#ExmoorWalkies: Our favourite dog walks
We are looking for the best dog walking routes on Exmoor. It’s up to you to decide what makes it the best – a river for your dog to swim in or a pub with a beer and lovely food for you at the end of it, we don’t mind!
Please submit up to 10 photos and a description of your favourite #Exmoorwalkie by email to email@example.com
Don’t forget to tell us the name of your dog(s)!
All entries will be published on Exmoor4all (FB/website). If all goes to plan, we are putting a little book together with a collection of #Exmoorwalkies, featuring your favourite walks and your photos.
PS The small print: By submitting your photos and text you allow us to use these in our publications (print & digital).
The Big Wheel in Minehead
Visitors to Minehead can now get a bird’s eye view of the town, coast and countryside from this new the observation wheel which will be at the seafront for 8 weeks this summer.
The wheel, standing 33m high is open 10am-8pm. Tickets £5 for an adult, £4 for children and senior citizens and £15 for a family ticket.
Free Junior GO TRI Duathlons to be held on Exmoor this summer
This summer there will be opportunities for children to test their skills and fitness in a series of challenging, fun junior off-road duathlons on Exmoor. Organised by XMAN Events, in partnership with Exmoor National Park, the events will take place on 30th July, at Wimbleball Lake, and on 3rd September, in Lynmouth.
The duathlons involve running and cycling and are being organised in conjunction with the adult extreme triathlons being held on the same weekends. They are open to children aged 8 to 14 and entry is free. Full details of the events and how to enter can be found at www.xmanevents.com .
The aim of XMAN Events is to provide challenging activities in spectacular surroundings. Supported by the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund, the purpose of these free junior events is to introduce children to the sport and encourage the enjoyment of physical activity in beautiful outdoor settings. The intention is that they will become annual events alongside their adult counterparts.
NEWS FROM EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK
Big Adventures off to a flying start
This year’s Exmoor National Park Big Adventures got off to a flying start with more than 300 people enjoying the Big Moorland Adventure at Haddon Hill recently. With family friendly games, bush-craft skills, orienteering and scavenger hunts, there was plenty to keep everyone entertained.
National Park ranger Adam Vasey said: “It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying being outdoors and although the weather wasn’t perfect it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s fun.
“We’d like to thank the volunteers that helped us set up and run the event, we couldn’t do it without them and if anyone would like to help us with the upcoming Big Adventures please get in touch.”
More Big Adventures
The next event in this series is the Big Woodland Adventure at Nutcombe Bottom just outside Dunster (TA24 6TA) on Wednesday 1 June from 10am-4pm. With family games and activities lasting all day, there will be plenty to enjoy for all ages. Car parking and toilet facilities are available on site – there’s no need to book and no charge, but donations to CareMoor for Exmoor will be welcome.
Camp out in one of the most amazing locations on Exmoor at The Big Adventure Family Camp Out @ Horner from Saturday 18 June to Sunday 19 June. Booking is essential – the site opens from 4pm and there will be a chance to set camp and cook your dinner with activities starting from 6pm including story-telling, bat walks and astronomy with the Dulverton Stargazers. Tents should be taken down by 11am the next day.
Space is limited for this special event which is ideal for first time campers with support on hand for help with tasks like putting up tents, so early booking is recommended via the National Park Centre at Dulverton on 01398 323841.
Discover Porlock Marsh
On Friday 3 June there’s a Discover Porlock Marsh Walk – join a Heritage Walk Leader to learn about the history and formation of the Porlock bay landscape. The walk leaves the Porlock Visitor Centre at 10.30am (ends approx.1pm) and booking is essential, call the Porlock Visitor Centre on 01643 863150. Dogs are welcome and there is no charge – donations requested.
There are hundreds more events on the Exmoor National Park website – for more information visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or call in at one of the National Park Centres at Dunster, Dulverton and in the Lynmouth Pavilion.
