say just in case there are other otters reading
this who might come along and steal my fish!

Jam or Cream first?

Oh no! Just Fish thank you. Got to keep my waist line down otherwise pebble twisting becomes

The Rolling Stones or The Beetles?

I like the stones but not sure about beetles I think they taste a bit funny. Yuk!
Colin the Rescue Otter is one of 100 otters that are in 94 locations across Dartmoor National Park this summer from June to September as part of the Moor Otters Public Art Project. 
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 10:18

Team Member Interview – Dave Close

In this series of team member interviews, we find out more about what makes our volunteers tick. For our first interview we talk to Dave Close, otherwise known as El Presidenti.


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

I’m presently the Team Secretary, tasked with ensuring a smooth flow of information both to the

members within and responding to enquiries from outside. This can take many forms; including the

taking of minutes at Committee/Team meetings, circulation of information across the membership,

liaising with organisations and members of the public approaching the team etc.

When did you join DSRTA and why?

I joined DSRT Ashburton in 2007. Having moved to the area in 2004 (from London), I was looking to

give something back to the walking community. Mindful that although not personally needing

mountain rescue during my trips to the Lakes/Nth Wales in my youth, friends of mine did get lost on

Dartmoor and were most likely assisted by the DRG back in the 1980’s.

Tell us about your day job?

Rachel (my wife) and I run a hostel for the homeless in Torquay. We manage two properties that

provide emergency temporary accommodation for those made homeless, which can happen for a

variety of reasons, not always within their control. We only accept referrals from the local council,

and can accommodate families, couples, single men & women from aged 16 upwards. Residents

stay for a short period of time so as to get back on their feet and progress independent living

arrangements. Duration of stay depends largely on their personal circumstances, and can range

from a few days to several months.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

For two years prior to joining the team, and for four years during, I was involved in Scouting in

Torbay and enjoyed kayaking, sailing and power boating alongside all that you’d traditionally expect

from the movement; however, since also taking on regional and national roles within Mountain

Rescue England and Wales, these responsibilities have been handed to others. I am a keen walker

around the SW, regularly spend time in Scotland in February (much to Rachel’s anguish)

experiencing winter climbing conditions, have a dog (Maddie) and two young grandsons, so I’m kept

pretty busy and (mostly) out of trouble.

Choose 5 words which best describe your experiences with DSRTA

Professionalism, support, dedication, teamwork, family.

Where is your favourite part of Dartmoor and why?

Difficult to pinpoint one particular area, but if pushed I’d have to say the Dart gorge and

surroundings; I’m a big fan of water.

Jam or Cream first?

Growing up in London, cream was either for pouring on jelly, or squirted from a can onto a

knickerbockerglory; however, being partially adopted by Devon (as much as anyone can be not born

here), cream first.

The Rolling Stones or The Beetles?

Rolling Stones and beyond, the heavier the better really.

Team Nickname

Dave has reached the lofty heights of Secretary for Mountain Rescue England and Wales. Hence his team nickname ‘El Presidenti’ 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017 10:17

Team Member Interview – Craig Scollick

In this series of team member interviews, we find out more about what makes our volunteers tick. For our second interview, we talk to Craig Scollick, a team member for over 10 years.


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

I’m a Hill Party Leader – that means I’m one of a number of our volunteers who has gone through the Hill Party Leader training and is in charge of a team of volunteers during a callout. After we’ve arrived at a callout our search managers will be briefed by the Police and friends or family of the person(s) we are looking for. Based on the information they receive they will allocate search areas and then divide our volunteers into teams to carry out searches in those areas.
I’m also a member of the Hasty Team which is a small group within the rescue team who are regular runners and enjoy running on Dartmoor in all conditions. We offer the search managers the opportunity to deploy a small fast moving team of fell runners with light packs to quickly check moorland paths or rapidly go to a casualty if they are at a known location. Typically our hasty team members have also passed their Mountain Rescue Casualty Care qualification and can assess and stabilise an individual before the main team or a helicopter arrives.

When did you join DSRTA and why?

My family and I moved to Devon in 2006 and after a lifetime of climbing and hill-walking with friends I thought that joining DSRTA would be a great way of giving back and also meeting like minded people.

Tell us about your day job?

I’m the director of a small management consultancy business where we offer project and programme management to our clients. This means that I spend most of my time in an office either talking to people or looking at plans and spreadsheets. Periodically I also get the chance to swap the office for Dartmoor and help teach and assess individuals for national hill-walking qualifications.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

With a busy job, a wife, 3 school age children and my involvement in DSRTA there isn’t a lot of time for much else. I do however try to stay fit for the times when I do get the chance to go climbing or hill-walking. As my children have been working their way through the sections in the local scout group my wife and I also help out at scout camps and other scout events.

