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:

events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vjzs4adab&oeidk=a07ec82aef9fa6d8bc2  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: This year’s final BIG Adventure

NEWS FROM EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK

enpaFree event, amazing location, great games and activities – it must be this year’s Big Autumn Adventure on Wednesday 28 October from 10am-4pm at Webbers Post, near Wheddon Cross in Exmoor National Park.

National Park Ranger Adam Vasey says: ““It’s the last Big Adventure of the year and, with the help of The National Trust, it’s going to be a good one. Get your wellies on, have a go at orienteering, help us make a giant den or keep warm by the campfire and toast some marshmallows. 

“There will be lots to do with the usual range of fun family-friendly games and activities, so come and join us – we look forward to seeing you there!” 

This is the sixth Big Adventure event this year and hundreds of people have enjoyed the free family days out courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority, The National Trust, Heart of Exmoor and a variety of other organisations and volunteers.

There is car parking and toilet facilities on site – for more information please contact the National Park Centre at Dulverton, phone 01398 323841.

 

Roll up, roll up for the 12th Annual World Bolving Championship

NEWS FROM EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK

enpa

This year’s World Bolving Championship takes place on Saturday 17 October at Draydon Rails, Dulverton (TA22 9QE) in Exmoor National Park starting at 6 pm and everyone is welcome.

It’s an evening with a difference as National Park Ranger Richard Eales explains:  “This is a competition to find out who can sound most like a rutting stag – can you get a real live deer to answer you across the wild deep valley?

 “This year there is a beautiful, framed stag picture that has been kindly donated by www.mikesherwinphotography.co.uk as well as the Phil Ferris Shield that will go to the winner. Mike Sherwin has also kindly donated a picture that will be presented to the best junior bolver, so get practicing kids.”

Anyone that would like to join in and test their vocal chords can just turn up on the night and enter. Entries are a minimum donation of £2 per person and all the money raised will go to Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

People can either meet up with other competitors at The Rock House Inn, Dulverton at 5pm or just turn up at Draydon Rails at 6pm. After the competition it’s back to the pub for the results and winners’ presentation, beer, food and the prize draw.

For further details please contact Richard on 07772 989737 or the Rock House, Inn on 01398 323467.

Exmoor stag, photo by Tony Piper

Exmoor stag. Photo by Tony Piper

South West National Parks essential for the region’s economy

enpaThe contribution made by Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks to the region’s economy has been highlighted in a new economic prospectus.

The two National Parks are living, working landscapes that are home to approximately 44,000 people and 3,145 businesses with an annual turnover of £770m a year.

National Parks are also world renowned brands, recognised for quality of environment and visitor experience. Dartmoor and Exmoor attract over 8 million visitor days and generate £428 million for the greater Dartmoor and Exmoor areas annually.

The prospectus highlights the high quality of the National Park environment underpins economic activity both within the National Parks and the wider Heart of the South West area. National Park Authorities bring together key players to support and enable sustainable economic growth within these deeply rural landscapes.

Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities have been at the forefront of supporting pioneering new ways to unlock economic growth within the National Parks, the prospectus highlights some of these success stories.

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley, said: “Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks are key partners in the HotSW LEP, and are exemplars of the distinctive assets of our area that we so proudly promote. This prospectus shows that value of the National Parks to our area and that of the UK, and we welcome their drive to showcase their unique selling points in the national and international arena.

“HotSW LEP is supporting programmes to aid the 3,000 businesses in the National Parks, that have a turnover of £770m, through our work on improved connectivity in transport and broadband and the roll-out of our Growth Hub business support service.”

Peter Harper, Chair of Dartmoor National Park Authority said: “We work hard to support and promote sustainable development within our National Parks. We also know that these economic assets are important to wider regional growth through the visitor economy, quality of life, health and recreational offer as well as providing valuable carbon and water catchment.

“Our National Parks are national and regional assets; this prospectus shares the innovative work we have undertaken to help support growth within our boundaries and beyond.”

Andrea Davis, Chairman of Exmoor National Park Authority agreed: “We are keen to play a pro-active role with partners across the area to secure sustainable economic growth within some of the most rural areas. Within the prospectus we highlight our aspirations for what economic potential can be unlocked with additional investment and are already working up more detailed proposals with a range of partners to turn these aspirations intra reality.” 

Both National Park Authorities are keen to continue to build on their successes in contributing to regional growth and have identified four key areas for investment to release future growth potential:

  • Improving connectivity – through superfast broadband and better mobile coverage to deliver 4G service to all settlements
  • Promoting the place and product – recognising the value of the National Park and local supply chains, including food and drink, as quality destination ‘brands’ and the unique distinctive product they offer to the region
  • Support key sectors – such as farming, forestry, food and tourism. The creation of rural growth hubs, to increase productivity and develop rural skills
  • Sustain the resource – There is a need for continued investment managing the National Park resource: The environment; Access to it and; Promotion. Without this the resource will degrade and opportunities for sustainable rural growth lost.

