The Buttery at Malmsmead

A mystical valley surrounded by peaceful walks in the countryside made famous by RD Blackmore.

The Lorna Doone Valley was made famous by RD Blackmore in his famous novel Lorna Doone. Today you can enjoy the extensive walks, bridleways and tea room, or stay longer at the Cloud Farm Campsite where you can sleep underneath the stars in a dark sky reserve. 

Explore the valley and wider area, including Watersmeet and Foreland Point on the miles of waymarked footpaths, by bike or even on horseback. Nothing beats a good hot drink after a great adventure. Our tea and coffee are from fairtrade suppliers and we’ve also got a great range of herbal teas. For a real treat, we do a luxurious hot chocolate and of course, we are also famous for our cream teas – delicious any time of year.

A National trust car park and public toilets can be found at here. The buttery is fully accessible, please enquire about accessible parking, near to the Buttery.

The Buttery, Malmsmead, Lynton, EX35 6NU
Open 10.30-5 pm daily (1 April – 31 October)

Beavers to return to Exmoor

The National Trust has announced that Exmoor’s Holnicote Estate has been chosen as one of two areas in the UK where beavers will be introduced to help rivers help manage climate change.

“We’re releasing beavers at Holnicote in Somerset and Valewood on the edge of the South Downs to improve flood management and support wildlife on our rivers. The beavers will help make areas of the river more resilient to climate change and the extremes of weather it will bring. The dams they create will hold water in dry periods, help to lessen flash-flooding downstream, reduce erosion and improve water quality.”

River Aller, Exmoor in Somerset

Reconnecting our rivers and streams to the surrounding landscape guards against severe weather and attracts a greater variety of plants and animals. In what is the first project of its kind in the UK, we’re trialling groundbreaking work to protect our rivers from climate change and flooding and protect wildlife. We’ve partnered with the Environment Agency and European programme Interreg 2 Seas Co-Adapt to restore a tributary of the river Aller, which passes through the Holnicote Estate.

The waterways that flow through these confined sites in Porlock Vale respond rapidly to rainfall, and pose a flood risk to settlements downstream. We’re working to slow the flow of these streams by reconnecting them with the floodplain – allowing the wider landscape to absorb the effects of the weather. This will also improve conditions for wildlife that lives in the streams such as eels and brook lampreys, as well as otters and the resident bat population that forages and breeds nearby.

According to an article in The TelegraphBen Eardley, project manager for the National Trust at Holnicote, said: “Our aim is that the beavers become an important part of the ecology at Holnicote, developing natural processes and contributing to the health and richness of wildlife in the area.

“Their presence in our river catchments is a sustainable way to help make our landscape more resilient to climate change and the extremes of weather it will bring.”

Two families of beavers will be released into two wooded enclosures in Porlock Vale which will be fenced so the impact of the animals on the local ecology and the river can be assessed and understood with the support of Exeter University and other organisations.

The Guardian quotes Eardley: “The beavers will help us achieve a more natural flow pattern, slowing, cleaning and storing water and developing complex river habitats. The dams the beavers create will hold water in dry periods, help to lessen flash flooding downstream and reduce erosion and improve water quality by holding silt.”

The beavers will be transferred from Scotland, where they have been successfully breeding since being reintroduced in 2006. The National Trust beavers are expected to breed and when the young become mature they will need to be moved, possibly to other sites owned or run by the charity.

A footpath will run close to the pens on the Holnicote estate which will allow members of the public to catch a glimpse of the animals.

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:


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 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:


 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:

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

Photo: Porlock Marsh, credit:  Dan James/ENPA