Unprecedented numbers of visitors have made their way to Dartmoor National Park over the last month, with every day like a "summer bank holiday on steroids".

The majority of the visitors have come, enjoyed themselves and respected Dartmoor, Dr Kevin Bishop, chief executive of the National Park, told Friday’s Authority meeting, but he added that sadly there is a minority that have not.

South West Farmer:

Dr Kevin Bishop, Dartmoor National Park Chief Executive. Picture: Dartmoor National Park

“How we seek to tackle the anti-social behaviour of this minority is one of key challenges going forward,” he added, saying: “The verbal abuse of our staff is unacceptable as is the damage to sensitive habitats and the impact on local communities.”

Read more: Dartmoor has reopened but guidance urges consideration for farmers

Dr Bishop was providing the meeting with an update on how Dartmoor National Park has responded to the coronavirus crisis and the impacts, challenges and the opportunities it can bring them in the future.

South West Farmer:

View From Haytor on Dartmoor last weekend. Picture: Daniel Clark

He said that while the pandemic is having a financial impact on the work of the Authority, at this current time they believe that they can manage through this crisis without the need for additional support during this year, adding: “We have always been prudent in our budget setting in terms of forecasts of external income generation and this prudence is helping us to manage the current situation.

“This is obviously dependent on how the pandemic develops, but our key concern is the longer term implications for our core funding."

Initially visitors were strongly encouraged not to travel to Dartmoor as part of the lockdown restrictions, but following the Government announcement to allow unlimited outdoor exercise and driving to do this from May 13, Dr Bishop said: “Since then we have seen unprecedented levels of visitors to the National Park. It has seemed as if every day has been a ‘summer bank holiday on steroids’.

“During lock-down the benefits of less motorised traffic were enjoyed across the UK, but with returning visitors we have been quickly reminded of the negative impact of numbers of cars on Dartmoor.”

Dr Bishop added: “The Coronavirus pandemic has provided significant challenges for the way the Authority operates and for Dartmoor communities. We were, and are, determined to do our best to ensure we maintain service provision and help ‘look after’ Dartmoor: its people, heritage, wildlife and landscapes."