Skip to main content


Digital Skills Blog

Supporting Dartmoor Search and Rescue

3rd April 2018

If you didn’t already know - you can probably guess from the name - that Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton (DSAR Ashburton) provide a rescue service over the rugged terrain of South Dartmoor. But you may not have known - or be able to guess - that they also provide search and rescue in the urban areas of Exeter and Torbay, and cover the entire rural and coastal area of South and East Devon. Their service reaches from Salcombe to Lyme Regis.

You may also not have known that this invaluable service is provided entirely by volunteers (100%) and is funded (almost) fully by public and private donations.

Dartmoor Search & Rescue Ashburton is a group of highly skilled and professional volunteer team members that is part of the Dartmoor Rescue Group (DRG). DRG was started in 1968 to assist the Police with the search for missing or injured walkers and climbers within the 365 square miles of the national park.

Over the past year Cosmic have helped DSAR Ashburton with a number of Digital initiatives, including SEO support, social media guidance and videography. It’s been incredibly interesting to get to know this dedicated and talented group of volunteers.

Last week I visited their Rescue Centre and HQ near Buckfast Abbey, whilst they ran through their weekly kit maintenance and continual training. The head of fundraising, Alan Pewsey, gave me an enlightening tour of their tools and resources, including the high-tech command vehicle, their fleet of Landrovers and the swift-water rescue boats. I was very impressed by their level of professionalism and commitment, and by the sophistication of their operation.

Alan and I also discussed their continual need to fundraise, with only a tiny proportion of their annual budget coming from any kind of central pot. Over 90% of their income comes from public or business donations. One of their biggest fundraising events of the year is coming up in April, the mighty Templer Way 18 mile walk. The route follows the historic trail from the heights of Haytor, to the sea at Shaldon. If you fancy the challenge (and would like to support the amazing cause) then follow the link at the bottom of the article. 

To drive the message home, DSAR Ashburton work in some of the most challenging situations, and offer a vital service in conjunction with the Police and other emergency services. Although the police have the ultimate responsibility for responding to and investigating reports of missing persons, they will often request the help of DSAR Ashburton to assist in such matters.

The incidents they are called to include missing person enquiries, such as searching for the vulnerable including, children, despondents and those with dementia. They are also qualified to Internationally recognised swift water rescue standards enabling us to assist with flooding and water incidents, as well as assisting the ambulance service with casualty evacuation in difficult to access rural areas. The team is on call 24/7.

Cosmic are proud to have supported DSAR Ashburton over the last few months, and we will continue to do so. I will be walking the 18 miles of the Templer Way to help with my part of the fundraising. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m sure it’s worth it. Find out more here:

Henry Smith, Business Development Manager

(Images courtesy of DSAR Ashburton)