Photos by Peter Mather.
The 2018 Photo Competition ran on our FB group back in May/June for four weeks. We had meant to turn the top 13 images into a calendar again, but simply ran out of hours in the day to get this organised. However, we now have a new project called “A Year on Exmoor”. More details will be revealed soon, just as the winners of the competition. The standard of entries have yet again been amazing and, in our eyes, every single one deserves to be a winner!
Text and Photos by Sophie Jemma Rose
M Y 4 D A Y S O N E X M O O R. ✨
My heart , my soul and my childhood.
My granddad who sadly passed away two years ago aged 98 used to cycle to and from Porlock pre world war 2 he would go every year when he was a teenager. Then when he had his own children ( my dad being one of two) started taking them to stay in and around Exmoor. From the early 1960’s onwards.
And when I was born in 1995 my family took me and have taken me nearly every year since! I am now 23 and Exmoor has always been and will always be my favourite place. It’s my happy place and the one place where I feel home even though I’m away.
My parents will be retiring there in the near future and I can’t wait to make more memories and to bring my future children there to see and experience the magic Exmoor brings.
Home and already planning and excited to be back! ✨
*** COMPETITION ***
For our new project “A Year on Exmoor” we are looking for your stories and poems about your favourite season and place on Exmoor.
Your story should be no longer than 500 words.
The top four stories and four poems will be chosen by a combined vote by our followers on social media and a small jury.
We already have 13 images from our last Exmoor4all photo competition (the winning entries will be announced with the winning stories and poems!)
Please email your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 January 2019.
Guest Post by Tracey Gemmell
Is it possible for clotted cream to evoke jealousy? Yes, as it turns out, because clotted cream leads to hireth, and hireth ‒ the Cornish word for homesickness with a sense of longing and loss ‒ wakes in me the green-eyed monster. Of course, that silky, smooth nectar of the cows is not the only trigger for this chain reaction. It may be an Exmoor pony on North Hill, or thatched cottages at Selworthy. It may be Landacre Bridge, the Doone Valley, the beach at Porlock Weir. I could go on and on. No matter the image flitting across my laptop portal out here in Wisconsin, USA, jealously follows; directed at those living on Exmoor.
I know, I know. It’s not your fault I don’t live there anymore. The blame for that lies squarely on the shoulders of my American husband. Well, maybe a little bit on my shoulders for leaving my Porlock-based equestrian life to marry an American. Anyway, not a day goes by my soul doesn’t return, and I’m fortunate to get to physically visit twice a year. But I have to leave again, and it gets harder every time. Oh, to live in that place where I sleep the best and breathe the deepest! There’s something otherworldly about Exmoor; a small world, or vast, depending on my mood or exact location. I can walk along Horner Water and feel cocooned, as though swathed in the combe’s deep, comforting folds. Or, from the crown of Porlock Hill, I can gaze up at the entire nightly universe, stunned by its ability to reduce me to nothingness. Sheltered from the world or dwarfed by the universe; my choice on Exmoor.
I selfishly began writing ‘Dunster’s Calling’ as a personal balm for hireth. I could sit 3,842 miles away from Exmoor ‒ though who’s counting? ‒ and hear again the winds whipping across Dunkery Beacon, and hooves clip-clopping through Luccombe. In time, the balm turned into a novel; a humorous, yet poignant, tale of an expat’s search for home. Based on reviews, the tale struck a nerve for other hireth-sufferers ‒ and clotted cream lovers. Readers who’d never heard of Exmoor vowed to visit, and readers who’d never owned a horse fell in love with Dunster, the cheeky Exmoor pony character who guides Sam through her trans-Atlantic dilemma. It seems many can relate to the pull of home.
As I plan my permanent return, I know this for certain: when I finally get there, I’ll recognise the green-eyed monster in the faces of visitors unable to call Exmoor home. And I’ll understand. One question: does clotted cream count as a liquid in carry-on luggage?
Tracey Gemmell’s novel, ‘Dunster’s Calling’ is available worldwide on Amazon. A percentage of royalties is donated to the Moorland Mousie Trust, working to promote and protect the endangered rare-breed Exmoor pony.
