MOD / Willsworthy - Ban of Letterboxes

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MOD / Willsworthy - Ban of Letterboxes

#1 Postby Dartymoor » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:57 pm

A while ago I posted here about a supposed ban on geocaches on MOD training areas on Dartmoor, and mooted it may extend to letterboxes: http://www.dartmoorletterboxing.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2745

Got an update.

Today, the GAGB (who stirred up this particular wasp's nest in the first place) have published the following letter from the MOD clarifying.

It's of interest to letterboxers too because they specifically mention them and are imposing a ban on them as well as geocaches.

Good news: They confirm they have no right to ban Geocaching on areas the MOD do not own, ie, Okehampton and Merrivale. No changes for Geocaches or letterboxes, except maybe we'll be allowed to place caches there again.

Ban news: The MOD have confirmed they are banning placement of geocaches, opencaches and letterboxes on *all* MOD-owned land and estates throughout the UK, including Willsworthy Range. This affects eight existing geocaches (which will probably be delisted soon), including one geocache/letterbox hybrid in memory of Tony Moore - a name familiar to many here and placed by his son.

Letterboxers don't have a central registration body, so perhaps aren't under the thumb as much as cachers are, but if you've a box within Willsworthy Range, expect the LBT to be carrying a gun and wearing camoflague. :(

MOD's letter; http://gagb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=5151

(I have no association with the MOD, GAGB etc. I just walk, cache and occasionally letterbox on Dartmoor - as well as live there)

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MOD ban

#2 Postby trekkernod » Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:41 pm

I have read the latest thread and there is no mention of 'letterbox' anywhere.
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#3 Postby Dartymoor » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:01 pm

Something strange going on there - because it did two days ago (and some of the comments reflect that)

Be interesting how the MOD approach boxers, if they do. Perhaps we'll see them at the Autumn meet?

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#4 Postby Mad Box Hunters » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:22 pm

Hmmm... Yes...No mention of Letterbox anywhere in the MOD thread.
I'm guessing letterboxes have only just become a security issue?
All the ones that have been hidden on the Willsworthy range for the last thirty years were fine, no security issue with them? As for it being a public health and safety issue, I'm just as likely to blow myself up on the Merrivale or Okehampton range while searching for a box..
Carry on as normal I say....

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#5 Postby Box Hunter » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:55 pm

I imagine that there are going to be a range of opinions on this one, but perhaps among letterboxers the majority will be more hostile to the MoD position than appears to be the case in the geocaching community (judging by the comments on the link). After all, we have been boxing there for decades and we are not used to being policed in the way that geocachers are by their reviewers.

So what to do? A fragmented response, with some saying we should crack on regardless and others accepting (however reluctantly) the logic of the military's need for consistency across the country, will in all probability lead to a war of words and military moves to make the placing of boxes in Willsworthy range more trouble (and expense) than it is worth. If they decide they want to clear an area of boxes, they have plenty of people they can deploy to sweep an area. More effective than the LBT.

While you would hope that the military do indeed make an approach to the letterboxing community, it might be an idea if we were ready with someone to represent our views and negotiate in a coherent manner. Otherwise, any consultation will produce a piecemeal, mixed response and every excuse the military need to say that their solution is the simplest and most logical, and therefore the best.

Worth also considering now whether there might be a need for wider, organised lobbying (DNP, local MPs, right-to-roam groups, etc), using arguments around historical precedent, the lack of any previous injuries in the area arising from letterboxers picking up military debris (assuming there have been none?), the benefits of getting kids out onto the moor, increased footfall for local businesses and an offer to further emphasise the line which I think is already in the letterboxing code of conduct (I don't have a copy of the catalogue to hand) about not picking up any military debris?
Patience helps....

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#6 Postby Gemma » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:49 am

Mad Box Hunters wrote:Hmmm... Yes...No mention of Letterbox anywhere in the MOD thread.
I'm guessing letterboxes have only just become a security issue?
All the ones that have been hidden on the Willsworthy range for the last thirty years were fine, no security issue with them? As for it being a public health and safety issue, I'm just as likely to blow myself up on the Merrivale or Okehampton range while searching for a box..
Carry on as normal I say....


Hum me thinks there is
We understand that MoD are intending to remove containers from their estate, whether geocaches, letterboxes or others. Therefore geocachers owning affected caches are requested to recover these where appropriate.
We seek them here, we seek them......

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MOD / Willsworthy - Ban of Letterboxes

#7 Postby The Wandering Artist » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:02 pm

I have not seen any documents relating to the discussion but am interested, obviously as a keen letterboxer, as to the real outcome.