One Day on Exmoor…
Date for the Diary: One Day on Exmoor – 25 May 2015
On Bank Holiday Monday, 25 May 2015, we want you to record what you are doing on Exmoor that day.
Whether you are out walking the dog, go rock climbing, put your toe into the sea, have a cream tea or just dig over the garden – take a photo (or more) and send them to us. As we are quite a nosey lot, we are also keen on hearing from you. This can be a short paragraph – a bit like a “Dear Diary” entry – or a longer account*. You an also send us a video or do a voice recording.
We will collate all the entries and send them on to the country archives.
All photos and stories will be published here on the Exmoor4all blog. We are also hoping to publish a photobook. All fingers crossed, there’ll be a public screening of the photos during the summer. Just watch this space!
You images and stories on Facebook www.facebook.com/Exmoor4all, send them via Twitter @Exmoor4all or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re looking forward to lots and lots of photos and stories!
PS: This is NOT a competition, just a bit of fun – and a way to show the world how fab it is to spend a day on Exmoor!
- No longer than 600 words, please!
Letter from Exmoor: A coastal walk from Combe Martin to Holdstone Down
Combe Martin to Holdstone Down
There is a concrete path running around the side of the bay at Combe Martin, and further along I can see a flight of steps leading upwards. I decide the steps must join the South West Coast Path, knowing it is somewhere on the slope above, and I set off.
On the way I pass a young boy who has been fishing in a rock pool. He has caught a large crab. He tells me it is only one of many – but the rest escaped.
I climb the steep steps but find, to my surprise, the top section becomes progressively overgrown. I push through nettles and find the entrance to the steps has been blocked up with a wall of bricks. Why deny access? I can only think it is for ‘Health and ‘Safety’ reasons.
I climb over the wall and find myself in a pretty open space overlooking the bay, with a promenade and a gazebo.
(In the photo above, the blocked entrance to the steps is hidden at the far end of the row of flowering bushes.)
The South West Coast Path takes a steep route up the slope on the east side of Combe Martin Bay. There are steps to climb and in places the path is narrow with overhanging brambles. I am relieved when I emerge from the undergrowth and see a sign: National Trust, Little Hangman. Wow. That was quick. I’m there already!
I stop to admire the view of Combe Martin below me. Contained within the narrow valley, Combe Martin boasts it has the longest village high street in England. [Later, thanks toWikipedia, I am disappointed to discover this is an exaggeration!]
And now for another disappointment.
I consult my OS map and discover I am not at the top of Little Hangman after all.
My climb has brought me up Lester Cliff. Ahead and below is the deliciously named Wild Pear Beach. The tall headland on the other side is the real Little Hangman.
[According to the official North Devon tourist site, Wild Pear Beach is often used as a nudist beach. Access to the beach is always difficult, but has been cut off completely by a recent landslip.]
I follow an easy track up to Little Hangman and climb to the top point (218m) to have a rest and take a photo. Ahead is Great Hangman, 100 metres higher at 318m, the tallest coastal cliff in England.
The way up is surprisingly easy. The path is well-worn and, although the incline is fairly relentless, it is not particularly steep.
At the top there is a cairn of stones and a group of other walkers are standing on the summit, taking photographs of each other. They must have come up the other way and they look rather hot and tired.
I congratulate myself on my cool appearance, and wait for them to move on.
When they’re gone, I set up my camera for a self portrait, balancing it on a nearby rock, and run back to clamber up the cairn. Unfortunately my first attempt was not very successful.
I adjust the camera and try again. Success!
Greater Hangman – thehighest point on the South West Coast Path. Or is it…
Although I know, Greater Hangman is the highest coastal cliff in mainland Britain, it doesn’t feel particularly exciting to be standing on the top. One reason is that the cliff slopes gradually, and so there is no sensation of standing on the edge of something and looking down at the sea far below. So, it turns out to be a strange anti-climax, in a way.
