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    DSRT Ashburton

    DSRT Ashburton

    Obituary Pauline Richards 1951-2019

    Today volunteers for local charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton said goodbye in a funeral service in Torbay, to a much loved long serving team member who passed away whilst on duty at this year’s Ten Tors.

     team members form a guard of honour at Pauline's funeral


    On Tuesday 13th May 2019 Pauline Richards (67) passed away after a sudden and unexpected illness. She is survived by her son James and daughter Liz, and by the members of her other family, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton).

    Pauline was an active member of the rescue team for almost 30 years and in her time was a hill member, SARDA search dog handler, committee member, and in later years worked steadfastly to support our Search Managers in the Control Vehicle. 

    Pauline suddenly collapsed whilst she was on duty with the team contributing to the safety cover for the two thousand young people taking part in this year’s Ten Tors Challenge. 

    We are indebted to all those who assisted us in getting Pauline from our remote position on the high moor to hospital in Plymouth. We would like to thank the Army, Royal Navy, Devon 4X4 and Dartmoor National Park Rangers, all of whom made it possible for us to achieve this so swiftly.

    Pauline was one of our most sociable members who spoke to everyone from the newest trainee to the longest serving member. She always had a kind word for those who needed one, and freely helped anyone who asked for her assistance. As a woman who had succeeded in gaining respect in a predominately male world, she made a point of supporting the many other women who have followed her since.

    Pauline at work in the team's incident control vehicle

    Pauline was a dedicated and enthusiastic smoker at a time before, and after it was disapproved of. She smoked creatively in the foulest weather and in the most  unlikely situations. For a period of time she had a small waterproof plastic container she could fit 2 cigarettes and a lighter into that she hung around her neck on a bit of string. The sight of her lighting up whilst standing in waist deep water, waiting for something to happen, is an image of her that captures a bit of her character – resourceful, practical, bold, and just a little bit bloody minded.

    She had a devilish sense of humour that could gently torment the unwary - Sometimes the only clue for an increasingly perplexed trainee that she was standing on the small navigation target was her quiet chuckling.  This was only matched by an unerring talent for sniffing out fresh coffee. Her ability to appear at just the right time must have taken years to perfect. 

    PR and puppy

    We take comfort in knowing that when she fell ill, she was with friends and on Dartmoor, a place she loved. Although we didn’t know it at the time, a few us were also lucky enough to have been with her the evening before doing what she liked most, sharing stories and having a laugh over a drink or two. 

    None of us realise quite how much we’ll miss someone until they’re gone. Pauline was always there, an ever-present part of our team. We are going to miss her commitment, humour and friendship more than we can say. 

    Friends remember Pauline with a walk to one of her favourite places on Dartmoor

    Team members and friends reflect, mourn and remember Pauline with a walk to one of her favourite places on Dartmoor following news of her passing in hospital.

    Tuesday, 28 May 2019 21:07

    Search finds body at Watcombe

    Callout 15/2019 -  Seale Hayne area, Newton Abbott,  11:22 22nd May 2019

    The team were called to assist with a search for a 'high risk working age male' near Seale Hayne just outside Newton Abbot. Fortunately, as team members were arriving at the RV, the male was found alive, safe and well and we were stood down shortly afterwards.

    Callout 14/2019 -  Watcombe Beach, Torquay,  08:49 22nd May 2019

    The team were called out by Devon and Cornwall Police to assist in an on-going search for a missing male in the Watcombe area. This multi-agency search involved the National Police Helicopter Service, RNLI Torbay, Torbay Coastguard, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Devon & Cornwall Police

    At 1030 a body was located by the coastguard. Our volunteers worked with the coastguard to bring the body to a road head.

    Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the individual at this sad and difficult time.

    Callout 13/2019 -  Bradley Manor, Newton Abbot,  14:00 10th May 2019

    team members deployed to Newton Abbot to assist in the search for a female reported as being suicidal. Team members searched areas around Bradley Manor with Devon and Cornwall Police officers with assistance from a Police helicopter. 

    Around 4:30 pm team members were stood down as the lady was found safe and well outside our search area. Team members then deployed to Dartmoor as part of the safety cover for the Ten Tors event.

