Discover Exmoor with Jack

“Some epic downpours today on Exmoor. Jack is going to start gentle walks again over the next few days to see how he progresses. These pictures were from this morning on a drive across Molland and Anstey Commons. Beautiful colours of Autumn starting to show and dramatic skies.”

Sarah Hailstone, 09 October 2019

You can follow Sarah’s and Jack’s adventures on Exmoor on their Facebook page.

Macbeth in the Valley of Rocks


Exmoor theatre company, Pleasure Dome, are set to be the first to stage an open air theatre production at the Valley of the Rocks near Lynton. In order to fund the production, Pleasure Dome have launched a crowdfunding campaign and so are calling upon the support of the local community.

This summer, Pleasure Dome Theatre Company, will bring open-air entertainment to both the community and holiday makers alike, by staging a production of Macbeth to mark the year of Shakespeare’s 400th birthday. This production will be the start of a seasonal programme of outdoor entertainment consisting of classical theatre, opera and modern productions situated in the stunning surroundings of the Valley of the Rocks.

“We are an artistic collective who aim to utilise the dramatic and beautiful scenery of The Valley of The Rocks near Lynton, making Exmoor a cultural destination as well as a tourist hub. We provide outreach programmes and will offer local opportunities to work within a professional company to aspiring youngsters and enthusiastic older members of the locale alike.”

“I decided to found Pleasure Dome in 2015 after a lifetime of thinking someone should do some theatre at The Valley of the Rocks. I spent my early summers scrambling up and down it’s weaving pathways and peering out to sea. I always thought it was an otherworldly and magical location, somewhere not quite of this planet, a place where the sea meets the sky, a place where imagination meets reality, and I can think of nowhere more fitting to perform in. ”
Helena Payne

To buy tickets to Macbeth, or to become a patron of the company, visit

To find out more about the production and the cast, please go to

Macbeth will run from the 2nd-20th of August at 7:30 (with no show on Mondays) and 3:00 Sunday matinees. 

‘Bogtastic’! – Tuesday 26 July 2016


A free, fun family adventure day for all ages around Simonsbath and Blackpitts, Exmoor National Park

 “I held my first glow worm”; “Amazing fun, very informative”; “fantastic free event”; “lots of muddy but happy people”
Bogtastic visitors

This  ‘drop in’ event will feature the Bogstacle course, stream dipping, live bats, the opportunity to visit one of the South West’s last remaining operational water powered sawmills, and lots more all-weather and undercover activities. There is something for everyone! Entrance is free, although some activities may request a small charge. There are toilet facilities and food available on site – parking at Simonsbath, follow the Bogtastic signs.

Held during UK National Park’s Week and in the month of International Bog Day, Bogtastic is the South West’s biggest and best bog festival celebrating the special qualities of Exmoor’s bogs, heritage and wildlife. Over 400 people attended last year!

The UK has 20% of the World’s blanket bog and Exmoor is fortunate to have some of this rare and fascinating habitat.  This unique and internationally important landscape is often considered to be the UK’s equivalent of Brazil’s exotic rainforest. Not only is it home to numerous endangered species and a carnivorous plant, the sundew; it naturally stores carbon dioxide and water.

Exmoor National Park ‘has some of the finest and unique examples of bogs in the UK. Bogtastic is a festival of fun and learning – a great opportunity to learn more about this special landscape and Exmoor’s amazing wildlife and heritage’ Morag Angus (Exmoor Mires Partnership).

Bogtastic coordinator Lucy McQuillan says: ‘Bogtastic is great fun for all ages so do come and join in the fun, please wear outdoor clothing, wellies and bring spare clothes.”

For further information on Bogtastic please contact: Lynmouth National Park Centre on 01598 752509. If you’d like volunteer at this event please contact Patrick Watts-Mabbot on 07973 727469|
or visit
or the Facebook page  #Bogtastic16.

