Celebrating Exmoor’s 60th Anniversary

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A special Conference called ‘Discovering Exmoor : People and Place’ to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Exmoor’s designation as a National Park is to be held in Dulverton Town Hall on Friday, 11April from 10am to 3 pm approximately and all are welcome. The Exmoor Society in partnership with Exmoor National Park Authority has teamed up with Exeter University and the Centre for Rural Policy Research to raise some of the important issues about Exmoor, to discover what has been found out about them, and to influence the debate on how to manage this complex landscape.

Sixty years ago Exmoor was designated a National Park because of its dramatic coastline, extensive tracts of moorland inter-mixed with ancient woodland and upland farmland, the whole establishing a mosaic of contrasts providing recreational opportunities for walking and riding in particular. The Hobhouse Report stated that “here is a potential national park which is happily free from problems”. This statement could not have been further from the truth.

From the beginning there was fierce opposition to the designation and robust debate over loss of moorland, afforestation proposals, changing hill farming practices, dealing with extreme weather conditions, and with little known  about the archaeology, other local businesses, and an only embryo tourist industry. These issues are very relevant today in different ways, and underline the need to discover more about Exmoor, its people and the place.

 The Society is delighted that a range of speakers from Exeter University will be dealing with these aspects, with plenty of opportunity for delegates who are concerned about the different demands we put on Exmoor, to join in the debate. Academics from Exeter University and their research will be covering the following topics:

· Dr Lee Bray – New archaeological discoveries on Exmoor

· Professor Richard Brazier – Can we create resilient landscapes? Understanding the effects

· of moorland restoration on the Exmoor Mires project

· Dr Matt Lobley – Exmoor farming in a changing policy environment

· Dr Stewart Barr – Flooding and Communities

· Discussion with panel : Dr Nigel Stone, Dr Helen Blackman, Meriel Martin & Professor Chris Binnie

· Dr Keith Howe – will conclude on the day’s presentations and debate

A place at the Spring Conference costs £15 per person including refreshments.  To book and for further details contact: info@exmoorsociety.com. Tel: 01398 323335.

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