    Near miss -  East Devon, 18:37 23rd May 2019

    At 1837 on 23rd May the team were put on standby for a callout to assist in the search for a missing person in East Devon. Members were stood down at 1900 as the missing person had been found.

    STANDBY - 2nd June Haytor

    At 1745 on Saturday the team was called out to assist Devon & Cornwall Police in the search in the Haytor area for a 16 year old who had been missing since 1630. The team were then put on standby when the police made mobile contact with the missing person. Minutes after one of our Search Manager's arrived on scene, the 16 year old was spotted by the Police a few hundred metres north of Haytor in the direction of Holwell Quarry. At 1820 the team was stood down. The misper was then walked off to the top car park by the Police and returned to a very worried relation. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Press report:

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

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

    Crews on foot are using beaters and a range of specialist vehicles

    Photo credit: Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    Sunday, 24 February 2019 10:52

    Camper sustains a head injury.

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

    Our team of volunteers had an early start this morning with a callout at 01:27 to locate and evacuate a camper with a head injury from Piles Copse near Harford Moor Gate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tuesday, 12 February 2019 23:15

    Stood down on route to Penn Inn Newton Abbot

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

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

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

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

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

    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.

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

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

    As part of our role in the multi-agency response to snow events on Haldon Hill just outside Exeter, the team responded in preparation for an expected snow event.

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

    DART52 Land rover ambulance in the snow at Kingsteignton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    Wednesday, 02 January 2019 11:43

    Two callouts to start 2019

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

    First callout off the New Year this evening.

    The team were mobilised following reports of 2 individuals stuck on Holwell Tor unable to descend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    At 06:21 our teams were stood down with no further sighting of the gentleman.

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

    Monday, 17 December 2018 08:26

    Haldon Forest callout for high risk female

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

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

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

    Monday, 10 December 2018 21:35

    East Devon search for missing young person

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

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

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

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

    A good outcome so close to Christmas.

    Press articles 


    Wednesday, 28 November 2018 08:25

    Search at Dartmouth following RTC

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

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

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

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

    Search and rescue gold buggies thanks to Dartmouth Golf Course 

    Monday, 26 November 2018 18:09

    Injured motorcyclist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CALLOUT UPDATE 31st October:  We are very sad to report that a body has been located by Coastguard rescue teams today.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    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.

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

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

    The team were called out early on Friday afternoon to search for a missing person with dementia who had gone missing in Decoy Park, Newton Abbot.

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

    A good outcome for all concerned.

    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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Our duty Search manager Dave Underhill said:

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

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

    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

    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.’

    Fundraising towards the target has started. Full details are available at

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

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

    Zach and Billy with their prizes

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

    Julie and her friends getting acquainted with the Alpacas

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

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

    Enjoy your flight Zach!

    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.

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

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

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

    The team were stood down just before midnight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

    The team were called at approx 17:30hrs to assistDevon and Cornwall Police in the search for a missing male in the Torquay/Kingskerswell area.

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

    The  Police investigation is continuing. 

    Sunday, 08 July 2018 23:55

    Cries for help

    CALLOUT 20 and 21 / 2018 - 8th JULY 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thursday, 28 June 2018 12:31

    Callouts and near misses

    CALLOUT 18 and 19 / 2018 - 24th - 27th  JUNE 2018

    Standby - Axminster 00:19 25th June 2018

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

    Near Miss - Exeter - 25 June 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thursday, 14 June 2018 14:55

    We don't always train on Dartmoor

    We aren’t always training on the moor.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Monday, 11 June 2018 21:26

    Broken ankle in Lustleigh Cleave

    CALLOUT 17 / 2018 - 19:01  11th JUNE 2018

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

    Dart62 Landrover ambulance at Lustleigh church

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

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

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

    ambulance carry

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

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

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

    Our duty team search manager said:

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


    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 our team of 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



    CALLOUT 16 / 2018 - 17:47  6th JUNE 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Team members deploying and using steep ground safety lines


    Monday, 04 June 2018 09:01

    Exeter teenager found by Police

    CALLOUT 15 / 2018 - 00:09  3rd JUNE 2018

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

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


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

    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

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

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

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

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

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

    200 walkers set off on the Dartmoor Rescue Templer Way Challenge

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

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

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

    Craig Scollick

    Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton


    CALLOUT 14 / 2018 - 02:58  26th MAY 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Monday, 23 April 2018 12:53

    Urban Sunday night search in Paignton

    CALLOUT 13 / 2018 - 19:07  22nd APRIL 2018

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

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

    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

    Monday, 19 March 2018 19:31

    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, the team 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.

