A Walk in the Woods

Horner Wood is an ancient wood pasture on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate. Some trees are up to 500 years old. It is the habitat for an abundance of wildlife and could tell many stories.  You’ll see pollarded oak trees on your walk through the woods and hopefully spot some Red Deer. Horner Wood used to provide locals with fuel, winter fodder and wood for their tools. Today it is a perfect place to get away from it all.

All photos by Bert Craznak.

NEWS FROM EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK: Help us to bridge the gap

A fundraising campaign has been launched by Exmoor National Park’s CareMoor for Exmoor* to replace a much loved feature of Exmoor – Woodside bridge, which has provided a crossing of the East Lyn river near Lynmouth for over a hundred years.

Woodside Bridge had to be removed last December following an inspection which revealed that the softwood timber beams had come to the end of their life. The bridge was replaced in the 1950s after the Lynmouth Flood and again in 1993 by the Royal Engineers working with Exmoor National Park. At 17.3m/57feet, the structure is the longest single span countryside bridge in the National Park.

Thousands of people used the bridge each year to enjoy the short, easy circuit  taking in Middleham Memorial Gardens along with the beauty and wildlife of the river and woodland valley. The bridge is an important link for visitors and the local businesses which they support.

Dan Barnett, Access & Recreation Manager at Exmoor National Park said: Many people are surprised to learn that the bridge is not recorded as a public right of way which means there is no duty for local authorities to replace it, so we need your help.

“We are keen to replace the bridge as soon as funds allow so we are asking visitors, residents and anyone who cares about Exmoor to make a donation. Any amount, large or small, will help and we hope to reach our target by Christmas which will allow us to get the bridge installed ready for Easter next year when the main visitor season begins.

“We now have a price of £65,000 to install a high quality new structure. This is a steel beam supported bridge with hardwood timber work which will have a very long design life.”

The land where the bridge is sited is owned by The National Trust, which is a partner in this project. 

For more information and to contribute to the Woodside fund please visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor/woodside

 

Porlock Marsh BioBlitz Wildlife Adventure Day

Wannabe wildlife explorers, young and old, are invited for a day of discovery to help find out what’s living on Porlock Marsh, on the coast of Exmoor National Park. The Porlock Marsh BioBlitz Wildife Adventure Day takes place from12 noon on Saturday 9 July to 12 noon on Sunday 10 July 2016, based in Bossington village, and everyone is welcome. 

The team of experts on hand will be looking for people to help them to identify as many birds, bugs, plants and beasties over 24 hours as possible. There will be events for kids, grown-ups, beginners and experts running throughout the day … and night.

For families and beginners, there will be stacks of activities to help introduce everyone to nature, including a chance to join a guided walk looking for birds, butterflies, bugs and saltmarsh plants, or join the sea-watch crew looking for porpoises and seabirds. ‘Night owls’ can join the creatures of the night walk to look for bats and moths, and get up close to real owls from the Exmoor Hawk and Owl Centre. Or early birds can join the breakfast bird walk and see some of the creatures that have been spotted overnight at Basecamp.

Amateur naturalists can join one of the survey teams, led by local experts and enthusiasts, and take part in identifying and recording particular wildlife groups and help complete the big nature survey. Just like the wildlife, different teams will be active at different times of day so people can change groups if they wish.

All activities are free, but numbers may be limited for some walks. See the programme at http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/bioblitz for full details or follow us on Twitter @WildlifeENPA, #pmbioblitz. 

The BioBlitz is being organised as part of the Porlock Marsh Vision project. Project Manager Clare Reid said “The BioBlitz is a great opportunity for people to get involved in surveying the wildlife of Porlock Marsh. It will help us to understand more about what’s living on the Marsh, and what’s special about it, and hopefully we’ll have lots of fun finding out! We’re very grateful to the two landowners – the National Trust and Porlock Manor Estate, and to Mike Dyer for the use of his barn for our Basecamp.  We’d also like to thank all the activity leaders and volunteers for helping to run the event.” 

