Exmoor Memories: Why the Stuarts came to Doniford 

Stuart Hubster Lancaster has recently shared some Exmoor photos with us on our Facebook page. He and his family have just returned home from a holiday in Doniford with many trips across Exmoor.

This is what Stuart told us:

Right here goes with the story of why we decided to go to Doniford Bay in the beginning ! It was about 20 years ago I was helping on a removal from Northampton to Williton, there was no room in the front of the lorry so I was in the back looking out as we travelled !

I can remember seeing the sign saying welcome to Warchet. From that day I wanted to go back and visit. It was nine years ago that we were looking to go on our first real family holiday – the now wife left it to me to decide where lol so Doniford Bay it was.

From that first visit we fell in love as the area, the people and the way of life was so relaxed. Since that first visit we pine for our yearly holiday!

We’ve seen Exmoor in glorious sunshine, in wind and rain so as you can probably guess it’s grown to be part of our hearts .

The ponies, the vast flowing hills covered in purple heather, the sheep running here and there across the roads which I love driving, we have so many pictures to choose from it was hard, but there’s some sunset pictures and a few various ones from on top of Exmoor itself all I can say is #heartslieinexmoor 

Regards the Lancasters of Northampton x


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

Where to stay in Minehead: Woodcombe Lodges & Cottages

Woodcombe Lodges & Cottages is a small four star family owned group of six Lodges and two cottages sleeping from 2 up to 10 in 3 acres of gardens with extensive views from  the sea to the slopes of Exmoor.

We are set on a quiet country lane on the boundary of the Exmoor National Park and yet are only a 20 minutes’ walk to the pubs, shops and restaurants of Minehead with its seafront and beach beyond.

The Lodges are all south facing with verandas enjoying the sweeping views over the slopes of Exmoor with glimpses down to the sea. The Lodges and cottages are extremely cosy with space heating throughout and have fully fitted kitchens, dining and sitting areas, televisions and Dvd players. Wifi is available free of charge and in the Lodges but not the cottages.

There are children’s swings, a putting green and a games room onsite with laundry facilities and extensive visitor information. There are a range of walks from the site available for visitors for all abilities.

There are countless things to do around the area for walkers, cyclists, fishermen, golfers, birdwatchers, train enthusiasts and the glory of the Exmoor National Park and the North Devon coast to enjoy. Dunster with its castle are within 4 miles and the Exmoor Owl sanctuary, the West Somerset Steam railway, a day visit to Butlins and the beach are all closer.

We allow one dog per Lodge is most Lodges with two in our largest Lodge which sleeps up to ten. We have three Lodges specially prepared for wheelchair users with two enjoying the benefits of full size shower wet rooms with shower wheelchairs available.

We offer full week lettings from the May bank holiday to the end of September (Saturday changeover), and then short breaks can be taken preferably based on a three day weekend or four day mid-week break between October and the end of May except over Christmas and New year when we offer five night or seven night breaks.

Prices range from £190 in our one bedroom cottage for a short break to £1650 for a full week in our largest Lodge in peak season. We supply linen but not towels or tea towels that can be hired if necessary and have cots and high chairs available free of charge.

This is a family site so we do not normally accept single sex parties or parties where there is not an adult over 25 present without prior arrangement.

Web page www.woodcombelodges.co.uk

Email info@woodcombelodges.co.uk

Telephone 01643 702789

Where to stay on Exmoor: Go glamping at Longlands

Longlands – Five luxury safari lodges set in 17 acres of beautiful countryside, on the western border of Exmoor, overlooking the North Devon coast.  

PIC BY GUY HARROP  25/06/13. Longlands Luxury glamping, Devon From Shoot: Longlands ------------- © guy harrop 01271 850317 www.guyharrop.com info@guyharrop.com

Get close to nature. Immerse yourself in a simpler way of living. Unplug from the daily rush. Reconnect as a family. Bring the dog. Paddle around the lake. Go bug hunting along the stream. Spot deer amongst the ancient beech trees. Build a den. Learn to surf. Meet Exmoor ponies. Explore new places. Enjoy delicious local produce and meals from The Longlands Larder. Toast marshmallows over the fire. Gaze at star filled skies. Snuggle into a warm bed. Wake up Revived.

Unplug, Reconnect, Revive: Glamping at its very best.

Website longlandsdevon.co.uk
Tel 01271 882004

Longlands Farm, Coulsworthy, Combe Martin, North Devon EX34 0PD 

All photos: BY GUY HARROP
© guy harrop   01271 850317     http://www.guyharrop.com     info@guyharrop.com

Memories of Exmoor: The Exmoor Bug

Annette Strauch kindly shared her memories and photos of Exmoor with us:

Nine years ago I visited Exmoor for the very first time with Mark. He had been there many times as it had been a family tradition for him since he was a little English boy with his red hair ready to explore with his boots on and sticks in the hand what he could find next.