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

    Rescuers search for vulnerable missing person in Exeter City Centre

    Photo: Devonlive

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

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

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

    Monday, 26 February 2018 17:12

    Ivybridge bowlers raise funds for rescuers.

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

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

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

    John Chaplin the club secretary said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Saturday, 03 March 2018 15:55

    Haldon Hill snow major incident deployment

    Callouts 7, 8 and 9 of 2018.

    CALLOUT 07 / 2018 - 28th February - 3rd March 2018

    Members keeping traffic moving near Chudleigh

    'Storm Emma' and the 'Beast from the East' weather events caused a Metoffice Red Warning to be issued for a majority of the County of Devon and the southwest this week. As one of the agencies that forms part of the Haldon Hill Emergency Snow Plan' along with the ful-time emergency services, Devon County Council and the Highways Agency, we were placed on heightened alert for the duration of the expected disruption.

    Following major incidents in 2009 and 2010 that caused 100's of motorists to be stranded on Haldon and Telegraph Hills, lessons had been learnt and all agencies were very well prepared for the expected snow and blizzards that arrived this time around. The A38 especially is a major artery into the southwest and every effort would, and indeed was, made to keep the road clear.

    Our Search Managers were actively involved in planning meetings leading up to Thursday and in preparation, our Incident Control Vehicle was taken to Kennford on Wednesday in advance of the expected bad weather on the Thursday afternoon. Our team volunteers were on heightened alert and were deployed to 3 different rendezvous (RV's), at strategic points on the West and East side of the hill at noon on Thursday ready to be deployed where needed to keep the A38 flowing. Very quickly the weather deteriorated as forecast and 2 teams were deployed to the Haldon Forest Diner at the top of Haldon Hill around 2pm.

    Almost to the minute, the weather deteriorated rapidly at 3pm as forecast and problems very quickly began to occur. Haldon and Telegraph Hills rise rapidly to their apex and it's this rise that causes the issues with traffic in snow conditions.

    The emergency services closed the A380 Torbay Road quickly after the snow storm began as planned so that all efforts could be focused on the A38. Shortly after, lorries and cars started to experience traction problems climbing the hill and congestion started to form. In the 2009/10 events the gritters and snowploughs couldn't get through to clear the road as their progress was blocked by stranded vehicles. This time the emergency services released traffic in batches and, apart from a few issues, managed to keep the gritters and snowploughs running for most of the time which minimised the number of stranded vehicles.

    Stranded traffic on the A38 at Haldon Hill, Exeter

    Our role in the plan is primarily to undertake welfare checks on stranded motorists and make sure any medical events are highlighted for treatment and hypothermia is avoided. We also kept an eye on any abandoned vehicles to keep track on anybody who had decided to leave their vehicles and make sure they were safe.

    As darkness fell limited traffic was still able to traverse the hill with considerable care although many vehicles did experience issues. From our base at Kennford and Haldon Forest Diner, our Landrovers were able to ferry team members to wherever they were needed to facilitate rescues alongside the Fire Service to help get stranded vehicles moving that were causing obstructions to traffic flow. 

    One particular area for problems was the westside of the hill on the Westbound carriageway heading down towards Chudleigh. Members and the Fire Service helped to get things moving again and the road was kept open.

    Eastbound there were also problems from the Teign Valley/Chudleigh Knighton junction towards Harcombe bends on the hill which also proved a problem for HGV's with at least one jack-knifing.

    Around 1am members were finally told to stand down and they faced their own challenge of getting back to their homes safely.

    On Friday, members were then again deployed to help the Ambulance service with reaching patients in rural difficult to access areas before finally being stood down in the early evening.

    Saturday began the task of getting team vehicles and equipment back to our base, equipment repacked and readied for the next callout,  and members reunited with their vehicles.

