The latest Covid19 guidelines from the Exmoor National Park Authority

COVID-19 Exmoor

Exmoor National Park Authority’s latest statement on Coronavirus

Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives

The Government has said that from 13th May people in England can spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, subject to social distancing rules. This includes travel to National Parks. In response some car parks and public toilets have been reopened but please be aware most other visitor facilities remain closed.

When you visit the National Park, remember it is your responsibility to follow the new guidance on staying safe outside your home

If you choose to visit us in the weeks and months ahead, we want to make you aware of the measures we have put in place for everyone’s safety. And in return we ask that you follow a few basic rules for your own wellbeing and that of the communities and wildlife that call the National Park home.

By working together we can all do our bit to keep each other safe and control the spread of Covid-19.

Car parks and public toilets:

Most Authority-run carparks and toilets have now reopened to enable visitors to park safely without blocking highways and help people follow Government advice to wash hands more often for at least 20 seconds.

Not all public facilities are owned and run by Exmoor National Park Authority and many will only re-open when everything is in place to keep visitors and staff safe. When using any of these facilities, please follow any measures put in place to support social distancing and good hygiene.

Sites run by Exmoor National Park Authority

Facilities

Ashcombe (Simonsbath)

Public toilets and car park (open)

Blackmoor Gate

Public toilets and car park (currently closed for planned works)

County Gate

Public toilets and car park (open)

Haddon Hill

Public Toilets and car park (open)

North Hill

Car park only (open)

Porlock Weir

Public toilets and car park (open) (car park operated by Porlock Manor Estate)

Robbers Bridge

Car park only (open)

Tarr Steps

Public toilets and car park (open)

Valley of Rocks

Public toilets and ENPA car park (open)

Some other providers with visitor facilities in the National Park:

South West Lakes Trust

National Trust

Forestry England

Public Rights of Way and Access Land

The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow the Government’s instructions to maintain social distancing. We have no legal powers to close rights of way but we can provide signage or waymarking and support optional alternatives where these are appropriate. Please see our Out and About Essentials page for more information.

Hospitality: In line with government measures and the current COVID alert level, all non-essential retail, food & drink outlets and accommodation providers are closed until further notice.

Accommodation and second homes: Going on holiday and visiting second homes is not yet permitted. Hotels, bed and breakfasts and other holiday accommodation will remain closed, except when providing accommodation for specific reasons, such as for critical workers needing a place to stay for work. Overnight stays in camper vans or tents are not allowed.

These are some of the things we are putting in place to help keep you safe:

  • Deep cleaning our toilets. We’ll do enhanced daily cleans from now on. We’ll also leave windows open and have extractor fans running longer to improve ventilation.
  • Social distancing measures, such as floor markings and signage.
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers in car parks and outside public toilets.
  • Extra patrols. Our rangers continue to assist the police to ensure people keep to the rules. Please be kind – they are only trying to keep you safe.
  • Changes to rights of way. Temporary one-way systems and optional path diversions to aid social distancing and avoid farms and homes. Please follow local signs.

And these are some of the things you can do for us:

  • Keep your distance. At least 2m from other people to maintain social distancing.
  • Avoid busy locations and settlements. Be prepared to change your plans if places get too crowded. Keep away from farms and homes where possible.
  • Consider when and where you go. Avoid peak times and popular locations, if possible.
  • Sanitise hands regularly. Bring your own supply if you can for use after touching shared surfaces such as gates or stiles.
  • Plan ahead. Bring enough food and drink and make sure you know where you are going. This is a rural area and many sites won’t have mobile reception.
  • Stay within your limits for your chosen activity and don’t light BBQs or leave litter that could result in an emergency call out.
  • Show respect to the local community and environment by sticking to the Countryside Code. Be aware that wildlife may have taken the opportunity to move into new locations while humans have been away.
  • Be kind. Above all we are in this together. Be considerate towards others and respect that you may not always see eye to eye.