Visit Tracey on Twitter @TraceyGemmell17, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/author.traceygemmell/, Instagram traceygemmellauthor or at www.traceygemmell.com.
Tracey Gemmell will be at the Exmoor Store
in Minehead (1 Friday Street, TA24 5UB)
on 10 November 2018, 2pm:
I will tell you a wonderfull story of our last day in Exmoor National Park.
As I said it was the last day in the first days of September before heading back to Germany…
The weather forecast was really bad. Cloudy and rainy. We decided to go one more time to look at the herd, me and my group of photographers followed the last days. Not for making photos only to say goodbye to them. It didn´t take a long time to find them, because we know were they are yesterday. Because of the bad weather we mentioned that they do not have done so much wandering in the night. So it was. Unfortunately we found them it began to rain. The herd were heading in direction to the coastline and we followed them. Then it begins to be excited… The Ponies went into a forest with a lot of fern and began to eat this. The conditions for making photos are the worst. No light / brightness and rain 🙂. Doesn’t matter we followed them… And then the ponies let us near to them they never did before. Saying to us: Come on human, come with us in the forest there is not so heavy rain. My serial of photos shows some of my favorites photos ever that I have done from the exmoor ponies. Never thought that on this rainy day I would make nearly 1000 photos. Enjoy!
Yours Martin Buschmann
P.S. Next year we will come back. Thank you to the wild animals and the friendly people of Porlock.
In tribute to Johnny Kingdom, the BBC are repeating three episodes of his wildlife programme. Here is the link to Episode 1, in case you missed it. The other two episodes are shown tonight and tomorrow night on BBC4.
Johnny Kingdom, gravedigger-turned-amateur filmmaker spends a year recording the bird life in and around his home on his beloved Exmoor.
Johnny has spent three years creating a wildlife habitat on his 52-acre patch of land on the edge of Exmoor. He’s been busy nailing nest boxes on tree trunks, planting a wildflower meadow, dredging his pond, putting up remote cameras and wiring them up to a viewing station in his cabin on the land – all the time hoping against hope that not only will he attract new wildlife but also that he will be able to film it.
This year he is turning his attention to the bird life, hoping to follow some of the species he finds near his home and on his land, across the seasons. We see the transitions from the lovely autumn mists of the oak wood, through the sparkling snow-clad landscape of a north Devon winter, into spring’s woodland carpet of bluebells and finally the golden glow of early summer. The bulk of the series is from Johnny’s own camera. Don’t expect the Natural History Unit – instead expect passion, enthusiasm, humour and an exuberant love of the landscape and its wildlife.
The series begins at the end of autumn, with Johnny clearing out bird boxes and sorting out his new remote cameras in preparation for the winter. There are two birds in particular that he wants to film – the great spotted woodpecker and the wren. But the harsh winter looks as if it could spell trouble for the wrens and it will be spring before Johnny knows how well they have fared.
He has better luck with the woodpecker and eventually finds their roost. Meanwhile, at home, he struggles to get shots of a mistle thrush as his wife Julie and his neighbours disturb this shy bird as it feasts on a rowan tree.
Here is the link to Episode 1 which was shown yesterday on BBC4 in case you missed it. The next two episodes can be watched tonight and tomorrow.
(Photo of Johnny Kingdom taken from his Facebook page)
Budding stargazers and astrophotographers can learn about the magic of Exmoor’s night skies thanks to a new short film released by Westcountry-based course provider Dark Sky Destinations.
The 5-minute film has been produced to give visitors to Exmoor, and potential course attendees, an idea of why the region is so special for astronomy.
On the 8th September, Dark Sky Destinations will be holding its first astrophotography course on Exmoor.
Led by astronomer Will Gater, the evening course – entitled “An introduction to nightscape astrophotography” – will explore the art and science of how to capture beautiful nightscape photos with a DSLR camera. If the weather is good, the course will finish with a guided practical workshop under Exmoor’s exquisitely dark night skies where delegates will have a chance to put what they’ve learnt into practice with their own equipment.
A small number of spaces are left on the September course, so if you don’t want to miss out book your place via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-introduction-to-nightscape-astrophotography-tickets-44449838664 (booking in advance is required).