By Neil Osmond from Experience Exmoor
(first published on the Experience Exmoor website on 26 March 2014)
As we leave the wild and wet winter behind, I would like to share some recent events and news with you.
November was actually pretty nice and for the first time we had many safaris in what is normally a quieter month. The red deer were still active with the action of the rut and huge flocks of starlings were evident high up on the moor. One day, when I was out with a young couple on holiday, I managed to capture some fantastic wildlife video images which my wife Christel put into a short film.
I also hooked up with my friend Ken Blakey, award-winning filmmaker and owner of Lee House in Lynton. We went out and about one clear day and Ken produced another wonderful video to capture the essence of our Exmoor safaris.
ADAPTING TO THE WEATHER
The winter proved violent and dangerous, with a huge impact on people’s daily lives, but while out on Exmoor I sort of enjoyed nature’s power and how, regardless of what is thrown at the wildlife, they just carry on.
Right now some early spring Exmoor Pony foals are appearing and their coats have already adapted to the fresh winds high up on the moor!
The Discovery 4 is just an outstanding vehicle and this winter we were backing the Land Rover catch phrase #Hibernot. Social media helped us here when one of my photos of a Highland cow got re-tweeted by the Land Rover PR team to over 79,000 followers!
The 4×4 we use provides height, great comfort and superb visibility for all on board. It wasn’t me who won the big £108 Euromillions Lottery, but if I had done I would just get an extra Discovery!
The gorse bushes are in full yellow bloom, lambs and foals are entering our world and the clocks are about to change, giving us longer days and extra opportunities to discover more and enjoy this special area. So… out with #hibernot, bring on a glorious spring!
Early in the year we got contacted by one of the best local professional surfers, Lyndon Wake. As of this year we are planning an exciting partnership to provide sea, surf and land experiences in North Devon and Exmoor. We will also be working with the fantastic Sea Safari team in Ilfracombe to provide a combination of land and sea discovery adventures!
Last year I took out two delightful ladies from the USA who had come over to the UK on the Queen Mary and were staying at The Old Rectory Hotel in Martinhoe. We got along really well and kept in touch through social media. They said before they left that if they won the lottery they would come back to Exmoor and buy me!! Well, a few months ago, believe it or not, they actually won and guess what? They are coming back to Exmoor in August and have booked up 2 safari days with me. We will also try to see the Dark Sky of Exmoor and dance with the stars. I cannot wait to see them again.
NEW AND OPEN FOR BUSINESS
The new National Park Pavilion in Lynmouth will no doubt attract many visitors. The centre is a great point of information , offering interactive displays and even a theatre room. Visitors to the centre are also able to book their Exmoor safari with us with one of the helpful staff members at the Pavilion. The Coach House at Kentisbury Grange has a brand new kitchen in full view of the restaurant and we are looking forward to working closely with the team there. The new Moorish Farm Shop and Café has just opened on the western edge of Exmoor and is already proving a hit with locals thanks to excellent produce and service.
It’s so exciting to keep learning every day. Did you know, for instance, that the guillemot sea bird doesn’t actually build a nest for its eggs? It uses Exmoor’s cliff ledges to roll the eggs onto. The angle of the ledge as well the pear-shape of the egg holds them there. How amazing is that?
I wish you all a truly glorious spring and hope to take you out on a journey across Exmoor sometime!