    Our Team Leader 'Keith Lambeth' wrote the following message to members, family, friends and supporters of the team about our deployment. 

    "It's been a long few days with team members being deployed in some cases from midnight on Tuesday through to today. Our main efforts have been welfare and safety checks on Haldon (as well as other tasks to keep traffic moving). Followed by a day of assisting SWAST with accessing emergencies in remote areas and team doctors assessing cases to reduce burden on ambulance and hospital services."

    "I have three thank-you's to pass on. 
    Firstly Thank you to all of the team members who have answered every request made of them with cheerfulness and resilience. I am prouder than ever to be a member of this team and my colleagues constantly set a standard that I aspire to, even when communication isn't clear and conditions are poor their patience and stamina are awesome."

    "Secondly Thank you to our Families and friends who make it possible for us to walk away from our lives to do this and then appear hours later for baths and showers! Our supporters in Dart2Zero who underpin all we do. Over the last three days, we simply couldn't have operated without the hospitality of Haldon Forest Diner, The Dartmoor Lodge and Moorgate veterinary practice thank you too!"

    A very big thank you to Haldon Forest Diner for letting us use their premises as a base for our volunteers

    "Lastly and maybe most importantly thank you to everyone who made sacrifices and stayed off the roads when asked this week (yes, I know not everyone could)."

    "The work hasn't finished for us just yet and today we are reuniting members with their cars, checking, cleaning drying and recharging equipment and then we will be looking for some quality time with families. Providng the phone doesn't ring..."

    "Thank you all for support and kindness."

     CALLOUT 08 / 2018 - 2nd March 2018

    The team were deployed on Friday 2nd March to assist SWAST during the extreme weather conditions affecting the Southwest.  13 members were involved in assisting SWAST with 4x4 vehicle access in hard-to-reach areas around our patch for medical issues.  One 85yr old gentleman was assessed and evacuated to RD&E; another 86yr old female was assessed and stabilised without having to seek hospital treatment by a team Doctor

    Over the 1st and 2nd March, 40 members were involved in the snow incident.

    CALLOUT 09 / 2018 - 12:32 4th March 2018

    The team were called to assist an overdue kayaker at Newbridge on Sun afternoon the 4th March. The kayaker had come out of their boat whilst descending the upper Dart. Members started to head towards the RV at Beltor Corner to deploy into the Upper Dart Valley and begin a search. Within 15mins of the callout being initiated the kayaker phoned to say that they were safe and well having walked out and the team were stood down.

    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 training in casualty recovery

    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


    Thursday, 15 February 2018 20:46

    Body of missing male found in search

    CALLOUT 06 / 2018 - 12:24  15th FEBRUARY 2018

    At lunchtime today our team, backed by our colleagues at North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team, were called out to assist Devon & Cornwall Police with a missing person search at Longdown on the outskirts of Exeter.

    Ashburton swift water rescue specialists searching for a missing male outside Exeter

    The missing male, a student at University of Exeter, was last seen in the early hours of Tuesday morning at an Exeter nightclub, and Police had become increasingly concerned as his disappearance was out of character.

    Around 3:30pm this afternoon, a team of our swift water rescue specialists discovered the body of a young man within our search area.

    Formal identification has yet to take place but the family of the missing person have been informed.

    We are all deeply saddened by the outcome of this search and send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the young man at this very difficult time.

    Monday, 29 January 2018 23:34

    Missing vulnerable teenager

    CALLOUT 05 / 2018 - 23:02  29th JANUARY 2018

    Devon and Cornwall Police requested assistance from the team in the search for a missing vulnerable teenager to the south east of Exeter. Shortly after the callout was issued and members were travelling to the rendezvous, the team was stood down as the teenager had been found by a Police dog.


    CALLOUT 04 / 2018 - 18:24  23rd JANUARY 2018

    A team callout was raised at 18:24 after Devon and Cornwall Police had received a call from 2 adult walkers who had become disorientated on a walk in the Haytor area of Dartmoor.

    Members began arriving at the rendezvous at the Haytor Rocks top car park shortly afterwards and the first 3 to arrive were tasked to their suspected location which was either Holwell Tor or Smallacombe Rocks.