It was in the autumn of 2004 – and even back then we stayed in Holy Tree Cottage – in Exford when we came together and stayed for a week. We did many walks then as we did on any visit (the rain never put us off), went to see Dunster, including the castle, of course. On the cobbled stones we even met a giant!

Every time I have visited Exmoor, it was in the autumn. A mysterious time when it gets dark quite early and the local people celebrate Halloween. We’d see some deer in Horner Woods as well and notice the hunting. This last time Mark brought his binoculars.

Then we came again two more times until 2009. Afterwards we were busy working and committed to other things. On all those occasions when we were in Exmoor we had always found new places to explore. One time we did a long walk to Dulverton along the river which Mike, Mark’s Dad had recommended (as well as another walk to Withypool, the place with the beautiful bridge) where this October we visited Gallery Number Seven and bought a book, had a Cream Tea with the tasty clotted cream. In one of the shops there we spoke to two locals who had not walked to Tarr Steps for years and were inspired. They were two elderly ladies but happy to see us so active. One time we went to Bampton Fair which is close to Exmoor and really worth experiencing. Culbone Church is always great to walk to. We have done it twice or even three times now, this autumn from Porlock Weir. Oh, Porlock! I do love the cottages there. Mentioning houses, one needs to write about Selworthy with the lovely buildings there. Wherever you go it is lovely to come back to Exford, seeing Dunkery Beacon (we walked there once, too!!) or maybe a deer or a few – then going out to the White Horse Hotel, having a pint of traditional cider and maybe a venison baguette which seems to be very popular.

So romantic (in a nice way) indeed!

One time we walked in the Lorna Doone Valley with the rucksacks on our backs, fully prepared for a picnic. Along the river we walked – and the characters of the Lorna Doone story became alive. The moorland is breathtaking! In our rucksacks we also had fudge from the fudge shop in Dunster. My favourite is the maple and walnut one.

Watchet plays a role in the Lorna Doone story – and we were looking for fossils there once. If you look long enough you might find an ammonite.

Next time we’d like to bring our bikes and come in spring or in the summer. I’d like to see the heather when it is purple!

And the Exmoor Beast? Well, that is still a mystery!


Letters from Exmoor: On Safari

Barbara Kidder, a visitor from the States, has recently been visiting Exmoor.  She has a set up a blog about her trip to the UK, and here is what she posted about Exmoor:

We went on “safari” in Exmoor today with Neil Osmond, who runs a company called Experience Exmoor. It was absolutely amazing. He went down roads we would never travel and we got to see things we never would have seen on our own. I used the video camera mostly, but did get a few still shots when we stopped and walked a bit. We were out for 6 hours, and could have been out for days and days….it is so beautiful, exciting, pastoral, grand…..so many adjectives apply.

Landscapes change so quickly here….one moment you are on the high moors with broad vistas, and the next you are plunging down a narrow lane into a wooded valley. The weather seems to change just as quickly. Today there was the most 3D sky I have ever seen and one of the most varied. There was deep blue sky with puffy clouds, heavy ominous rain clouds, cumulus clouds way up, and all in the same sky. We turn North and the sky is clear and deep blue, and to the South it is threatening rain.

Here are just a few pictures….Just coming down from the cliffs over Woody Bay

Entering the Valley of the Rocks

This one should actually go before the one above…sorry!

700 BK

701 BK

These shots are on the way, and at a lighthouse that is restricted to National Trust employees and those renting the lighthouse. Neil works with National Trust and has permission to use this road. First pic is of red deer mom and calf high up in the hills as we wound down toward the lighthouse.


702 BK

And one more, of a momma cow and her calves. I know, we have cows at home, but of course I can’t resist. I’m thinking from these faces that they are not pleased with the intrusion. Maybe I should stick to sheep…….

So here are some sheep…..
No, we didn,t hit them….they just gave us dirty looks for being in their road.



If you’d like to read more about Barbara’s experiences in the UK, then pop over to her blog.

Where to stay: The Bark House on the southern edge of Exmoor

Discover the hidden treasures of greater Exmoor from the Exe Valley and the Bark House
A place where you can enjoy a traditional Devon welcome, where cream teas and dinners are served in cosy, cottage style surroundings. Every assistance is given to enable you to get the best from your stay, and to discover those corners of Exmoor and the West Country that appeal to you.

Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Bark House, in the comfortable lounge with open fire, where tea is served and a place to meet other guests, or enjoy mulling over the day. Breakfast and dinners are cooked to order with dishes using local produce from Bampton’s butcher, the local farm shop, and travelling fish monger.