Bogtastic 2016

Following on from last year’s successful event which was attended by more than 400 people, Bogtastic 2016 takes place on Tuesday 26th July from 10am to 4pm in and around Simonsbath

Bogtastic A4This free family event is a fun adventure day celebrating Exmoor’s wildlife, moorland and heritage with many activities and displays.  In Simonsbath, the River Barle flows past the historic water-powered sawmill, under the old stone bridge and by a meadow, along a beautiful moorland valley. Here you can play games and go stream dipping to find out about the river’s wildlife – fish, otters, birds, bats and creatures you’ve never seen – it’s a great place for a picnic too. Take a minibus up the hill to where the sky larks sing at Blackpitts and explore the bogs full of multi-coloured mosses.

Held during UK National Park’s Week, Bogtastic is the South West’s biggest and best bog festival. This  ‘drop in’ event will feature the Bogstacle course, live bats, the opportunity to visit one of the South West’s last remaining operational water powered sawmills, and lots more all-weather and undercover activities. There is something for everyone! It is free entry, with toilets and food on site and locally. Bring your wellington boots and dress for any weather – there is shelter in case it tries to rain.

See you at the welcome tent! 

Entrance is free, although some activities may request a small charge. For further information on Bogtastic please contact: Lynmouth National Park Centre on 01598 752509 or visit or the facebook page.

Dates for the diary: Guided walks with the Exmoor Society



Friday 6th May 2016 10:30am-3:30pm
Doone Country
Visit the area and sites associated with Lorna Doone on the circular walk of 8 mls. Walking alongside Badgworthy Water, beyond the site of the medieval village to Tom’s Hill Barrow and

South Common, we reach Oare Church before returning via Oare Water. Boggy in places. Please bring a picnic. Dogs under control welcome.

Meet: Malmsmead car park GR 792478 (Ref. JR)

Wednesday 11th May 2016 11:00am-1:00pm
Mining and Mystery at Wheal Eliza
On this short walk along the River Barle, hear the history of the Knights, mining in this part of Exmoor and the tragic mystery of Wheal Eliza. One or two short climbs but overall an easy walk along the valley. Return to Simonsbath for optional pub lunch or bring a picnic.
Meet: Ashcombe car park, Simonsbath. Grid Ref. 775394 (Ref. RT)

Saturday 28th May 2016 2:00pm-4:30pm
Coast and Common from Barna Barrow – A Walk with Glorious Views
Enjoy glorious views of Devon’s most northerly point, remote coastal scenery and haunts of bygone smugglers on this 2.5 hr / 3.5 mile walk. 100 m ascent on lighthouse road to finish. Please wear suitable weatherproof clothing and footwear. Meet Barna Barrow car park. Grid Ref. 7528 4962 (Ref. TP)

Friday 10th June 2016 10:30am-4:30pm
History and Mystery on the High Moor
On this circular 8-ml walk on the edge of the bleak, remote area of the Chains, you will visit sinister Pinkery Pond, the ancient

Longstone and mysterious Moles Chamber, as well as seeing many other historic landmarks. Spectacular views. Hilly, rough and possibly boggy underfoot. Please bring a picnic and wear weatherproof everything. Dogs on leads welcome.

Meet: 2nd layby from Simonsbath on B3358 near Goat Hill Bridge TA24 7LL (Ref. JG)

Friday 17th June 2016 10:30am-2:30pm
Watersmeet and the East Lyn River
A 5 mile walk through woods to Watersmeet, then along the beautiful East Lyn River to Rockford with a lunch stop at the Rockford Inn (or bring a picnic) and returning on the opposite side of the river. Dogs under control welcome. Meet: Hillsford Bridge NT car park GR 742 477. (Ref. JR)

Saturday 25th June 2016 10:30am-2:30pm
Avill Valley Vistas

A steady climb from the Avill Valley to the Grabbist Hill ridgetop is rewarded with stunning views of Dunkery and North Hill and across the Bristol Channel to South Wales. Following the ancient track, the views continue before making our way down to Wootton Courtney and following level tracks back to

Timberscombe. 4 hrs/8 mls.
Meet: Outside The Lion Inn, Timberscombe GR 962422 TA24 7TP (Ref. AM)

Friday 1st July 2016 2:00pm-4:15pm
Kilve and East Quantoxhead Walkabout
Join this easy 21⁄4 mile /21⁄4 hour stroll to discover some of the historical highlights of this fascinating area. Please wear weatherproof boots and clothing.

