Dartmoor was designated a National Park by statute in 1951. It is 368 square miles (954 sq km) in area, has about 33,400 people living in it, and millions of people visit it each year. The Dartmoor National Park Authority was created in 1974.
The statutory purposes of National Parks as stated in the Environment Act, 1995 are:
- to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Parks.
- to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Parks by the public.
The National Park Authorities also have a duty to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Parks.