I am sure someone will correct me or comment as to the following-

The Mod do not own the ranges land on Dartmoor they lease it and only under close scrutiny and agreed legislation agreed by the 'Community' of the Moor and of course the various bodies represented.
So where does the Mod get any authority to 'ban' anything on their leased land.
In the case of letterboxing - it has been on the Moor long before the present day army(I believe) Letterboxing is in the main specific to Dartmoor and enjoyed by thousands. These followers are not only local but from afar and abroad, and no doubt contribute to the local ecconomy.

Personally, I cannot see the 'Generalisation' of any bans or controls on MoD leased land Countrywide being wholy applicable to Dartmoor. The very nature of Letterboxing has become an Historical event relating only to Dartmoor!

No doubt there are bodies prepared, in some way, to voice their opinions on that other related 'thing', but not me. But collectively the argument is not a lot different!

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Re: MOD / Willsworthy - Ban of Letterboxes

#8 Postby Gemma » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:22 pm

The Wandering Artist wrote:I have not seen any documents relating to the discussion but am interested, obviously as a keen letterboxer, as to the real outcome.

I am sure someone will correct me or comment as to the following-

The Mod do not own the ranges land on Dartmoor they lease it and only under close scrutiny and agreed legislation agreed by the 'Community' of the Moor and of course the various bodies represented.
So where does the Mod get any authority to 'ban' anything on their leased land.
In the case of letterboxing - it has been on the Moor long before the present day army(I believe) Letterboxing is in the main specific to Dartmoor and enjoyed by thousands. These followers are not only local but from afar and abroad, and no doubt contribute to the local ecconomy.

Personally, I cannot see the 'Generalisation' of any bans or controls on MoD leased land Countrywide being wholy applicable to Dartmoor. The very nature of Letterboxing has become an Historical event relating only to Dartmoor!

No doubt there are bodies prepared, in some way, to voice their opinions on that other related 'thing', but not me. But collectively the argument is not a lot different!



You are correct.
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#9 Postby Kenton Kestrel » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:24 pm

The letter from the MoD to the Geocaching Association of Great Britain deals only with geocaches and does not mention letterboxes.

It is only GAGB members who have mentioned letterboxes and for some reason have tried to suggest that if their caches are banned from MoD land then so are letterboxes.

When looking at the letter to the GAGB it is interesting to note that the MoD made the following observation:

' it is unfortunate that the views expressed by some on GAGB (and other) online forums in relation to geo-caching on the MOD estate did little to build confidence that members would act in a responsible manner in the gaining of permission and/or placing of geo-caches'.

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#10 Postby Gemma » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:40 am

Kenton Kestrel wrote:The letter from the MoD to the Geocaching Association of Great Britain deals only with geocaches and does not mention letterboxes.

It is only GAGB members who have mentioned letterboxes and for some reason have tried to suggest that if their caches are banned from MoD land then so are letterboxes.

When looking at the letter to the GAGB it is interesting to note that the MoD made the following observation:

' it is unfortunate that the views expressed by some on GAGB (and other) online forums in relation to geo-caching on the MOD estate did little to build confidence that members would act in a responsible manner in the gaining of permission and/or placing of geo-caches'.


Not the membership, but the memeber that was at the meeting, at the end of the day it would appear that Dartmoor is NOT part of the ban.
We seek them here, we seek them......

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#11 Postby Nik - KOTM » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:51 am

Here's a possible thought for you...
The letterboxing fraternity know when the red flags are flying it means no access to anything. We (I) even publish the firing dates on a page in the notices and links page reminding where and when not to go, I don't believe the Geocaching fraternity does this, though I maybe wrong.
The other thing about letterboxing, just maybe, might have a "legal right" to do their hobby as they have been doing it for more than ten years, while Geocaching hasn't.
Also in favour of the letterboxers, they have always voluntarily abided by the requests of the DNP, with clearing boxes in Newtakes and the like.
Meanwhile.... watch this space! I'll try to find out some more information.
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#12 Postby Nik - KOTM » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:13 pm

It is now the 5th of September... and as yet... no news
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#13 Postby Brinnie » Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:21 pm

I say just carry on as usual until there is an official announcement regarding letterboxes, all we have at the moment is hear say from third parties.

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MOD / Willsworthy - Ban of Letterboxes

#14 Postby The Wandering Artist » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:21 pm

With a bit of luck the 'sabre rattling' group will wave it around enough that they end up cutting their own throats!

As for Geo`s - is not the rest of the world enough space for you to carry out your 'thingy', that us ORIGINALS - i.e. letterboxers - can enjoy what has been going on for 'rather a lot longer' , on Dartmoor.

Before the get 'hep up', this is not a post intended to upset the Geo`s - I merely express my right to an opinion. (There seems little chance these days of doing just that!)

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#15 Postby Nik - KOTM » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:38 pm

if there was a like button....
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