    The small team walked out towards Holwell Tor along the granite railway and soon saw the missing adults signalling to us with their torches. They were fit and well and had just lost their bearing after the mist had closed in shortly before nightfall. Rather than wander aimlessly they had made the correct decision to stay put and seek help.

    They were properly equipped for the conditions and having torches in their packs 'just in case' certainly made our job a lot easier and enabled us to find them less than an hour after the callout was raised.

    In these sort of scenarios where the people we are looking for have a smartphone and are in an area of mobile coverage, we can use a tool called 'SARloc' that sends an SMS text message to their mobile phone with a link. Clicking the link will send us a text message back which includes the Ordnance Survey grid reference of where they are. In this case, our search team had found them so quickly that before our control vehicle had been set up and the text message could be sent, our members were already walking them back to the car park.

    A good result that just highlights the importance of carrying a torch with you on the hill 'just in case'.



    CALLOUT 03 / 2018 - 02:55  23rd JANUARY 2018

    Shortly before 03:00 this morning, the team was called out to search for a missing lone female walker on the south of Dartmoor. 

    The walker had been out the day before and was believed to have been geocaching. She raised the alarm by calling the Police from her mobile around midnight, indicating she was lost wet and cold,  who then asked us to respond. 

    Dartmoor Search and Rescue landrover drops off a search team at Avon Dam reservoir at night in search for lone walker

    Unfortunately, our conversation with the woman in her 20's was cut short as her mobile phone battery went dead. From the brief phone call we established that she was likely to be at 'Heap of SInners' on Huntingdon Warren.

    Two field teams were deployed from Shipley Bridge in driving rain and squally winds tasked with searching the Huntingdon Warren area north of the Avon Dam Reservoir. Around 05:20 she was located at the Heap of Sinners, scared, wet through, mildly hypothermic and very relieved to see us. She was placed in our storm shelter, given some dry warm clothing and hot drink before she was walked off the moor to Ludgate.

    Dartmoor Rescue Ashburton searchers and their search torches looking for lone hyperthermic walker at Huntingdon Warren

    We are quite confident that the young lady from Hertfordshire has learnt a valuable lesson from her ordeal. She had no map or compass, no spare clothing, was dressed in jeans which were totally inadequate for both the terrain and weather conditions and certainly contributed to her situation and mild hypothermia. When walking on Dartmoor, you need to be properly protected against the weather conditions, not rely on electronic devices to find your way and have some spare clothing should things go wrong. She was very lucky we found her when we did as her condition was deteriorating in the poor weather.

    Having handed over the young lady to the Police to return her to her car, our volunteers were stood down around 07:00 am and headed home to prepare for a day at work.

    Our duty Search Manager Dave Underhill, talked to BBC Radio Devon about the incident and being properly equipped for activities on Dartmoor.




    CALLOUT 02 / 2018 - 18:20  8th JANUARY 2018

    Our team of volunteers were called out at 18:20 on the 8th January to search areas around Buckfastleigh, including the deployment of our water team specialists to search the River Dart to the south of Buckfastleigh. Teams were deployed along various stretches of the River Dart starting from the Salmon Leap weir near the Dart Bridge pub south towards Totnes, and in the Staverton area.

    All team personnel were stood down around 23:00 after completing our search taskings with no further sight of the missing 49 year old male. The intention being that we would hand over to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue personnel for a daytime search on the Tuesday.

    Dartmoor search and rescue water team specialists after being deployed on the River Dart near Buckfastleigh

    UPDATE Tuesday 9th January: A man who went missing from the Ashburton area has been found after presenting himself to Torbay Hospital earlier today and is now being supported by Police officers and medical professionals.

    A team spokesman said: 'We hope the man receives the care he needs and makes a speedy recovery.'

    CALLOUT 01 / 2018 - 08:00  6th JANUARY 2018

    We've been part of one of the biggest searches conducted in recent years all day today looking for a missing male from Ivybridge.

    The largest Devon and Cornwall Police search for a missing person in recent years conducted on Dartmoor to the north of Ivybridge. Our volunteers at our control vehicle ready for deployment.