Choose 5 words which best describe your experiences with DSRTA

Rewarding, challenging, exciting, inclusive & addictive.
Where is your favourite part of Dartmoor and why?
Now that’s a hard question…I really like the more remote parts of the moor, or at least the parts that feel that way. I’d say the area around the middle of the south moor from Ryder’s Hill in the north to Three Barrows in the south and bounded on the west by Erme plains and the east by Grippers Hill. I love the quiet in this area and I’m always surprised and intrigued by both the ancient and the industrial archaeology.

Jam or Cream first?

Has to be cream – is there another way?

The Rolling Stones or The Beetles?

Having seen them at a gig in Manchester it has to be the stones.

Team Nickname?

Affectionately known as ‘Futbrudge’ pronounced in an outrageously bad Scottish accent.

Many thanks Craig.

174 walk in heavy rain to raise over £7,500 for vital service

An 18-mile sponsored walk has seen over £7,000 raised for the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team based at Ashburton, as 174 people walked from the Haytor Quarry in Dartmoor National Park to Shaldon on the Devon coast.

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The Challenge, now in its 7th year, raises funds for the Ashburton based rescuers. The charity, which relies on fundraising to keep its team of volunteers fully equipped and prepared to deal with the many incidents it’s asked to attend by the full-time emergency services each year.

Alan Pewsey of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton said: “This event is very important to the team remaining operational as it is our largest fundraiser of the year, raising around a third of our annual running costs. In 2016 we were called 37 times to help those in need. The people we help are not just walkers and climbers on the moor, but the lost, missing, injured and vulnerable, such as those with dementia and mental health problems,  in rural and urban areas across the county and sometimes further afield. We rely on public donation for over 90% of our funding, so everybody who has taken part or supported this year’s event has effectively helped to save lives.”

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

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There was extra excitement this year as Colin, the Rescue Otter made a special appearance. Colin, painted by talented local wildlife artist Ayse Rifat, is one of 100 otters that will be seen across Dartmoor from June this summer as part of the Moor Otter public art initiative which aims to raise money for the national park. Rescue team member Andrew Luscombe said ‘Ayse approached the team with her idea of a Rescue Otter and we were delighted her idea was accepted. We think he looks fabulous and we are very grateful to the project for allowing us to give the public a sneak preview at our Templer Way event. We are looking forward to seeing Colin and all the otters across Dartmoor this summer, as they will be raising valuable funds to enable the park to continue conserving the landscape for current and future generations to enjoy.’

Alan concluded: “We’d like to extend a very big thank you to all who have supported our Templer Way Challenge again this year. Early feedback we have had from participants and team members alike is that they thoroughly enjoyed the day, despite the heavy rain, and we will definitely be looking to run the event again in April 2018.”


Moor Otter Public Art Project:

Ayse Rifat – Wildlife Artist:

Recent team callouts ……

It is a little known fact that volunteer Mountain rescue Teams such as Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton, don’t just cover areas of mountains or wild country. We are a resource available to the Police, ambulance and fire services 24/7 and can assist in rural and urban searches as well as flood rescue.

You can read more about how Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton helps to rescue those in need, regardless of whether they are residents or visitors to Devon below:

Ten Tors Support – every year for 40 years!

On the Saturday afternoon during the Ten Tors event this year, history was made for one of the Dartmoor Rescue teams and in particular one of its stalwart volunteer members. Each year at Okehampton camp the military organisers recognise those organisations and volunteers who have supported the event for 10, 20 and 30 years. This year, as part of this quiet and understated presentation, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) and in particular one of their volunteers, Alec Collyer from Shaldon, were recognised for 40 years of continuous support to the Ten Tors event.

alec.001 1024x768

Ten Tors, for those who don’t know, is an annual event on Dartmoor which is organised and check-pointed  by the military where 2,400 teenage children aged between 15 and 18 walk 35, 45 or 55 miles over two days and have a wild overnight camp in the middle. It’s a real challenge for the young people as they are unsupported by adults with the best teams training for the 5 months leading up to the event. The role of the four Dartmoor rescue teams is to provide rescue cover should this be required during the event.

In the 57 year history of the event very few organisations and even fewer individuals have been recognised for 40 years of support and the current volunteers of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) are rightly proud of their heritage. The volunteers continue to look forward to their annual support of the event alongside their sister Dartmoor rescue teams and other voluntary organisations. At a recent Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) Annual General Meeting, the team formally recognised Alec Collyer for this continued support to the team and to the Ten Tors event.