For further information see:

Update Thursday 21st May 2020

Sarah Bryan, Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park, said: “In these troubling times, it’s understandable that people want to spend time in beautiful places. The biggest problem we are likely to face this weekend is overcrowding and it’s because we love these places so dearly that everyone must be prepared to make personal sacrifices to ensure those visits can happen responsibly, without serious consequences for those who live and work here.

“We are still learning about this virus, but we know that by staying apart we can control it. We ask everyone to follow the rules by keeping at least two metres from others and washing hands regularly. Visiting outside of peak times, avoiding popular sites and continuing to use green spaces closer to home are simple steps many of us can take to help make space for everyone.

“During these difficult times, farmers are working hard to provide food and care for the countryside, so it’s vital we keep their wellbeing in mind. Show your support by following the countryside code, keeping dogs under control and picking up any mess, which can be a health hazard to farm animals as well as people. Thoughtless behaviour such as lighting BBQs, illicit overnight stays and unnecessary risk-taking add to the pressure our local services face. With the recent warm and dry weather, we now face significant increased risk of wildfires, with local services already having dealt with one near miss this past week.

“Finally remember that we are in this together, for the long haul. It was in the wake of World War II that the UK saw its first National Parks designated – alongside our great National Health Service – their combined healing power needed to help the nation recover after the turmoil of war. While we wait for a breakthrough that will free us from this virus, it’s up to all of us to do what we can to make the world a safer and happier place.”

Birds in the Cherry Tree

“This male lesser redpoll was outside my window just after 6am this morning, on the ornamental cherry tree. His colour patches matched the leaves! I’d like to think there is a female too, and they’re breeding around here somewhere!”

Fi Keene shared this story in our “We Love Exmoor” photo group – everybody is welcome to join this group on Facebook!

While you’re stuck at home, let us bring Exmoor to you

This week we finally opened the doors to The Exmoor Club.

So many of you really miss Exmoor now, for walks along the coast, seeing Exmoor Ponies and Red Deer, smell the gorse, see the bluebells in the woods, watching the sun go down over the Valley of Rocks, and to just let the soul dance under Exmoor’s big skies.
Until you are able to join us again on Exmoor, we would like to bring Exmoor to you, with postcards, videos and chats.

The Exmoor Club is all about making friends with people who love Exmoor as much as you do and joining a friendly community of Exmoor locals, visitors and dreamers.

Learn more about the UK’s smallest national park, enjoy gifts from us, discover secrets, and hang out with like-minded people.

Exmoor Club members will enjoy

  • A postcard from Exmoor, each month, delivered to your letterbox wherever you are in the world;
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group;
  • Invitations to exclusive events, both online and (as soon as the lockdown is lifted) also across Exmoor;
  • Exclusive material which will enhance your knowledge of Exmoor;
  • Special offers and discounts for locally made products, events etc;
    and so much more….

And as we know that life is tough at the moment, we are offering you to pay as much as you can.

The Exmoor Club is brought to you by The Exmoor Events Company Ltd – we are a small business on Exmoor, specialising on foodie events (Exmoor Food Fest) and social media marketing. We have been running Exmoor4all since 2012 which is now the largest online platform & community promoting and representing Exmoor. 

We were about to launch the first Taste Exmoor Food & Drink Festival in association with the National Trust when Covid19 forced us to change and postpone basically every single plan we’ve had for 2020. That’s when we came up with the idea of The Exmoor Club.

We look forward to spending a lot of time with you, take you places, share secrets, and just make more of Exmoor together.

It looks as if we’re going to be on lockdown for a few more weeks – so let’s hang out together and have some fun. And when this whole nightmare of Covid19 is over and we’re allowed out again, we’ll meet in person in one of Exmoor’s fabulous tearooms or restaurants.

We look forward to meeting you soon!

If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

January winners of the Exmoor4all PhotoCompetition

Here are the top ten photos chosen by our followers on Facebook from all images submitted to our photo competition in January! These photos will go through to our final selection which will be presented to our panel of judges who will choose our 13 images for the 2021 Exmoor4all calendar.

