A Close Encounter

“A very close encounter with this healthy fox which is a resident where I go and take stag photos. I was held up a few metres from a pheasant so not to disturb it (they make a racket) and this fox came out of nowhere to catch it. It missed it by 1 metre but saw me and just stared at me. It walked off and didn’t much care I was stood there.”

Richard Cliff

It’s beginning to look a lot like….

Christmas on Exmoor….

Dunster by Candlelight will take place again on 6 and 7 December 2020.

This year, the shuttle bus will leave from Butlins, and parking at Warren car park in Minehead will be free on both Friday and Saturday.

There will also be buses running from Porlock, Williton, Watchet, Washford, Carhampton, Wheddon Cross, and Timberscombe. More information is available on the Dunster by Candlelight website.

FRIDAY 6TH – 5PM TO 9PM
SATURDAY 7TH – 4PM TO 9PM
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Late Night Shopping in Porlock – Saturday, 30 November 2020, from 5pm

(Photo by Myrtle Cottage)

Light Up Lynton – Sunday, 1 December

Ilfracombe Christmas Festival, 30 November & 1 December 2020

 

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Dulverton by Starlight – Sunday, 1 December 2020

Dulverton by Starlight is a magical event held every year, open to all. Every December the pretty Exmoor town of Dulverton is decorated with Christmas trees festooned with lights, and for one Sunday all of the shops are open for people to do some local Christmas shopping.  Festivities take place all afternoon and into the evening. Dulverton has a wealth of independent shops, businesses, organisations, restaurants, takeaways, pubs, cafes and tea rooms all of whom help to make this a special place to visit not just for Starlight but all year round.

 

Beavers to return to Exmoor

The National Trust has announced that Exmoor’s Holnicote Estate has been chosen as one of two areas in the UK where beavers will be introduced to help rivers help manage climate change.

“We’re releasing beavers at Holnicote in Somerset and Valewood on the edge of the South Downs to improve flood management and support wildlife on our rivers. The beavers will help make areas of the river more resilient to climate change and the extremes of weather it will bring. The dams they create will hold water in dry periods, help to lessen flash-flooding downstream, reduce erosion and improve water quality.”

River Aller, Exmoor in Somerset

Reconnecting our rivers and streams to the surrounding landscape guards against severe weather and attracts a greater variety of plants and animals. In what is the first project of its kind in the UK, we’re trialling groundbreaking work to protect our rivers from climate change and flooding and protect wildlife. We’ve partnered with the Environment Agency and European programme Interreg 2 Seas Co-Adapt to restore a tributary of the river Aller, which passes through the Holnicote Estate.

The waterways that flow through these confined sites in Porlock Vale respond rapidly to rainfall, and pose a flood risk to settlements downstream. We’re working to slow the flow of these streams by reconnecting them with the floodplain – allowing the wider landscape to absorb the effects of the weather. This will also improve conditions for wildlife that lives in the streams such as eels and brook lampreys, as well as otters and the resident bat population that forages and breeds nearby.

According to an article in The TelegraphBen Eardley, project manager for the National Trust at Holnicote, said: “Our aim is that the beavers become an important part of the ecology at Holnicote, developing natural processes and contributing to the health and richness of wildlife in the area.

“Their presence in our river catchments is a sustainable way to help make our landscape more resilient to climate change and the extremes of weather it will bring.”

Two families of beavers will be released into two wooded enclosures in Porlock Vale which will be fenced so the impact of the animals on the local ecology and the river can be assessed and understood with the support of Exeter University and other organisations.

The Guardian quotes Eardley: “The beavers will help us achieve a more natural flow pattern, slowing, cleaning and storing water and developing complex river habitats. The dams the beavers create will hold water in dry periods, help to lessen flash flooding downstream and reduce erosion and improve water quality by holding silt.”

The beavers will be transferred from Scotland, where they have been successfully breeding since being reintroduced in 2006. The National Trust beavers are expected to breed and when the young become mature they will need to be moved, possibly to other sites owned or run by the charity.

A footpath will run close to the pens on the Holnicote estate which will allow members of the public to catch a glimpse of the animals.

Photo of the Week

We know it’s only Tuesday, but how can this beautiful photo be possibly topped????*

This photo of Fred the cat on a fence at Lynton overlooking Lynmouth bay caught our eye on Instagram (posted by @milo_and_dougal)

*we’re happy to be convinced otherwise! If you think there is another photo deserving of the title “Photo of the Week”, just post it on our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter or Instagram. You can also email it to exmoor4all@gmail.com

 

A tribute to Johnny Kingdom on BBC4

In tribute to Johnny Kingdom, the BBC are repeating three episodes of his wildlife programme. Here is the link to Episode 1, in case you missed it. The other two episodes are shown tonight and tomorrow night on BBC4.

Johnny Kingdom, gravedigger-turned-amateur filmmaker spends a year recording the bird life in and around his home on his beloved Exmoor.
Johnny has spent three years creating a wildlife habitat on his 52-acre patch of land on the edge of Exmoor. He’s been busy nailing nest boxes on tree trunks, planting a wildflower meadow, dredging his pond, putting up remote cameras and wiring them up to a viewing station in his cabin on the land – all the time hoping against hope that not only will he attract new wildlife but also that he will be able to film it.
This year he is turning his attention to the bird life, hoping to follow some of the species he finds near his home and on his land, across the seasons. We see the transitions from the lovely autumn mists of the oak wood, through the sparkling snow-clad landscape of a north Devon winter, into spring’s woodland carpet of bluebells and finally the golden glow of early summer. The bulk of the series is from Johnny’s own camera. Don’t expect the Natural History Unit – instead expect passion, enthusiasm, humour and an exuberant love of the landscape and its wildlife.
The series begins at the end of autumn, with Johnny clearing out bird boxes and sorting out his new remote cameras in preparation for the winter. There are two birds in particular that he wants to film – the great spotted woodpecker and the wren. But the harsh winter looks as if it could spell trouble for the wrens and it will be spring before Johnny knows how well they have fared.
He has better luck with the woodpecker and eventually finds their roost. Meanwhile, at home, he struggles to get shots of a mistle thrush as his wife Julie and his neighbours disturb this shy bird as it feasts on a rowan tree.

Here is the link to Episode 1 which was shown yesterday on BBC4  in case you missed it. The next two episodes can be watched tonight and tomorrow.

(Photo of Johnny Kingdom taken from his Facebook page)