The Economic Prospect can be read here: http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/living-and-working/business-and-economy

NEWS FROM EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK: Tourism is a BIG Issue for Exmoor!

Exmoor Society Logo

Tourism is such a big issue for Exmoor that it is the theme of this year’s annual Spring Conference to be held by The Exmoor Society in Dulverton on Friday 24 April 2015. The conference will consider some of the big issues of the day including how we balance tourism with conserving the natural environment, how we can promote unique experiences to visitors and how we fit within the wider region of the South West which is the primary holiday destination in the country.

National Parks, such as Exmoor, were set up just after the second world war, not only to conserve and enhance special landscapes but also to promote people’s enjoyment of them.  Access, in particular, to open country such as mountain and moorland, with the provision of a well-managed rights of way system and other visitor amenities such as car parks and loos, were to be developed by the statutory National Park authorities responsible for these designated areas.  At the same time there was suspicion by the National Park movement that a tourist industry would encourage large numbers of people and forms of enjoyment that would spoil the very countryside needing protection.  Today, in contrast, tourism is seen as the economic driving force in most of these areas and visitors are welcomed to them.

“Worth almost £100m a year tourism is the single largest component of the Exmoor economy and many communities depend on the value it brings to the area,”  said Dan James, sustainable economy manager at Exmoor National Park Authority,  “research shows that over 95% of visitors are attracted to the area due to the landscape and scenery and the trick is to manage tourism sustainably to ensure the very reason for the National Park designation is not compromised.”

However, how sustainable is tourism in these fragile landscapes and can protection and prosperity go hand-in-hand?  Can Exmoor, one of the smallest National Parks, attract more people with so much visitor choice in the South West?  Could Visit England do more to encourage rural tourism?  What do the visiting public desire from Exmoor?  These are some of the questions that will be explored and debated at the Conference.

Rachel Thomas, chairman of The Exmoor Society, said “The conference, in partnership with the National Park Authority, aims to raise important issues and influence the debate on how to manage this complex landscape.  We are delighted that a range of speakers, including from Visit England and Exmoor Tourism, will be dealing with the questions raised, with plenty of opportunity for delegates to open up the debate on how to make the best use of the incredible assets found here on Exmoor.”

Please book through The Exmoor Society website www.exmoorsociety.com, or email info@exmoorsociety.com.

Another step along the Coleridge Way

Walkers overlook the new Coleridge Way extension. Photo ENPA

Walkers overlook the new Coleridge Way extension. Photo ENPA

A new 15 mile extension to the Coleridge Way was opened today (Wednesday 21 May) by Rosemary Coleridge Middleton, the great, great, great-granddaughter of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge together with Andrea Davis, Chairman of Exmoor National Park Authority and Suzette Hibbert, Mayor of Lynton and Lynmouth and Chair of the Lyn Community Development Trust.

The ceremony took place in the picturesque village of Malmsmead in Exmoor National Park and was also attended by other members of the Coleridge family.

Andrea Davis, Chairman of Exmoor National Park Authority said: “It’s great that this has new extension to the Coleridge Way is happening in the 60th anniversary of Exmoor National Park. I’m sure the new route will be enjoyed by local people and visitors alike and hopefully it will provide the same economic benefits to the small villages along the way, and the area in general, as did the first.”

The Coleridge Way extension was funded primarily by the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund with additional support from Lyn Community Development Trust, Lyn Valley Society, Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council (c/o the Lyn Economy and Tourism Alliance) and Lynmouth Flood Memorial Hall Fund.  Andrea Davis (as local county councillor) also contributed. The groundwork on the route was undertaken by the National Park’s Ranger and Field Services Teams.

The Coleridge Way extension is a 15 mile inland route from Porlock to Lynmouth following in the footsteps of the Romantic Poets. This extends the current 36 mile route from Nether Stowey to Porlock creating a superb 51 mile walk taking in some of the finest countryside in the country and linking the Quantock Hills AONB with Exmoor National Park.

Suzette Hibbert, said: “Back in the 1790s Coleridge and his fellow Romantic poet, William Wordsworth, loved to walk all the way from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth, a distance of about 50 miles, but when the Coleridge Way was opened 9 years ago, it stopped short at Porlock.

“We have all been working hard to extend the route the extra 15 miles to take it all the way to Lynmouth and we are grateful to Exmoor National Park which provided the largest share of the finance as well as the skilled manpower needed to upgrade the paths that together make up the extension.”

