Exmoor Society Talks with Nigel Phillips

Date for your diary:

Society Talks 2023

Nigel Phillips
Wed 15th June @ 6.30pm

The Exmoor Society
34 High Street, Dulverton, TA22 9DJ

Join us for a talk, book signing and Q&A session with local conservationist and writer Nigel Phillips

Somerset’s coast runs from the River Avon, just north of Portishead, south and west for 64 miles to the remote beach at Glenthorne on the Devon border.

Join Nigel on his talk that will explore the wonderful and very varied wildlife found along Exmoor’s coast, on the cliffs and in rock pools.

Nigel is a celebrated local conservationist, who launched his book last year The Nature of Somerset’s Coast.

Members £5 Non-members £10 Refreshments provided

BOOKING ESSENTIAL – visit exmoorsociety.com or ring the office on 01398 323335

Winner of the Alfred Vowles Photo Competition

We are thrilled to announce the winner of our Alfred Vowles photography competition!

Congratulations to Robin Howe with his beautiful image of Nurse Amy at Blagdon Cross.

A truly stunning photo which celebrates both the beauty of Exmoor’s dark skies & the vital role of our wonderful NHS💙

Exmoor Society, 17 November 2021

Congratulations from us at Exmoor4all as well!

Dates for the diary: Guided walks with the Exmoor Society



Friday 6th May 2016 10:30am-3:30pm
Doone Country
Visit the area and sites associated with Lorna Doone on the circular walk of 8 mls. Walking alongside Badgworthy Water, beyond the site of the medieval village to Tom’s Hill Barrow and

South Common, we reach Oare Church before returning via Oare Water. Boggy in places. Please bring a picnic. Dogs under control welcome.

Meet: Malmsmead car park GR 792478 (Ref. JR)

Wednesday 11th May 2016 11:00am-1:00pm
Mining and Mystery at Wheal Eliza
On this short walk along the River Barle, hear the history of the Knights, mining in this part of Exmoor and the tragic mystery of Wheal Eliza. One or two short climbs but overall an easy walk along the valley. Return to Simonsbath for optional pub lunch or bring a picnic.
Meet: Ashcombe car park, Simonsbath. Grid Ref. 775394 (Ref. RT)

Saturday 28th May 2016 2:00pm-4:30pm
Coast and Common from Barna Barrow – A Walk with Glorious Views
Enjoy glorious views of Devon’s most northerly point, remote coastal scenery and haunts of bygone smugglers on this 2.5 hr / 3.5 mile walk. 100 m ascent on lighthouse road to finish. Please wear suitable weatherproof clothing and footwear. Meet Barna Barrow car park. Grid Ref. 7528 4962 (Ref. TP)

Friday 10th June 2016 10:30am-4:30pm
History and Mystery on the High Moor
On this circular 8-ml walk on the edge of the bleak, remote area of the Chains, you will visit sinister Pinkery Pond, the ancient

Longstone and mysterious Moles Chamber, as well as seeing many other historic landmarks. Spectacular views. Hilly, rough and possibly boggy underfoot. Please bring a picnic and wear weatherproof everything. Dogs on leads welcome.

Meet: 2nd layby from Simonsbath on B3358 near Goat Hill Bridge TA24 7LL (Ref. JG)

Friday 17th June 2016 10:30am-2:30pm
Watersmeet and the East Lyn River
A 5 mile walk through woods to Watersmeet, then along the beautiful East Lyn River to Rockford with a lunch stop at the Rockford Inn (or bring a picnic) and returning on the opposite side of the river. Dogs under control welcome. Meet: Hillsford Bridge NT car park GR 742 477. (Ref. JR)

Saturday 25th June 2016 10:30am-2:30pm
Avill Valley Vistas

A steady climb from the Avill Valley to the Grabbist Hill ridgetop is rewarded with stunning views of Dunkery and North Hill and across the Bristol Channel to South Wales. Following the ancient track, the views continue before making our way down to Wootton Courtney and following level tracks back to

Timberscombe. 4 hrs/8 mls.
Meet: Outside The Lion Inn, Timberscombe GR 962422 TA24 7TP (Ref. AM)

Friday 1st July 2016 2:00pm-4:15pm
Kilve and East Quantoxhead Walkabout
Join this easy 21⁄4 mile /21⁄4 hour stroll to discover some of the historical highlights of this fascinating area. Please wear weatherproof boots and clothing.