There is a higher hill ahead. The other walkers pointed it out. (You can tell it is higher because its summit is above the horizon.) I check my map. Holdstone Hill and 349m above sea level.
The route up Holdstone Hill looks clear and easy. It may not be on the official coastal path, but I decide to climb it anyway. Full of confidence, and with 90 minutes before my planned rendezvous with my hubby at a car park somewhere on the other side of Holdstone Down, I set off.
But, I had conveniently chosen to ignore the warning contours on my map. Between me and Holdstone lies a steep cleft. Sherrycombe.
No wonder the other walkers looked exhausted. The path descends very steeply and I slither and slide my way down into the valley. To make matters worse, the valley is full of flies. They buzz and whine around my face. Are they midges? Or biting flies? I don’t know, but they are very irritating. I swat them with my poles. At least they keep me moving.
The only time I stop is for a quick photo of the bridge across the stream at the bottom. I stand still for less than five seconds and the buzzing is almost unbearable.
In my mind, Sherrycombe will always be known as the Valley of the Flies.
It is only because I slow down during my scramble up the other side that I realise there is another reason for the buzzing in my ears. Somewhere a farmer appears to be trying to get his tractor out of a ditch, and somebody else is hurtling around the field on a quad bike. I catch little glimpses of this drama as I puff and pant my way out of the valley.
On the higher slopes of Holdstone Hill, I was hoping the breeze from the sea would blow the flies away, but the air is very still and it is some time before I lose the last of the pesky things. Now the path flattens as it circles around the shoulder of the hill.
I forget my plans to walk up to the top of Holdstone and ignore the footpath that points up to the summit. Too tired for further climbing.
A rustling and crashing sound from the bracken causes me some alarm. But it is only a stray sheep. It looks startled to see me.
The remainder of the walk is straightforward and easy, if a bit monotonous. The stony track hurts my feet. I head for the only buildings in sight on the horizon. The road must be up there.
I find the car park rendezvous and, out of four possible options, my husband has managed to pick the right one! He greets me with drinks and fruit, and “what took you so long?”. The view, in the mellow light of the evening sun, is truly lovely.
Miles walked today = 10
Total since beginning = 1,420 miles
Letter from Exmoor: Green and Pleasant Land Meets the Sea
By Keith Hunt. Originally posted on Keith Hunt’s blog on 7 July 2014
On Sunday, the weather was perfect for a walk to Lynmouth and back again. With just two weeks until I take part in the Race to the Stones 100k this was my last chance to go for a long walk in preparation for it.
Once I had taken James to Bishops Lydeard for his day helping on the West Somerset Railway for their Thomas the Tank Engine weekend (another one next weekend if you missed it!) and Poppy to work in Minehead, I headed to Porlock for a day’s walking. I ended up parking the car near West Porlock and walked down to Porlock Weir. Back at home, there were some clouds about but here, the skies were blue and the views were really clear with the sun getting quite hot by now at 10.45 as I set off. It was still quiet with just a few visitors and the Ship Inn getting ready for a busy day on their festival weekend – The Weirfest. It was nearly high tide with a few boats bobbing on the calm water.
The coastpath is accessed from behind the Anchor Hotel or alternatively up some steps past the local businesses. The path runs alongside a couple of fields until it joins a small road which you walk along until reaching the Worthy Road Toll Lodge. To the right is an arched gateway to walk through before the path climbs up and through some unusual archways which I read were the creation of Lord Lovelace after spending some time in Italy. The path zig-zags up for a while including diversions after landslips in recent years. The path continues though woodland where dappled sunlight, birds singing and small streams trickling down to the sea below make this an idyllic walk. After 2 miles, I arrived at Culbone settlement – a few cottages and England’s smallest parish church.