Nigel Hester, from the National Trust which is hosting the event, said “We are very pleased to be working with our partners Exmoor National Park Authority, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Somerset Environmental Records Centre, Natural England and the Exmoor Natural History Society to put on this event. Porlock Marsh has changed significantly since the breach in the shingle ridge 20 years ago, so this BioBlitz provides a great opportunity for us to find out more about how wildlife is adapting to the changes since then. Let’s hope we can rack up a great species list – and perhaps even find something rare.”

A range of accommodation is available locally including hotels, B&Bs, and campsites. Anyone that would like help in finding suitable accommodation should contact the Porlock Visitor Centre, telephone: (01643) 863150, email: visit@porlock.co.uk

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 The Porlock Marsh BioBlitz Wildlife Adventure Day will be based at Bossington village, accessed from the A39 Minehead to Porlock road. Additional car parking will be provided in Bossington village. Please follow local signage.

The BioBlitz will run from 12 noon on Saturday 9 July, to 12 noon on Sunday 10 July. Some activities will be running throughout the day, and there are a number of specific surveys and guided walks which will take place at particular times – please check the website for the full programme and detailed timetable. All events are subject to change and some may be weather and tide dependent. 

Please take care when visiting Porlock Marsh, keep to the footpaths and be aware of the tide times as the Marsh and some footpaths will be flooded at high tide, including the boardwalks.

A range of accommodation is available locally including hotels, B&Bs, and campsites. Please contact Porlock Visitor Centre if you need help in finding suitable accommodation. Tel: (01643) 863150, email: visit@porlock.co.uk

The BioBlitz is being organised as part of the Porlock Marsh Vision project, a partnership project promoting the conservation and enjoyment of Porlock Marsh. For further information about the project, go to http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/Whats-Special/porlock-marsh-vision

Photo: Porlock Marsh, credit:  Dan James/ENPA

 

 

Letter from Exmoor: Blown away on a Coastal Safari

Originally posted by Experience Exmoor on 15/07/2014 and by Ester Spears on 12/07/2014

We love the summer months as we get so many daylight hours to go out and explore Exmoor.

One of the safaris we go on in the evenings when the weather allows it, is the Coastal Safari Special. Visitors who book this experience are usually blown away by it. Metaphorically, just to reassure you ;-).

Of course a Coastal Safari along the National Trust track we can access, is spectacular at any time of the year and day, but when the light changes and the sun is setting on these summer evenings, the experience is particularly magical.

Last week we were joined by local photographer Ester Spears on one of our Coastal Safari Specials. He posted these pictures and comments in his blog:

Where Exmoor meets the sea

The piece of coast from Combe Martin to Lynmouth is surely one of the most dramatic and magical places in North Devon. There’s so much stuff crammed into this little area that no wonder the rich, the famous and the romantics have made this coast where Exmoor meets the sea, their home now, in recent centuries and in not so recent centuries: (With evidence of bronze age through to Roman settlements certainly and possibly earlier). Despite the obvious human attempt to graffiti the landscape with tracks and parish, the influence of the indomitable moor is always present as a bleak and harsh backdrop. There’s cliffs, coves, woodlands, hidden valleys, moorland, waterfalls and ancient woodlands, abundant wildlife and beautiful flora and it is all on display in wonderful awe-inspiring ‘technicolor’ at this time of year when the sun sneaks around the north side of Morte Point to highlight the Exmoor Coast.

Please click on the pic to make it big, coz as you know bigger is better.

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The starting point for most, Valley of the Rocks (above) and below (normal view).

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Here’s the whole coast, looking across Woody Bay, Crock Point, Duty Point, Valley of the Rocks and Foreland Point in the distance with it’s lighthouse.

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No photo trip to the moor would be be complete without a deer sighting, these two hinds obliged, chewing on some wild flower meadow in the late evening sun.

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Woods, ponies and sunset.

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Many thanks to my mate, Neil Osmond of Exmoor Experience, what a great safari. Please check out the website and enjoy the experience of someone who born on the moor (well in a village on the moor); http://www.experienceexmoor.co.uk/

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Canon 5D mk 3 with some L glass: 600mm IS f4, 24-70mm f2.8 ll, 70-300mm IS f4-f5.