Optional cream tea to conclude the afternoon. Meet: Car park, Kilve Beach Grid Ref. SS 155442 TA5 1EG (Ref. RC)

Tuesday 5th July 2016 10:00am-12:30pm
Lynton and Valley of Rocks – An historic tour
This is a fascinating 2.5-hour walk to see a different view of Lynton, to learn how it has been shaped over the years and how the Victorians were drawn to the splendour of the Valley of Rocks. 2.5 mls/2.5 hours.
Meet: Valley of Rocks ENPA car park & picnic area (car park near public toilets). Grid Ref. 7113 4968 (Ref. TP)

9th July 2016 10:30am-3:00pm
Withypool and Tarr Steps
We start this walk by following a lovely stretch of the River Barle along the waymarked path from Withypool to Tarr Steps. We will then cross the ancient monument of Tarr Steps clapper bridge and climb slowly above the valley to the open moorland of Withypool Hill, passing two prehistoric sites before descending back to Withypool. Refreshments and toilets at Withypool and Tarr Steps. 9.5 miles. Meet: Withypool car park. Grid Ref 842353 TA24 7QP (Ref. AM)

Friday 15th July 2016 10:00am-12:30pm
Dunster Walkabout
An easy 2.5 hour / 2.5 mile walkabout to see and hear about some of the fascinating things in Dunster that the normal tourist misses. Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.
Meet: Visitor Information Centre, Dunster Steep, Dunster TA24 6SE (Ref. RC)

Friday 22nd July 2016 10:30am-3:30pm
Selworthy and North Hill
Enjoy stunning views on this circular walk of appx. 7 miles from Selworthy up to North Hill, Selworthy Beacon, Hurlstone Point and Bossington Hill. Some steep climbs and descents. An alternative route may be taken in inclement weather. Please bring a picnic. Dogs under control welcome. Meet: Selworthy Church overflow car park, Selworthy, Nr Minehead
(Ref. JR)

Thursday 18th August 2016 10:30am-3:00pm
The Woods of Simonsbath and the Historic Sawmill
A mile walk taking in Ashcombe Wood, Birchcleave Wood and Simonsbath Sawmill. Hear about the history and management of these plantations created by the Knights around Simonsbath in the 19th century. Slightly uneven ground with some short steep sections. Please bring a picnic and if the weather is bad we can lunch in the sawmill. Never more than appx half a mile from the car park, which has toilet facilities. Families welcome and dogs under close control.
Meet: Ashcombe car park, Simonsbath. Grid ref. SS 773 394 Postcode TA24 7SH (Ref. GMcV)

Friday 26th August 2016 10:30am-4.00pm
Far West Exmoor
A 9.5 ml challenging circular walk along the South-West Coast Path (narrow and sheer drop in places) from Hunter’s Inn to Holdstone Down returning via Trentishoe Down and Ladies Mile. Fairly rough walking with some steep climbs and descents. Please bring a picnic. Dogs under control welcome.
Meet: NT car park, Hunter’s Inn, Heddon’s Mouth GR 655 482. (Ref. JR)

Thursday 8th September 2016 10:30am-4:30pm
In Coleridge’s Footsteps to Culbone

A 6-mile circular walk along the most recent section of the Coleridge Way to Culbone Hill and down to England’s smallest church at Culbone. Steep hills and probably muddy underfoot, you will be rewarded with spectacular views. Please bring a picnic and wear weatherproof clothing. Dogs on leads welcome.
Meet: Porlock Weir car park, Porlock (parking fee), TA24 8PD

(Ref. JG)

Tuesday 13th September 2016 10:30am-2:00pm
Lady Harriet Acland’s Drive, Haddon Hill
A walk from Haddon Hill, down to Bury, back along Lady Harriet’s Drive beside the River Haddeo to Wimbleball Dam. Then along near the lake and back to the car park. Appx 6 miles. One steep climb. Please bring a picnic.
Meet: Haddon Hill car park, off B3190 GR SS970288
(Re. P & J M)