From here, there are a choice of two paths of which I took the lower path through Culbone Woods and the combes towards the Glenthorne Estate. At this point, you can walk down to the beach through an impressive Pinetum with it’s giant Redwood trees. Tucked away is also an old victorian Ice House. Continuing my walk, the coast path passes Sister’s Fountain, a natural spring below a man-made cairn and a large slate cross. The path then rises and meets a track going through a pair of stone pillars with a boar’s head on each one before passing a pretty victorian woodland lodge. Further along the track, the path leads off to the left along Glenthorne Cliffs and the first views of Foreland Point and looking back, views to Hurlestone Point as well as clear views across the Bristol Channel to Wales.
Once the path joins the road at Foreland, you can take the coast path or like me, walk down the access road to the lighthouse and taking great care, walk along the scree path around the point to rejoin the coast path at Countisbury where the cliffs are the highest in England. From here, you can see straight ahead to Lynmouth and Lynton as you walk down the hill, making sure you take time to enjoy the views in all directions. I arrived in Lynmouth at 2:45 so just 4 hours walking from Porlock Weir although I did walk at a fairly brisk pace. I would recommend this walk to anyone who enjoys walking as it is not that hard going. Allow around six hours to give yourself time to rest and enjoy the views and the peacefulness of the surroundings. The coastal 300 bus service is available to take you back to Porlock and Minehead. The last one leaves Lynmouth at around 5pm but check times online.
At Lynmouth, I had my packed lunch followed by a Styles ice cream before my return walk heading back up Countisbury Hill to the Blue Ball and a little further before turning right, down into the Doone Valley to walk through Brendon, Malmesmead, Oare and Robbers Bridge where it was time to take my boots off for a while and let my feet recover before heading back up the hill to the A39 where I crossed to walk from a path at the top of the main toll road down through woodland to Porlock Weir. As I reached the Worthy toll road, there were signs informing no walkers or cyclists were permitted and alternative paths should be used. I will enquire as to why that is as that seems a very strange rule. If I had my bike, I would not have wanted to take that anong the very rough path and would probably damage it by doing so. Hopefully, there are signs informing cyclists before they take the long descent. As I arrived back at Porlock Weir, the Weirfest was in full swing with live music playing to a large gathering. After my long walk, I was looking forward to getting home and a relax in the bath! An excellent day’s walking though a few miles short of what I planned.
Here are my Fitbit results: 53,557 steps. 25.85 miles. 4,680ft ascent. 475 active minutes. 6315 calories burne
Date for the Diary: Easter Family Activity Day at Calvert Trust Exmoor
On Friday 21st of April Calvert Trust Exmoor are holding a family activity day, open to everyone with or without a disability, for just £2 per activity, or 6 activities for £10.
Drop in anytime from 9:30am – 2pm to enjoy various activities including archery, giant swing, abseil, climbing and carriage rides. (Activities will start at 10am and be available until 3pm; last admission for new visitors will be 2pm).
Refreshments and snacks are available on site, or why not bring lunch and enjoy a picnic beside beautiful Wistlandpound reservoir?
Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor; “It’s very exciting to be opening up our great activities to our local community again this year. We ran two open days in 2013 and they proved to be really popular; so much so we are planning three open days this year. Please come along to enjoy a fun day out with us and get a taste of ‘The Calvert Experience’.”
New for this year, if you want to you can pre-book your activities by emailing email@example.com in advance of the open day.
To find out more why not visit the Calvert Trust website on http://www.calvert-trust.org.uk/dropIn or phone 01598 763221. The Trust will also be running two further open days later in the year, on Friday 29th August and Friday 31st October.
Calvert Trust Exmoor is the South West’s premier holiday destination for people with disabilities, and the only 5 star accredited activity accommodation in the country. We welcome over 3,700 residential guests and 5000 day visitors a year with the philosophy of “At Calvert Trust Exmoor it’s what you CAN do that counts”. This sums up our approach to what we do, we help people of all levels of ability to fulfill their potential and be all that they can be.
Calvert Trust Exmoor is the third Calvert Trust Centre. It was opened in 1996 to offer people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities – and their friends and families – the chance to achieve their potential through the challenge of outdoor adventure.