Optional cream tea to conclude the afternoon. Meet: Car park, Kilve Beach Grid Ref. SS 155442 TA5 1EG (Ref. RC)

Tuesday 5th July 2016 10:00am-12:30pm
Lynton and Valley of Rocks – An historic tour
This is a fascinating 2.5-hour walk to see a different view of Lynton, to learn how it has been shaped over the years and how the Victorians were drawn to the splendour of the Valley of Rocks. 2.5 mls/2.5 hours.
Meet: Valley of Rocks ENPA car park & picnic area (car park near public toilets). Grid Ref. 7113 4968 (Ref. TP)

9th July 2016 10:30am-3:00pm
Withypool and Tarr Steps
We start this walk by following a lovely stretch of the River Barle along the waymarked path from Withypool to Tarr Steps. We will then cross the ancient monument of Tarr Steps clapper bridge and climb slowly above the valley to the open moorland of Withypool Hill, passing two prehistoric sites before descending back to Withypool. Refreshments and toilets at Withypool and Tarr Steps. 9.5 miles. Meet: Withypool car park. Grid Ref 842353 TA24 7QP (Ref. AM)

Friday 15th July 2016 10:00am-12:30pm
Dunster Walkabout
An easy 2.5 hour / 2.5 mile walkabout to see and hear about some of the fascinating things in Dunster that the normal tourist misses. Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.
Meet: Visitor Information Centre, Dunster Steep, Dunster TA24 6SE (Ref. RC)

Friday 22nd July 2016 10:30am-3:30pm
Selworthy and North Hill
Enjoy stunning views on this circular walk of appx. 7 miles from Selworthy up to North Hill, Selworthy Beacon, Hurlstone Point and Bossington Hill. Some steep climbs and descents. An alternative route may be taken in inclement weather. Please bring a picnic. Dogs under control welcome. Meet: Selworthy Church overflow car park, Selworthy, Nr Minehead
(Ref. JR)

Thursday 18th August 2016 10:30am-3:00pm
The Woods of Simonsbath and the Historic Sawmill
A mile walk taking in Ashcombe Wood, Birchcleave Wood and Simonsbath Sawmill. Hear about the history and management of these plantations created by the Knights around Simonsbath in the 19th century. Slightly uneven ground with some short steep sections. Please bring a picnic and if the weather is bad we can lunch in the sawmill. Never more than appx half a mile from the car park, which has toilet facilities. Families welcome and dogs under close control.
Meet: Ashcombe car park, Simonsbath. Grid ref. SS 773 394 Postcode TA24 7SH (Ref. GMcV)

Friday 26th August 2016 10:30am-4.00pm
Far West Exmoor
A 9.5 ml challenging circular walk along the South-West Coast Path (narrow and sheer drop in places) from Hunter’s Inn to Holdstone Down returning via Trentishoe Down and Ladies Mile. Fairly rough walking with some steep climbs and descents. Please bring a picnic. Dogs under control welcome.
Meet: NT car park, Hunter’s Inn, Heddon’s Mouth GR 655 482. (Ref. JR)

Thursday 8th September 2016 10:30am-4:30pm
In Coleridge’s Footsteps to Culbone

A 6-mile circular walk along the most recent section of the Coleridge Way to Culbone Hill and down to England’s smallest church at Culbone. Steep hills and probably muddy underfoot, you will be rewarded with spectacular views. Please bring a picnic and wear weatherproof clothing. Dogs on leads welcome.
Meet: Porlock Weir car park, Porlock (parking fee), TA24 8PD

(Ref. JG)

Tuesday 13th September 2016 10:30am-2:00pm
Lady Harriet Acland’s Drive, Haddon Hill
A walk from Haddon Hill, down to Bury, back along Lady Harriet’s Drive beside the River Haddeo to Wimbleball Dam. Then along near the lake and back to the car park. Appx 6 miles. One steep climb. Please bring a picnic.
Meet: Haddon Hill car park, off B3190 GR SS970288
(Re. P & J M)

Hope Bourne and her Beloved Exmoor
Saturday 24th September 2016 10:30am-1:00pm
A walk around the Withypool area in the footsteps of Hope Bourne, taking in her favourite views from her writings . A moderate walk of appx 3 miles,

some parts rough underfoot and steep in places. Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear. Followed by optional lunch in Withypool or bring a picnic.
Meet: Withypool car park, Withypool TA24 7QP (Ref. RT)