Hope Bourne and her Beloved Exmoor
Saturday 24th September 2016 10:30am-1:00pm
A walk around the Withypool area in the footsteps of Hope Bourne, taking in her favourite views from her writings . A moderate walk of appx 3 miles,

some parts rough underfoot and steep in places. Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear. Followed by optional lunch in Withypool or bring a picnic.
Meet: Withypool car park, Withypool TA24 7QP (Ref. RT)

Tuesday 27th September 2016 10:00am-12:30pm
Lynton and Valley of Rocks – An historic tour
This is a fascinating 2.5-hour walk to see a different view of Lynton, to learn how it has been shaped over the years and how the Victorians were drawn to the splendour of the Valley of Rocks. 2.5 mls/2.5 hours.
Meet: Valley of Rocks ENPA car park & picnic area (car park near public toilets). Grid Ref. 7113 4968 (Ref. TP)

Tuesday 4th October 2016 2:00pm-4:30pm
Discovering Dunster’s Hidden History
This is a fascinating and easy-going walk around Dunster village

looking at its historic buildings and secret places. About 1.5 miles. Followed by optional tea in the village.
Meet: Dunster Visitor Information Centre, Dunster Steep, Dunster TA24 6SE (Ref. JG)

Wednesday 19th October 2016 10:30am-4:00pm
Anstey Commons and Hawkridge
Join a member of The Exmoor Society in this relatively less known

corner of the National Park. The walk includes three commons, Dane’s Brook, small sections of the Exe Valley and the two Moors Way, and visits Hawkridge. Appx 9 miles, including steep descents and wet underfoot, you will be rewarded with good views of both Exmoor and Dartmoor! Please bring a picnic and wear waterproof clothing and stout footwear. Well behaved dogs welcome.

Meet: Anstey Gate, SW of Hawkridge Grid Ref. 835299 (Ref. MC)

Saturday 22nd October 2016 10:00am-1.00pm
Autumnal Woodland Walk around Dulverton
A guided walk of appx 5 miles around Dulverton to see the splendour of the local woods in autumn. Aim to be back in Dulverton for lunch time. May be muddy under foot and there will be some climbs. Route can be shortened if weather inclement. Well behaved dogs welcome.
Meet: Exmoor Society, 34 High Street, Dulverton TA22 9DJ (Ref. HB)

Friday 28th October 2016 10:30am-4:30pm
Deer on Dunkery
Join this 6ml circular walk on Dunkery’s slopes, in the hope of seeing and hearing Red Deer during the rut. Hilly and rough underfoot. Please bring binoculars and a picnic. Wear weatherproof everything. Dogs on leads welcome.
Meet: Webbers Post. (Ref. JG)

The Society advises that participants take part in activities at their own risk. For all outdoor activities please wear weatherproof clothing and walking boots. Members and non-members are most welcome.
There is no charge for the guided walks.
A small donation is appreciated from non-members.

For any enquiries, please contact The Exmoor Society

01398 323335

Eat Dirt on Exmoor

Exciting Bank Holiday Thrills

3rd May 2016

A group of Mountain Bike enthusiasts from across the South West and beyond took to the Exmoor hills yesterday for a new May Day bank holiday ride,  “Eat Dirt on Exmoor”, organised by Calvert Trust Exmoor.

195 cyclists took part in the ride, raising over £3,000 between them, with more sponsorship still coming in. Much of the 25 mile main route took riders through areas of Exmoor not normally open to the general public, thanks to the Hollam, New Invention and Broford Estates allowing special access for this event.

The circular route started in Dulverton following the route of the River Barle up to Tarr Steps, then up onto the moor, south east to the river Exe and then back into Dulverton for the finish line.

 Despite mixed weather the riders enjoyed the event, with many already asking when it will be repeated, like Julian from Tiverton; “I had a great time today, it was a well organised fun event. The course was really enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the next one already!”

Rob Lott, head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor said “What an amazing day we’ve had! We were absolutely delighted that so many riders came out to support us and enjoy some beautiful Exmoor countryside. Thanks to these riders, the support team, volunteers and marshals we will be able to support more people with disabilities to access cycling and other adventurous activities.”

