Exmoor Memories: When I fell in Love with Exmoor

I first fell in love with Exmoor and Porlock in the Eighties.

My dad was in the Metropolitan police force,  pay wasn’t great back then, he had a wife and two young children, so he couldn’t afford to go on expensive holidays. He heard from a W.P.C that she had a holiday in Porlock. Other PCs had been there and heard how lovely it was and it was a reasonable price so he booked a week there.
We loaded up the Morris mariner:  there was my mum and dad, my nan, my brother and myself – and our seven and a half stone boxer dog on the backseat.
The roof rack was full of luggage and my dad’s sea fishing rods and lead weights. Now thinking back I am surprised the poor car ever made it down there.
We didn’t know anything about Porlock and Exmoor. It was an adventure, mum handed out the rolls while dad was driving and the odd foxes glacier mint. When we saw the signs for Porlock you could feel the anticipation when we started to drive down Dunster steep and the sea and the landscape unfolded before us – it was just breathtaking, just so beautiful. We turned left into Doverhay and found our holiday cottage. We were so excited. When had unpacked we had a wander along the high street – it had everything you wanted:  two bakeries, Stenners and Burgess, three banks and grocery shops. We had such a lovely holiday there we kept going on holiday down there for fifteen years.
I’ve known Exmoor and Porlock for thirty years now. It got me loving nature and wildlife and it’s shaped the person who I am today.
I absolutely love it and still go down there every year on holiday. Take care all.

By Trevor Parsons

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


Exmoor Memories 

Yesterday we shared this photo by Wayne Durant on our Facebook page. It shows the sunset between Lynmouth and Porlock. The photo triggered an Exmoor Memory:

You share the most beautiful photos of the area. When I was a young fella growing up in England, my Dad used to tell me stories about his young life with my Mother when they used to ride their tandem up the hill time after time between Lynton and Lynmouth just for the exilleration of riding back down.

David Bassman

Do you have any memories of Exmoor? We would love to hear from you.

Email your story to exmoor4all@gmail.com 💛

Secret Location Dining on Exmoor: A Mediterranean Feast

Join us for our second Secret Location Dining event for an evening of good food, a stunning location and a bit of a mystery where we are going to take you!

If you are dreaming of a sunny holiday in the Mediterranean, of eating delicious, freshly prepared food in a Taverna with a glass of wine while watching the sun go down over the sea – then this is the event for you.  Our South African Chef Sam and his team will serve up a delicious Mediterranean buffet to remind you of hot evenings in Spain or Greece. Hopefully the Exmoor weather will do the rest!

And here is the new menu:

Starter (Sharing Platter)
A selection of charcuterie from Somerset Charcuterie
Served with –
Cheese Stuffed mini peppers
Grilled Haloumi

Mains (Buffet)
Smokey Albondigas with tomato salsa
Yoghurt marinated chicken skewers cooked on the BBQ
Lebanese style lamb kebabs
Stuffed sweet peppers (v)
Patatas bravas (v)
Tabbouleh (v)
Greek Salad (v)
Vegetable couscous with harissa dressing (v)

Honey pistachio tart with yogurt.

Your Ticket includes:

  • Transport to and from the venue
    (pick-up from West Somerset Railway Station in Minehead at 7pm)
  • A “Travel Bag” with a 20cl bottle of Prosecco and a few other goodies to enjoy on your scenic journey to the venue
  • A choice of Pimms or Raspberry Prosecco Cocktail on arrival
  • Home-made Lemonade
  • Half a bottle of wine
  • The full menu (see above – and possibly even more!)

PS We are hoping to be able to dine al fresco. But if it is too cold, to wet or too windy, then we will retreat indoors and admire the stunning view through large windows!


Exmoor Memories: Wimbleball Lake


Jane Carey shared this image of Wimbleball Lake which she took two days ago.  In response, a number of our Facebook followers posted their memories of Wimbleball Lake:

“We love this place, but sadly Alfie has damaged his tail because he wags it too much when he’s swimming – which he did yesterday! He’s sprained his tail – according to the vet. Never knew this was possible, but now he’s on anti-inflammatories! Poor Alf – tail at half mast, but still wagging gently.”  (Maureen Young )

 “I have fond memories of walking here with my parents. Maureen – didn’t know a dog could wag too much, hope Alfie is better soon.” (Julie Sturmer )

120-tracy-sumner-wimbleball-lake “Love running around this lake, one of my favourite trails.” (TracySumner)

I have walked around this lake a few year ago before I had the chest problem.” (Derek Johnson)

“I’ve been swimming in there! I was about 9 or 10 at the time and was on a school trip.” (Steve Worzel Harriss)

 “I remember going fishing there back in 1982.” (Brian Miller)

Do you have memories of Wimbleball Lake?

Memories of Exmoor: The Small Farmer

by David Hill

In the 1950s there weren’t the number of large farms there are today around Exmoor. By and large small farmers were the norm, and if you were farming land with an acreage of over a hundred acres you were considered a big farmer.

One Monday, dad sat down at the dinner table with a broad smile on his face, “Apt us should be having cold pork,” he said as he ladled out a large dollop of bean chutney, made from a recipe passed on to us from my two Methodist Sunday school teacher great aunts, who were really first cousins once removed. Before speaking again, he added the customary mountain of salt to the side of his plate.”Little Leslie have had an accident.”

I pricked up my ears. Little Leslie was a near neighbour and he was a little, short man.

“What sort of accident?” Asked mum. “It’s no smiling matter.”

“Just let’s say he’s a smaller farmer now than when he got up this morning. Out feeding the pigs when one upped and bit one of his fingers off.”

I wanted to ask which finger, but a look from my aged maiden aunt indicated she knew what I was thinking, and I thought better of it.

Grace was said, and dad, having heard the five to one weather forecast, turned off the wireless. “He was lucky,” continued dad.

“How do you make that out. He’ve just lost a finger,” added my aunt.

“Lucky the pig wasn’t really hungry, otherwise he might have eaten all of little Leslie and not just his finger,” laughed dad.

As mum and my aunt joined in the laughter I stared at my cold pork, my appetite not quite what it was, wondering to myself if the pig that I had eaten yesterday and was about to eat again today had ever chewed up a finger.


There are only fifty copies left of THE FARMHOUSE TREE now so that’s pretty good from  900 copies, and they should go quickly following the Radio Devon readings. My editor and publisher is thrilled and says it is very good for a small publisher.I’m thrilled because so far my two charities have each received £500. I owe my little primary school at Bishops Nympton so much.

Christopher Lillicrap, a children’s  TV presenter, will be reading five 6 minute extracts from my book THE FARMHOUSE TREE  on Radio Devon. Book of the month on The Judi  Spiers Show. First reading around ten past ten on March 21st and then on the next four consecutive Fridays at the same time.

You kindly did a feature on the book back along.

My royalty cheques have been sent to my old primary school at Bishops Nympton and Michael Morpurgo for the Farms for City Children.

Am now hard at work on, what will hopefully be, a  follow up book  – LEAVES FROM THE FARMHOUSE TREE. Have finished third, and hopefully final draft. Less sadness in this one,with more recollections of my aged maiden aunt and the life of a nine year old boy on the family farm Eastacott, at East Knowstone.It includes the tale of the two brothers who lived in a hen house and also my aged maiden aunt’s recipe for her yum-yum-pig’s-bum home made butterscotch which I wrote about in my first book. Up and coming article in Western Morning News is about the old smithy at East Knowstone.