    Multiple agencies were involved including:

    - Our own team volunteers,
    - Devon & Cornwall Police, 
    - Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) dogs, 
    - Devon and Cornwall Police dogs
    - Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service dogs
    - Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team - Plymouth, 
    - Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, 
    - National Police Air Service helicopter from Exeter, 
    - Devon and Cornwall 4x4 
    - and more than 100 members of the public.

    We arrived on site at 08:00 this morning. Slightly later than planned as our team vehicles assisted with advanced warning using our blue-lights, and clearing of an accident on the A38 at Rattery caused by a member of the public's vehicle spinning in the icy conditions - we hope she's OK.

    Teams searched areas to the north of Ivybridge including Erme Woods and the moor up to the north of Harford Moorgate and Burford Down focusing on wooded areas up until stand down around 4pm this afternoon.

    Unfortunately, the man we were searching for remains missing despite a number of unconfirmed sighting of him during the day.

    UPDATE - Monday 8th January: Following the search on Saturday 6th January, the missing person turned up at a family member's house in East Devon today.




    Tuesday, 02 January 2018 13:03

    New Year Honours recognition

    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.
    Friday, 01 December 2017 12:08

    Bovey golfers raise funds for local charity

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

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

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

    Thank you!

    Thursday, 21 December 2017 12:23

    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.

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

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

    Team members deployed to East Devon in search for teenager.

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

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

    Thursday, 07 December 2017 18:08

    Kayaker trapped by partially submerged tree

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

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

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

    Map of incident location to recover kayaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




    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.
    Monday, 13 November 2017 12:58

    Near misses!

    • STANDBY - 13 Nov – Exeter - Near Miss – The team were called by D&C Police approx. 06:15 this morning to assist in the search for a vulnerable female missing in the Exeter area.  The search managers concluded that there was insufficient information to necessitate deployment for DSRTA members, and so elected to wait for further (mobile phone) intel from the Police in order to narrow the possible search areas.  At approx 10:30 the misper was located on an industrial estate near to where she had been found the previous day having gone missing.
    • STANDBY - 26 Oct – Babbacombe – Near Miss: approx. 07:20 D&C contacted the SM’s regarding a high-risk vulnerable missing person in the Torquay area.  The MCA was in attendance to cover coastal areas identified through a mobile phone ping test, which our Duty Search Manager deferred to in the absence of defined inland areas for our volunteers to search. A short while after, the misper was located safe and well by Devon and Cornwall Police.
    • STANDBY - 25 Oct – Sidmouth – Near Miss: just after 19:00 last Wed Devon & Cornwall Police contacted our team Search Managers regarding a potential high-risk missing person in the Sidmouth area.  The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was on-scene and searching coastal areas and so our duty Search Manager postponed our involvement until these areas were exhausted or further intelligence suggested areas we would add value to searching.  Shortly after initial notification, the misper was located at a member of the family’s residence in Dorset.
    Wednesday, 01 November 2017 12:50

    Search for teenager in Lustleigh

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

    DSRT Ashburton incident control vehicle at Lustleigh during teenager search

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

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

    Sunday, 15 October 2017 21:27

    Trio trackle River Dart in an inflatable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




    Wednesday, 04 October 2017 17:21

    2nd callout to Totnes in 5 days

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

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

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

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

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

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

    15 team volunteers were able to respond to the callout.

    Saturday, 30 September 2017 20:14

    Search for missing Totnes male

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

    The team was asked by Devon and Cornwall Police to continue a search for a high risk male who had been initially reported missing on the 16th September.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    The Police investigation continues.





    Friday, 22 September 2017 23:02

    Walker lost as darkness falls

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

    At 19:18 on Friday evening the team were called out to search for a middle aged walker who had become lost on the south moor.

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


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

    Location of the casualty when picked up by our Landrovers.


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



    Sunday, 10 September 2017 15:32

    Magnificent donation from Ullacombe Farm

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

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

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

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

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

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


    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



    Friday, 25 August 2017 20:20

    Early stand down

    CALLOUT 23 / 2017

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

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

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

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

    Team members returning from callout for missing walkers on Dartmoor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CALLOUT 21/2017 02:10 9th August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

    Rescue 187 helicopter. Picture courtesy of Exmouth Coastguard

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


    Wednesday, 16 May 2012 13:38

    Ten Tors 2012

    Newly qualified member Alan writes about the 2012 edition of the annual Ten Tors Expedition held on Dartmoor, 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 10 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.   P1010751Once 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 over night 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. P1010738 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 Photo slideshow of the 2012 event.    