Rosemary Middleton Coleridge expressed delight at seeing so many people at the opening and said: “Walking actually concentrates the mind, soothes the soul and helps sort out problems. It is a healer of the mind, body and spirit and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, my great great great Grandfather, knew this. I’m very proud to say that it is indeed the Coleridge way of doing things!  Keep moving, love thinking, do praying, keep talking, just toddle, but if possible do walk.”

Full information on the entire route, including downloadable route guides, is available on www.coleridgeway.co.uk.

 

Coleridge Way Extension (1)

Opening of the Coleridge Way Extension: Suzette Hibbert [Mayor of Lynton & Lynmouth and Chair of the Lyn Community Development Trust] – Rosemary Coleridge~Middleton [Great,Great,Great Granddaughter] – Andrea Davis [Chairman of Exmoor National Park Authority]

 

Descendents of Samuel Taylor Coleridge at the launch of the Coleridge Way extension: Rosalind Thomas [Great,Great.Great,Great Granddaughter] - Richard Coleridge [Great,Great,Great Grandson] - Rob Coleridge-Middleton [Great,Great,Great,Great Grandson] - Jerard Coleridge [Great,Great,Great Grandson] - Rosemary Coleridge-Middleton[Great,Great,Great Granddaughter]

Descendents of Samuel Taylor Coleridge at the launch of the Coleridge Way extension: Rosalind Thomas [Great,Great.Great,Great Granddaughter] – Richard Coleridge [Great,Great,Great Grandson] – Rob Coleridge-Middleton [Great,Great,Great,Great Grandson] – Jerard Coleridge [Great,Great,Great Grandson] – Rosemary Coleridge-Middleton[Great,Great,Great Granddaughter]

Originally opened in 2005, The Coleridge Way was an immediate success and attracted national and international press attention bringing new visitors into the area and helping to identify this part of the country with the work of the Romantic Poets.

The route connects two protected landscapes – the Quantock Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Exmoor National Park. In addition to offering some fabulous scenery our landscapes are important as a means of linking culture with nature and the past with the present. Over 8,000 years of human history can be found within the Quantocks and Exmoor. Protected areas such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are protected through legislation first drawn up following the Second World War through the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

However the idea of protecting nationally significant areas was not new, and was first raised by the Romantic Poets such as Wordsworth, Coleridge and Byron. Their writing spoke about the inspirational beauty of the ‘untamed’ countryside and Wordsworth famously claimed the Lake District as a “sort of national property, in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy”.

National Park Centres open for the Season

DunsterThe National Park Centre in Dunster opens with new exhibits this Saturday 29 March from 10am to 5pm. Together with the National Park Centres at Dulverton and Lynmouth which are open year-round, all three will be now be open daily for the season.

In addition to the much loved exhibits such as Fred the Exmoor Horn sheep, the National Park Centre at Dunster will be hosting the Views of Exmoor Exhibition: a chance to rediscover the moorland past and present. The exhibition looks at how archaeologists are piecing together an amazing story of human resilience. The story begins around 8,000 years ago when hunter gatherer groups first walked across Exmoor‘s uplands and continues with the emergence of farming, the building of unique miniature standing stones – to the 19th century when Victorian landowners tried to ‘improve’ tracts of the moors.

Also in the Centre for the first time people will be able to watch the much-acclaimed, short film that was specially commissioned for the Lynmouth Pavilion.

There are plans to install a giant interactive table that will provide a range of fascinating facts and information on Exmoor’s wildlife and landscapes at people’s fingertips. The table will supplement the video microscope that was installed last year providing modern facilities in this digital age.

Tim Braund, Head of Information and Communication at Exmoor National Park said: “In an increasingly competitive market, we are delighted that we have been able to invest in new information and exhibits to attract visitors to Exmoor which we hope will benefit tourism businesses on Exmoor.”

The Coleridge Way Moves On…

Photo by Tony Mann/ENPA

 Work is underway to extend The Coleridge Way, funded primarily by the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund with additional support from Lyn Community Development Trust, Lyn Valley Society, Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council and Lynmouth Flood Memorial Hall Fund.

Currently 36 miles long, work has started to extend the route by an extra 14 miles further to Lynmouth. From Porlock the extended route, way marked with distinctive quill signage (produced by the National Park’s field services team) will head up through Worthy Woods and pass Ash Farm, where Coleridge once stayed, before dropping down into the Doone Valley and on to Watersmeet and Lynmouth. The new route will be ready to use this summer.