Keith Lambeth the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) Team Leader said ‘One of the great privileges of being part of this team is the people you get to meet. Alec’s service to the team in general and ten tors in particular is an inspiration to us all’

Platinum award for DSRTA 10 tors

Alec Collyer of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) said ‘Over the years we’ve seen all possible weathers thrown at us and the participants. From snow to rain lashed gales to baking sunshine. Teams are so much better equipped and trained nowadays, in the “old days” Ten Tors was often the first time some teams had ever seen Dartmoor, those teams had a bit of a shock. I intend to collect a 50 year supporter’s medal’

Thursday, 11 May 2017 10:11

Rescuers visit to Shaldon Scouts

Recently Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) visited River Teign Sea Scouts(1st Shaldon) at their headquarters near the Ness in Shaldon. During the visit the Scouts were invited to join in with a number of activities. The activities included map and compass work, bandaging and splinting, moving casualties on a stretcher, searching in the dark and using radios.

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Craig Scollick from DSRT (Ashburton) said ‘ It was great to visit Shaldon Scouts and see their enthusiasm for things we do, I dare say we’ll get a few volunteers from the Scout Group in the future’.

Andy Dorey Group Scout Leader said ‘ The Scouts had a great time learning new skills when Dartmoor Search & Rescue recently visited our Shaldon HQ; it was really good of them to come along for the evening and let the scouts get hands on with some specialist equipment. On behalf of all the Scouts a big thank you for a fantastic evening’

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This coming weekend is the 2017 version of the Dartmoor Classic Cycle Sportive, probably one of the premier cycle sportives in the UK. Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton has been a charity partner of the Classic for over 6 years and this year we will once again be raffling fabulous prizes in the event draw.

Dartmoor Classic Prizes 1024x768

Since 2012 over £12,000 has been donated to the team thanks to the generosity of the organisers and participants of the Dartmoor Classic. This amazing support has undoubtedly enabled us to save lives of those in need on Dartmoor and across South and East Devon. Read more about the prizes below.

TOP Prize – A custom built Aske bike worth over £2,000

Simon Aske is going to custom build a bike for the lucky winner, giving them a unique steel frame bike designed around them. Aske Bikes produce hand-made steel frames with a custom geometry for every customer. The main objective of Aske Bikes is to give the customer a personal frame using personal desired steel as well as a choice in paint work.

aske bike 

The bike components for the Dartmoor Classic top prize are being donated by Madison UK. We think, you’ll agree that this is an awesome prize for any cyclist.

We are extremely grateful to MDCC, the Dartmoor Classic organisers Madison UK and Simon Aske for donating such a fabulous top prize and the ongoing support to the team.

2nd Prize – Luxurious Bovey Castle golf and lunch package worth £400

Enjoy a round of golf on Bovey Castle’s Championship 18 hole golf course and two courses in Smith’s Brasserie for four people.

bovey castle e1498558241270 1024x360

The lovely people at Bovey Castle have kindly supported the team with Dartmoor Classic prizes for many years and we are extremely grateful for them for the support again this year.

3rd Prize – Paramo Ciclo Light Jacket worth £160

The Ciclo is ideal for very active outdoors people who cycle in all weathers and would like a jacket suitable for other activities too. 


The Ciclo Light is ideal for active outdoors people who cycle in all weathers and would like a jacket suitable for other activities too.

If you enjoy cycling and high energy activities in all weathers, you need a versatile jacket for wind and rain protection, which also removes perspiration and condensation and allows you to keep cool when working hard.

The cycling-friendly design is combined with Nikwax Analogy Light fabric for optimum comfort. It provides waterproof protection plus moisture and temperature control in one weight-efficient garment.

Paramo has been an active supporter of our team for many years and we would like to extend our thanks to them for the amazing ongoing support.

4th Prize – Enjoy a day at the beautiful Powderham Castle with a Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children).

Powderham Castle is set in a beautiful deer park on the stunning Exe Estuary and is the home of the Earl and Countess of Devon and the family ticket will give you access to the house and gardens.

5th Prize – ‘Gold Trek and Taste’ at Sharpham Wine and Cheese.

Enjoy a self-directed tour of the vineyard together with an informal tasting of our wine and cheese. The vineyard is set in a stunning location on the bank of the River Dart producing world class wine and cheese.

Thanks to all the above organisations and business’ for their wonderful support to our fundraising efforts this year. Without this support the team would cease to exist and our ability to help those in need and essentially save lives, would be seriously impeded.

You can buy your tickets, just £1 a go, from our team members who will be at the Registration Village at Newton Abbot racecourse on Saturday afternoon 1st July from 12:30 and Sunday 2nd July between 11:00 – 16:00. They will also be available from our team stand that will be next to Colin Lewis Cycles in the village. The draw will be made over the PA around 16:00 on the Sunday afternoon. All lucky winners will be contacted very soon afterwards with their prizes.

Good luck to all participants, it’s going to be another fabulous event.

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Charity Number: 1106098.