As well as the fabulous volunteer marshals and helpers, Calvert Trust Exmoor would also like to thank and the brilliant local businesses whose support  enabled the event to happen; Mason Kings, Mole Valley Farmers, The Bike Shop (Taunton), Ivan’s Coffee, GT Bicycles, AMASS medical, and Altitude 58 Film Company.  A film of the event produced by Altitude 58 will be available in the next few days.

image018Tarr Steps from Above (image © Altitude 58 Film Company)

 Calvert Trust Exmoor hopes to announce the date for the next “Eat Dirt on Exmoor” in the next few weeks. In the meantime the Trust is running another cycling event on the 25th of June, the Calvert Coastal 100. This is a cycling sportive event, following the coastal roads of North Devon from Lynmouth round to Barnstaple with stunning views and 3 different routes for people with a wide variety of experience and fitness levels. You can find out more about the Coastal 100 from








Calling all runners: Westcountry Ultra Hilly 50 miler – Saturday 21st May 2016

Ok, so you like hills? Well here’s a race that will take you to the top of some of the highest ones Somerset has to offer. On a clear day the views from the tops will draw an audible gasp from any of you who are known to gasp audibly at incredible views. There are very runnable sections too, but you’re never too far from the next climb/descent. What’s more, this route will take you through a multitude of breathtaking scenes; some of Britain’s highest coastal cliffs, lush ancient woodland, sweeping moorland, paths alongside fast flowing rocky rivers – Exmoor has all of this, plus villages and small towns that redefine quaintness.

Starting off at West Somerset Community College in Minehead, where a glorious banquet hall (or as close as you get to one in an ultra race) awaits you upon your return you will head to the beginning of the South West Coast Path, which is symbolised with a large metal hand holding a map. From here (unless it is an extremely foggy day) you will see the enigmatic North Hill towering above the town. You’ll be heading straight to the top, where you’ll traverse along to Bossington Hill, from which the views alone will be enough to take your mind off the steepness of the descent. Then you’ll head down an enchanting woodland path to Bossington car park; if you’re lucky there may be some wild garlic still to snack on along the way.

You will make your way gradually along the coast all the way to Lynmouth, historic scene of a disastrous flood in 1952 (don’t worry, it hasn’t repeated itself since, even during the ferocious storms of 2014), which is a kind of half way point, although it’s actually a little before half way. On the way here your eyes will get a four course meal of wonderful natural surroundings – occasionally you will run through coastal forest, but will often be able to see the sea off to your right. Along this stretch are some of the most runnable sections of the route, but there is plenty of up and down. You may find yourself wanting to stop often to take photographs, as the views along here you may see on a number of postcards in local shops.

After leaving Lynmouth you will head alongside the river Lyn for a while (keep your eyes peeled for Dippers and other wildlife) before heading up into the moors, following the Coleridge Way – this is a route devised to follow in the footsteps of famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who is said to have composed his best known works during walks at different places along the route. There have been no ‘beast’ sightings in recent years, but the wild atmosphere of this place will make you realise how it captured the imagination back in the 80s. Heading across vast hills to County Gate and onwards, where you will be surrounded on all sides by Exmoor at its most captivating, you will be preparing to drop down to almost sea level before a massive climb back up through ancient woodland. Depending on when in the day you arrive here you can keep your eyes and ears open for an array of wildlife – the woods at Webber’s Post and Horner, due to the age of the trees, attract Redstarts, Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers and a host of the usual woodland birds.

At the top of the climb is Dunkery Beacon, which rises to 519 metres above sea level; hardly a mountain, but it still offers incredible panoramic views on a clear day. The cairn at the top may be a good place to pause, take in your surroundings and gear yourself up to make the most of some downhill miles. The descent back into Minehead is long, but at this point you will know you are on the home stretch and that there is a feast awaiting you at the finish. You can sit and eat, and share anecdotes with your fellow finishers as they arrive.


For further information and to sign up for the run, please go to!hilly50/c8ht