Within easy reach of the Bark house is Anstey Moor and Winsford Hill, Dulverton and Bampton, National Trust properties of Piles Mill and Knightshayes Court, and some great places for horse riding, fishing, water sports, and walking. The Exe Valley is an excellent base to visit sites of historic interest such as Raddington Church, Sweetworthy, Tarr Steps locally, or further afield to Exeter, Dartmoor, and Hartland.

The Bark House is located in the Exe Valley, just south of Dulverton on the A396, and about 20 minutes from jct 27 on the M5. There is ample parking and we will help with baggage. Guests are welcome to bring their dog and there is an area for exercise.

The Bark House
Oakford Bridge
EX16 9HZ

01398 351236



Twitter                 –        @barkhoubandb
News and Views    –  http://thebarkhouse.wordpress.com/
Walks and visits    –   http://barkhousebandb.blogspot.co.uk/

Letter from Exmoor: Life without Limits

wheelchair abseil (mar 2013)

Calvert Trust Exmoor have been accredited as FIVE STAR Quality by Quality in Tourism (The Assessment Service for VisitEngland) , becoming the only five star accredited activity accommodation in the Country.

Calvert Trust Exmoor Logo RGB SquareCalvert Trust Exmoor runs an accessible 60 bed residential activity centre, catering for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities of all ages and levels of ability, together with their families & friends. Activities on offer include canoeing, carriage driving, wheelchair abseiling, accessible cycling and archery. Over 3,500 guests took a break with Calvert Trust Exmoor last year.

Becky Endacott, Contract Services Coordinator at Quality in Tourism, confirmed yesterday that Calvert Trust Exmoor are the only organisation in England to have reached the five star standard for activity accommodation.

Tony Potter, Chief Executive of Calvert Trust Exmoor; “We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised in this way, it’s a great reflection on the hard work of our fantastic team, working together to achieve high standards of customer care. As a specialist accessibility centre its fantastic that we compare favourably with mainstream providers and are the only five star accredited activity accommodation in England”.

Quality in Tourism also assessed the centre against the National Accessible Scheme, and accredited CTE as being suitable for a range of disabilities including older and less mobile guests, Part-time wheelchair users, Assisted wheelchair users, Independent wheelchair users, Visually impaired guests and Hearing impaired guests.

For more information about Calvert Trust Exmoor please contact Rob Lott, Head of Communications on marketingexmoor@calvert-trust.org.uk or 01598 763221 

Calvert Trust Exmoor is the South West’s premier outdoor activity destination for people with disabilities, welcoming over 3,500 guests a year, with the philosophy of “At Calvert Trust Exmoor its what you CAN do that counts”, which sums up our approach to what we do, we help people of all levels of ability to fulfil their potential and be all that they can be.


CalvertTrust Exmoor is the third Calvert Trust Centre, 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.



Audry Hopkins, Heritage House School: “We’re so grateful for all of your help, support and guidance – its been awesome! All praises to a wonderful organisation that actually looks for the positive achievements of all people with physical and learning disabilities. In my twenty years of teaching both mainstream and special educational needs young people, this has easily been the best, most positive experience I have had the fortune to be part of. You deserve award after award.


Martyn & Pauline Clark: “My wife suffers from MS and my grandson has ADHD & ODD, but despite their worries they took part in all the activities and did me proud.  Can we just express our gratitude and thanks for the high standard of accommodation, catering and service that we received, everyone was exceptionally friendly and helpful. I would not hesitate to recommend your establishment to anyone, and the children were asking when they could come back as we were leaving!”


Pete Houghton, RNIB: “Can I say a big thank you to everyone at Calvert Trust Exmoor. It was a truly an inspiring weekend. The care shown by your staff to the visually impaired children was unbelievable and they even had time to help a 50 year old softy like me with a fear of heights.”


Web:             www.calvert-trust.org.uk/exmoor

Blog:              http://pilgrims-progress-exmoor.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/CTExmoor

Twitter:        www.twitter.com/calvertexmoor

YouTube:     www.youtube.com/CalvertTrustExmoorUK


Images from the Calvert Trust Exmoor image bank are available for press use, please contact Rob Lott on marketingexmoor@calvert-trust.org.uk or 01598 763221 with your requirements.



Your favourite National Park in the UK

Exmoor came top of the league in a recent poll conducted by the BBC.  36% of all voters chose Exmoor as their favourite National Park in the UK.  Runner-up Brecon Beacons managed a meagre 13%, the Lake District 12% and the rest scrambled for their share of  1 to 5%.


For the locals, this vote doesn’t come as a surprise:  Exmoor has so much to offer, from the moor to the sea.  Beautiful countryside is the backdrop for holidays as active or relaxing as desired.


Not sure what to do in your next holiday? Do come and see us – you won’t be disappointed!