Date for the Diary: The Big Adventure Family Camp out at Wimbleball Lake

Horner Campout1Campers will be hoping for stars in their eyes at the Big Adventure Family Camp Out on Saturday 13 August at Wimbleball Lake (TA22 9NU) in Exmoor National Park.

The event, organised by the National Park Authority, is ideal for first time campers and a chance to camp out in a wonderful location. The site opens at 4pm when there is time to set up camp and cook dinner after which there will be activities to enjoy. Tents need to be down by 11am on Sunday 14 August.

National Park ranger Adam Vasey says: “We’re really lucky to be able to offer this camping experience here on the shores of Wimbleball Lake.  Not only have we got the family camping area especially reserved for us, but we’ve got storytelling, a camp fire, guitar playing as well as a bat walk and, when it gets dark, some astronomy (weather permitting). 

“It’s a really friendly environment for first time family campers so don’t be scared, there’ll be people to help out and everyone is welcome!”

The camp site has easy access to the cafe and children’s play area, with beautiful walks and a cycle trail around the lake itself. Facilities include showers, toilet block and washing up facilities; the site is also dog friendly. Exmoor National Park is an International Dark Sky Reserve and Wimbleball Lake is a Dark Sky Discovery Site – so here’s hoping for clear skies.

Booking for the Family Camp Out is essential, for more information and to book please visit:  or telephone the National Park Centre in Dulverton 01398 323841

Charge: £20/family (two adults & two children). £10/additional adult. £5/additional child.

Images show the recent Family Camp Out at Horner Wood

Horner Campout3

Date for the Diary: Wimbleball Lake Astro Camp

101 Wimbleball Lake Event

From Saturday 1st until Saturday 8th March 2014 South West Lakes Trust would like to invite you to their Astro Camp at Wimbleball Lake as part of National Astronomy Week.

Exmoor National Park is designated as the International Dark Sky Reserve, the first place in Europe to achieve this prestigious award and only the second in the World. Wimbleball Lake was nominated as the first Dark Skies Discovery Site on Exmoor in November 2011.

The week long camp will incorporate a variety of exciting activities for all the family to enjoy including, talks and presentations, workshops, Planetarium, telescopes, stargazing opportunities, plus BBQ’s on Sat 1st, Friday 7th and Sat 8th March. People can attend for a couple of hours, or for the whole week, depending on their availability. Camping / caravanning is also available on our AA 3* rated campsite to maximize the stargazing opportunities. We also have 2 camping pods that are available to hire.

Alex Forster, South West Lakes Trust Exmoor Area Manager said, ‘South West Lakes Trust are really excited to be hosting this Astro Camp as part of National Astronomy Week. Stargazing at Wimbleball is phenomenal as there is so little light pollution, however there will be a wide variety of indoor activities each evening just in case it is cloudy!’

There are many positions at Wimbleball Lake where individual or group activities can take place with level hard surfaced areas overlooking the scenic lakeside with clear big sky views. For more information please call 01398 371116 or email

South West Lakes Trust is the region’s largest combined environmental and recreational charity.  Its 50 inland water sites, encompassing 5,000 hectares of land and water spread across Devon, Cornwall and West Somerset, attract in the region of 2m visits annually.  It is listed as being in the top 3,000 of the country’s 150,000 charities. 3,112 days of assistance by volunteers were freely given in 2011, in return training was offered in relevant skills (86 days in 2011).   SWLT involved over 90,000 people in water sports activities in 2011, including 24,400 children.  It manages large tracts of moorland and significant areas of woodland, with Forest Stewardship Council accreditation.

Evenings @ ThePavilion – and more

A fortnightly series of evening talks will be starting at the new Lynmouth Pavilion, kicking off with Julian Gurney on Thursday 9 January, showing his wonderful photos and talking about his coastal work as Head Ranger for the National Trust.

Following that is astronomy enthusiast from Porlock, Matt Morris, talking about the Dark Skies of Exmoor, on Thursday 23 January, again 7pm at Lynmouth Pavilion. Telescopes will be set up outside for star gazing if weather permits.

Louise Reynolds, Lynmouth Pavilion Project heritage officer says: “We also have an exciting range of talks in February including an archaeological romp through the parish of Lynton and Lynmouth by Exmoor National Park’s conservation manger Rob Wilson-North: From Hoaroak to Hollerday Hill on Thursday 6 February, and fishing enthusiast Wayne Thomas from Combe Martin will be entertaining us with amazing images as we ‘Glimpse into North Devon’s Angling Past’ on Thursday 20 February.”

Evenings@ThePavilion, 7pm every other Thursday, all welcome.

And more…

On Saturday 11 January Frances Harrison delights us all with her Dark Starry Skies Story Cafe – come and enjoy local stories about Exmoor’s night sky and what it meant to people of the past. There is an opportunity for the audience to add their own stories and poems if they wish. Astronomical refreshments (along a starry theme) are available throughout. Families are encouraged to come along – 3pm-5pm at Lynmouth Pavilion.

Sunday 12January sees the first of a few folk evenings ‘Moor Music Sessions’ which will alternate between the Blue Ball Inn at Countisbury and the Exmoor Forest Inn at Simonsbath. The first one is at the Blue Ball Inn, 8pm on Sunday 12 January – a celebration of local music and song. Musicians, singers and audience welcome!

A fortnightly morning art group aimed at families and children will be starting at Lynmouth Pavilion on 18 January – 10am-12.30, run by a local Lynton artist and volunteers. Please phone 01598 752509 for more details and to book (space is limited so booking is essential). Trial period for 4 sessions – if they go well then the group will continue.

Photo by Peter Duckett

Photo by Peter Duckett





Starry, starry night….

104 Dan James Dark Skies on Dunkery Beacon

Photo by Dan James



To find out more about stargazing on Exmoor and its status as First International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe, go to the Exmoor National Park Website. There you can read the fully story and find out where to hire a telescope to make Exmoor’s starry nights an unforgettable event:

Exmoor’s Dark Skies

Exmoor National Park has been designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe! Click here for the full story 

To help you get the most from Exmoor’s dark skies we have produced a new Dark Skies Pocket Guide   –  download it  here or pick up a copy from one of our National Park Centres.

Exmoor National Park is home to some of the darkest skies in the country so it’s a great place to gaze at the stars. Good spots are Holdstone Hill, County Gate, Brendon Two Gates, Webbers Post, Anstey Gate, Haddon Hill and Wimbleball Lake.

On a clear night the night sky of Exmoor is simply stunning when many astronomical sights can be seen through the naked eye and even more can be discovered through a telescope or binoculars.

Look out for events that will help you discover more! Our National Park Centres stock planispheres and guides to the night sky, whilst the BBC StarGazing Live website has audio guides and star charts to download to help you enjoy the night sky.

New for 2013 –  Why not hire a telescope to help you explore Exmoor amazing dark skies. Contact one of our National Park Centres to find out how.

Exmoor Astro-timelapse video by