Don’t forget that the March competition is open! You can upload up to three photos via our website – Good luck 🙂

It’s the final week of the Exmoor Food Fest

We hope you have all enjoyed eating your way across Exmoor in the past three weeks. But it’s not over yet!
You have one more week to try out new venues or revisit old favourites for their Exmoor Food Fest menus.
Next week there are also a number of special events which are worth checking out.  And don’t forget the Taste Exmoor Food & Drink Fair at Porlock Village Hall on 29 February and 1 March where you can take locally produced goodies home.

27 February 2020   
Best of Game
At the Anchor Inn,
Hillfarrance
Somerset and Exmoor in particular is renowned for its Game produce. You will be welcomed with a complimentary drink, followed by a stunning three-course menu, featuring some fabulous dishes using local game produce.
£30.00 per person 
Continue reading….

27 February 2020   
An Evening of Wine & Tapas
At La Petite Bouchée,
WitheridgeTake a tour of La Petite Bouchée’s wine list. Tracy Brock from Moorwine will be talking grapes, regions and terroir and we’ll be serving up a delicious smorgesboard of French Tapas. Start the evening with a glass of fizz, learn about wine, and win a
Dinner for Two at La Petite Bouchée.
£20.00 per person Continue reading….

28 February 2020 
Exmoor Steak and Wine
At The Carlton
, Ilfracombe
Exmoor Farmer Chris Lerwill will talk about his family’s traditional ways of farming while you tuck into some amazing beef, accompanied by a good glass of wine.
£17.50 per person Continue reading….

The Exmoor Food Fest is about to start

Eat your way across Exmoor during February 2020

It’s that time of year again!  If you are planning to go on a diet in February – forget it. The Exmoor Food Fest kicks off with a launch dinner at Kentisbury Grange on 28 January, and then it’s all go from 1 February for a whole month across Exmoor.

For the sixth year, restaurants across the region are celebrating the best our hospitality industry has to offer. Special deals for two and three courses invite people to try out new restaurants and new dishes. Many venues also have a special accommodation offer to allow customers to turn the evening out into a short holiday.

As a first in 2020, the learners from Foxes Hotel in Minehead will be joining in the fun of taking part in the Exmoor Food Fest.

Foxes Hotel is a very special hotel indeed. From the kitchen to the serving of the delicious food and the cleaning of the rooms, all jobs are being done by young people aged between 16 and 24 under the guidance of their teachers.  Foxes is the UK’s only fully operating training hotel for young people with learning difficulties.

Foodie fans should also look out for special events.  One event that is going to be quite different is the Winter Feast at Horner Farm on the Holnicote Estate on Exmoor. It will be rustic dinner in one of the barns, with a chance to try meat from Dexter cattle and sheep raised on the farm.  This will be a unique experience where amazing food will be served at a very unusual location.

On the final weekend in February (29 Feb/1 March) a Taste Exmoor Food & Drink Festival beckons:  Traders and local producers will be putting up their stalls at the Porlock Village hall. The Harbour Cafe & Gallery – who will also be offering special deals throughout February at their premises at Porlock Weir –  will be running a cafe over this weekend, and there will be ample opportunity to try (and take home) lots of delicious food and drink from our region.

All participating restaurants will be revealed on the website www.exmoorfoodfest.com by the end of January 2020.   Anyone wishing to plan their gourmet trip across Exmoor will be able to look up restaurants on a map and see what will be offered when and where. 

(PS There is still time for restaurants and producers to sign up! Just drop us a line at info@exmoorevents.com and we’ll see what we can do for you)

And the photos keep coming….

Over the past few days, lots more photos were submitted to the January part of our 2020 Exmoor4all Photo Competition.  They all have one thing is common: the photos show the beauty of Exmoor and the diversity of the UK’s smallest national park. And that Exmoor is beautiful at any time of the year, and whatever the weather!

At the beginning of February, all January entries will be collated in one album on our Facebook page and also here on the website. We will then invite the public to choose their top 10 photos – photos which have captured best the essence of Exmoor.  These 10 images will go through to the semi-final:  In July, the 60 semi-finalists will be presented to a panel of judges who will pick the 13 images to go onto the 2021 Exmoor4all Calendar.