Tuesday 27th September 2016 10:00am-12:30pm
Lynton and Valley of Rocks – An historic tour
This is a fascinating 2.5-hour walk to see a different view of Lynton, to learn how it has been shaped over the years and how the Victorians were drawn to the splendour of the Valley of Rocks. 2.5 mls/2.5 hours.
Meet: Valley of Rocks ENPA car park & picnic area (car park near public toilets). Grid Ref. 7113 4968 (Ref. TP)

Tuesday 4th October 2016 2:00pm-4:30pm
Discovering Dunster’s Hidden History
This is a fascinating and easy-going walk around Dunster village

looking at its historic buildings and secret places. About 1.5 miles. Followed by optional tea in the village.
Meet: Dunster Visitor Information Centre, Dunster Steep, Dunster TA24 6SE (Ref. JG)

Wednesday 19th October 2016 10:30am-4:00pm
Anstey Commons and Hawkridge
Join a member of The Exmoor Society in this relatively less known

corner of the National Park. The walk includes three commons, Dane’s Brook, small sections of the Exe Valley and the two Moors Way, and visits Hawkridge. Appx 9 miles, including steep descents and wet underfoot, you will be rewarded with good views of both Exmoor and Dartmoor! Please bring a picnic and wear waterproof clothing and stout footwear. Well behaved dogs welcome.

Meet: Anstey Gate, SW of Hawkridge Grid Ref. 835299 (Ref. MC)

Saturday 22nd October 2016 10:00am-1.00pm
Autumnal Woodland Walk around Dulverton
A guided walk of appx 5 miles around Dulverton to see the splendour of the local woods in autumn. Aim to be back in Dulverton for lunch time. May be muddy under foot and there will be some climbs. Route can be shortened if weather inclement. Well behaved dogs welcome.
Meet: Exmoor Society, 34 High Street, Dulverton TA22 9DJ (Ref. HB)

Friday 28th October 2016 10:30am-4:30pm
Deer on Dunkery
Join this 6ml circular walk on Dunkery’s slopes, in the hope of seeing and hearing Red Deer during the rut. Hilly and rough underfoot. Please bring binoculars and a picnic. Wear weatherproof everything. Dogs on leads welcome.
Meet: Webbers Post. (Ref. JG)

The Society advises that participants take part in activities at their own risk. For all outdoor activities please wear weatherproof clothing and walking boots. Members and non-members are most welcome.
There is no charge for the guided walks.
A small donation is appreciated from non-members.

For any enquiries, please contact The Exmoor Society


01398 323335 www.exmoorsociety.com

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.

Celebrating Exmoor’s 60th Anniversary


A special Conference called ‘Discovering Exmoor : People and Place’ to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Exmoor’s designation as a National Park is to be held in Dulverton Town Hall on Friday, 11April from 10am to 3 pm approximately and all are welcome. The Exmoor Society in partnership with Exmoor National Park Authority has teamed up with Exeter University and the Centre for Rural Policy Research to raise some of the important issues about Exmoor, to discover what has been found out about them, and to influence the debate on how to manage this complex landscape.

Sixty years ago Exmoor was designated a National Park because of its dramatic coastline, extensive tracts of moorland inter-mixed with ancient woodland and upland farmland, the whole establishing a mosaic of contrasts providing recreational opportunities for walking and riding in particular. The Hobhouse Report stated that “here is a potential national park which is happily free from problems”. This statement could not have been further from the truth.

From the beginning there was fierce opposition to the designation and robust debate over loss of moorland, afforestation proposals, changing hill farming practices, dealing with extreme weather conditions, and with little known  about the archaeology, other local businesses, and an only embryo tourist industry. These issues are very relevant today in different ways, and underline the need to discover more about Exmoor, its people and the place.

 The Society is delighted that a range of speakers from Exeter University will be dealing with these aspects, with plenty of opportunity for delegates who are concerned about the different demands we put on Exmoor, to join in the debate. Academics from Exeter University and their research will be covering the following topics:

· Dr Lee Bray – New archaeological discoveries on Exmoor

· Professor Richard Brazier – Can we create resilient landscapes? Understanding the effects

· of moorland restoration on the Exmoor Mires project

· Dr Matt Lobley – Exmoor farming in a changing policy environment

· Dr Stewart Barr – Flooding and Communities

· Discussion with panel : Dr Nigel Stone, Dr Helen Blackman, Meriel Martin & Professor Chris Binnie

· Dr Keith Howe – will conclude on the day’s presentations and debate

A place at the Spring Conference costs £15 per person including refreshments.  To book and for further details contact: info@exmoorsociety.com. Tel: 01398 323335.