Celebrating Winter on Exmoor

Exmoor in winter is beautiful, no matter what the weather. Go for a drive, a walk, pop in for a meal or grab a takeaway. Whatever you do – enjoy the beauty around you and, if you can, support our local businesses.

Today, with the end of Lockdown 2.0, many restaurants, pubs and accommodation providers are open again on Exmoor. With Somerset and Devon placed in Tier 2, there are still quite a few restrictions. You can are only allowed to spend time with members of your own household, and you will not be able to just pop down to the pub for a drink. Here is the link to the Government website with a full explanation of the dos and don’ts.

And if you can’t get out at all, then we hope you can escape virtually when looking at the fantastic photos shared in our photo group and page on Facebook or on Instagram.

Laura Claughan posted these photos a few days ago in our photo group:

“There is something truly magical about Exmoor. So many feet have wandered along the winding paths, trodden the mud puddles and stopped to take in the mesmerising view. Yet as you wander, you feel like no one has ventured before you. Exmoor is medicine for the soul, and I was medicated today. 🥾❤️.”

— Laura Claughan
(30 November 2020 in our Exmoor4all Photo Group)

Ellie and the Harp Maker

Perhaps I should have pointed out as well that this is not the middle of nowhere. Not at all. Exmoor is the most somewhere place that I know and my workshop is an extremely somewhere part of it.

Exmoor really is important in this story, almost like one of the characters, says Hazel Prior, the author of this charming book which was published last year. Hazel lives on Exmoor with her husband and a huge ginger cat. As well as writing, she works as a freelance harpist. Ellie and the Harp Maker is her first novel.

Here is the blurb for the book: 
MEET ELLIE. She’s perfectly happy with her home and her husband and her quiet life. Happy enough, anyway. Which is why she’s so surprised to find herself drawn to an extraordinary stranger who gives her a gift – and a fresh perspective.

MEET DAN. He thinks that all he needs is the time and space to carry on making harps in his isolated barn on the moor. But the last thing he expects is for Ellie to whirl into his life, bringing a string of surprises to his ordered existence.

Sometimes it takes a chance encounter to discover what your life can be . . .

This heart-warming, funny and quirky love story features . . .

86 plums

69 sandwiches

27 birch trees

a 17-step staircase

a pair of cherry-coloured socks

and a pheasant named Phineas.

The story of Ellie-the-Exmoor Housewife and Dan -the-Exmoor Harpmaker builds slowly and beautifully from a chance meeting when Ellie discovers a track and wanders down it. At the end is a barn, filled with beautiful harps and a rather beautiful man, Dan. A gentle man and a gentleman, hesitant, shy, creative. He gives Ellie a harp, which her husband makes her return, and from there the story develops into a blossoming romance. But she is married isn’t she, so how does she cope with her growing feelings? Will it be a happy ending? The journey to that ending is a joy to read.

We are soon giving away a signed copy of Ellie and the Harp Maker so watch this space and follow Hazel on Twitter @HazelPriorBooks

 “Prior’s lyricism feels like a warm song.”

~ The Washington Post

“How I loved this book! An uncommonly lovely story told with elegance, insight, and so much heart. Hazel Prior’s brilliant debut will delight.”

~Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author.

“Wow, what a love story. Ellie and The Harp Maker is uplifting and full of heart, and I couldn’t put it down!”

~Jo Thomas, author.

“Hazel Prior’s writing is a lyrical delight.” 

~Phaedra Patrick, international bestselling author.

PS Since Ellie and the Harp Maker, Hazel has published another book: Away with the Penguins, which is a “heartwarming and uplifting” Richard & Judy Book Club 2020″.