    Sunday, 15 July 2012 13:33

    Queen's Jubillee Medal Presentation

    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.   

    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 windo openned 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

    Grand opening of Rescue Centre

    Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton emergency vehiclesOn Saturday September 24th, the Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team Ashburton Section, 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 equpiment, space to dry wet kit as well as meeting rooms to run training lectures.

      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 fly past to add further excitement to the day and make sure the day would be remembered by the team for a long time to come. Rescue Centre Grand Opening 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 celelebration drew to a close. Devon Rescuers open new Rescue Centre to help them save lives 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. Children and adults alike enjoyed the open of the Dartmoor Rescue search and rescue base 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 generousity 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. Rescue equipment carried by Dartmoor rescue volunteers

      The team members include a wide diversity of professionals, including A&E consultants, social care workers and electronics engineers. A Slideshow from the day's festivities is included below. Links Further information on the work of the Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team, Ashburton can be found at the following online resources: You can vote for the team too at the Natwest's Community Force project.  This will help them get some much needed funding to urgently repalce rescue equipment. Donate at: Website: Facebook: Twitter: 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.

    Monday, 08 September 2014 13:00

    The Big Swim across Torbay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





    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

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

    gidleigh park diners donate a cheque to Devon rescue charity

    Alan Pewsey, Fundraising Officer for the team of volunteers said “We are very grateful to Gidleigh Park and its diners for supporting us as their monthly charity during November. We rely on the general public for around 92% of our funding, and without this wonderful support from businesses such as Gidleigh Park, we would be unable to continue to provide our service to those who need it, not just on Dartmoor but across Devon.”
    The team of 60 volunteers have been called upon 29 times so far this year by the Police to assist in search and rescues as Alan explained. “We get called by The Police not just for those who get lost or injured on the moor, but also frequently called to search for the more vulnerable members of our community such as dementia and Alzheimers sufferers in rural and urban areas, and we will be on call 24×7 through out the Christmas period to provide our service should it be needed.”
    Alan and team colleague Dave Underhill, accepted a cheque from Gidleigh Park General Manager Scott Andrews and Reception Manager Sally Ruth. Scott said “We support local good causes throughout the year and are very pleased to make this donation to the Dartmoor Search & Rescue team at Ashburton. The hotel is situated in a stunning part of the National Park which means our guests are frequently tempted to explore all that Dartmoor has to offer. Its reassuring to know that should a problem arise, the men and women of DSRT Ashburton are on hand to help.”


    Wednesday, 21 January 2015 12:48

    Scouts raise money for rescuers

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

    LIverton scouts

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

    Monday, 26 January 2015 12:45

    Slimming World save pounds for rescuers

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

    Ashburton Slimming World

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

    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.’


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

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

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

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


    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

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

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

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

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

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


    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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Plastic surgeon fine finishers

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

    s devon methodist cheque presentation to Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

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

    Newton Abbot College supporters tea presentation

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Monday, 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


    Monday, 14 September 2015 16:02

    Team strengthens bond with its supporters

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

    support us at Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    DART2ZERO The Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton Supporters Club

    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.


    Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:52

    Newton Abbot Rotarian’s help to save lives

    We extend our appreciation and thanks to the Newton Abbot Rotary for the magnificent £1,750 donation to the team following their Golf Day at Dainton in September.
    Newton Abbot Rotarians present a cheque to local Devon charity, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton
    We were lucky enough to be selected as one of the beneficiaries from the day which was followed by our Fundraising Officer attending a cheque presentation to receive the donation last week.
    We would also like to extend our appreciation to Santander in Newton Abbot who have very kindly agreed to match fund the Rotary donation meaning a total of £3,500 will be making it’s way to our bank account.
    Alan Pewsey our Fundraising Officer said  “We rely on donations to continue to provide our search and rescue service to those that need it not just on Dartmoor but across Devon and sometimes beyond. Thanks to the Newton Abbot Rotary and the golfers who took part, their donation has made a real difference and has effectively helped to save lives.”
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