Originally opened in 2005, The Coleridge Way walking route links sites and locations associated with the Romantic Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge during his stay in Somerset. The route begins at Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey and wends its way through the Quantocks to the coast, finishing in Porlock.

Phil Taylor, Director of the Lyn Community Development Trust says: “Coleridge’s favourite walk was from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth and the Valley of Rocks and we are delighted that the Coleridge Way is being extended to incorporate more of Exmoor’s spectacular scenery. This will make a wonderful walk even more enjoyable and will be ideal for those wanting to try hiking for the first time as well as rewarding for experienced walkers.

“There are many places to stay along the way for anyone who wishes to extend their stay in the area.”

From Lynmouth an additional spur follows the South West Coast Path into the Valley of Rocks and Poets Corner. The total route will be a satisfying 50 miles long and the new extension will be completed by early summer. Full information will be available at www.coleridgeway.co.uk

Exmoor Wildwatch 2014

Exmoor National Park’s amazing wildlife has given inspiration and joy to generations, but the very remoteness that makes Exmoor so special means that we do not have a full understanding of the wildlife that lives on the moor. That is where Exmoor Wildwatch 2014 and the accompanying free wildlife events come in!

Ali Hawkins, Exmoor National Park Wildlife Conservation Officer, explains:  ”Exmoor National Park is home to a fantastic array of wildlife and we would like everyone’s help to find out a little more about some of the special species that live here. We would particularly like to hear about 10 key species, some of which are nationally rare and others we simply do not know enough about. Some, like the cuckoo, are distinctive whilst others such as the round-leaved sundew may require more searching in some of Exmoor’s fantastic bogs. With a little bit of effort you can get to see more of Exmoor’s unique wildlife with our free handy spotter guide.

“The key species are cuckoo, kingfisher, brown hare, adder, common lizard, waxcap fungi, round-leaved sundew and heath fritillary, small pearl-bordered fritillary and comma butterflies.   Recording your sightings could not be easier. Simply go on line to the Wildwatch website or ring the National Park Centre in Lynmouth on 01598 752509.”

To record sightings and to view the free identification guides visit http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/environment/wild-watch. To order a free  Exmoor Wildwatch poster*  please contact the National Park Centres at Lynmouth, Dunster or Dulverton.

Wildwatch 2014 is also supported by 25 plus free wildlife and surveying training events. “Whether you are interested in butterflies, fungi or river life there is something for everyone. All the training is delivered free of charge by experts to encourage people to learn more about Exmoor’s Wildlife through surveying. Again just visit the Wildwatch website”  highlighted David Rolls, Moorland Education and Outreach Officer,  “so whether you are out walking, cycling, on the way to work or school please keep your eyes open and report whether you spot any of these wonderful species.”

Exmoor Wildwatch is part of the New Ecologists project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Exmoor Trust and Exmoor National Park through the Heart of Exmoor Scheme. For more details on this work please contact David Rolls on, 01398 322164.

Accessible Exmoor

NEWS FROM EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK

‘People can feel more confident about attending the many accessible events that take place on Exmoor’ –was the key theme at a workshop jointly hosted by the Exmoor National Park Authority and the Heart of Exmoor scheme recently at the newly opened Lynmouth Pavilion.

The event was attended by range of organisations and individuals including both event organisers and those with expertise and personal experience in accessibility issues.  There were presentations from Richard Pitman of Taunton based Compass Disability Services and an update on recent work on developing “Phototrails”  in Exmoor.

Interpretation and Education Manager at Exmoor National Park, Ben Totterdell said: “Every year hundreds of events take place on Exmoor, from guided deer walks to village fetes and art exhibitions. However, for many people with disabilities there is often not enough information about these events for them to feel confident about coming along – or simply not enough events that are planned with the needs of people with disabilities in mind.

“It was great to have so many people there who are all committed to working together to ensure Exmoor can be enjoyed by everyone. I certainly learned a lot and will be looking at how we can improve our events programme and information for next year.”

Comments from other participants include: ‘Thanks for an excellent day’ Wendy Mills (National Trust)

‘A very refreshing day. Made us realise that access is not just about wheelchairs. The workshop will definitely make us think differently about our events in 2014’  Ruth Hyett (Exmoor Natural History Society and Porlock Visitor Centre)

‘I thought it was a really good day and was pleased to be invited. There were certainly lots of light bulb moments for participants as they came to understand accessibility in its wider sense’ Richard Pitman (Compass Disability)

David Rolls, Heart of Exmoor Outreach and Education Officer said: “Exmoor has a host of wonderful opportunities for everyone and I thought the day was very constructive in highlighting many of these.  The event was part of the wider “Access for All” project which Exmoor National Park and the Heritage Lottery Fund have been financially supporting.”