View From… An Exmoor Volunteer


We thought we’d do a ‘double bill’ as part of our ‘View From’ occasional series. Our last article featured our Volunteer and Outreach Officer sharing his ‘Night-in-the-Life-of’ role  – this article focuses on how one of our volunteers, Philip Coole, decided to #GetInvolved in volunteering for Exmoor National Park.

East Lyn River

“I first visited Exmoor just over fifty years ago and fell in love with the place straight away – and have been coming back to visit pretty regularly ever since! I was lucky enough to be able to move here a year after I retired, which proved to be an excellent decision!

I have always enjoyed my walking (which I still do) and then took an interest in the Pavilion Project in Lynmouth when it started and what they were doing. This gave me the opportunity to #GetInvolved and learn a great deal about the wildlife and heritage that Exmoor has.

River fly larvae identification course

I attended a talk and then a course on River Fly identification, and am now involved in taking samples of river fly larvae on a regular basis – three times a year, on five different sites along the East Lyn. All of this data is returned to the RiverFly Partnership scheme who are now able to build up a picture of the species on the river and any changes that occur, very important when analyzing the health of the river.

Caddis fly cases

I have also attended courses and talks on Lichen species in the Atlantic Woodlands of the South West, fascinating, and have continued to go out to various places all over the moor to see which ones are present.

The more you do, they say, the more you want to “get involved”, which is precisely what is happening with me.

One of the beautiful Dragonflies that result from larvae identification.

I am now also part of a group surveying butterfly species on Exmoor, on a weekly basis from Spring until Autumn. I have recently been on a few fungi walks run by Exmoor National Park and am now getting out to build up a picture of all the species of fungi on Exmoor (of which there are many!). I am now also taking part in a Dormouse survey to identify the numbers around in the hedgerows.

Bats is the next topic! Having recently attended a walk on the different species around us, I hope (by Spring) to have at least a couple of transects in my area to build a picture on bat numbers and species.

There are so many other things that are happening: tree identification, ferns and mosses and many many others! I am also hoping to look into the different species of grasses that are growing on Exmoor.

None of these would be possible for me to do without drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the staff and visiting speakers at Exmoor National Park and the National Trust. These organisations do an amazing and very important job analyzing the health and well-being of Exmoor.

I would like to say “Thank You” for all that you do, and for allowing me to be involved. I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it and hopefully, in a small way, am able to give something in return. Keep up the good work.

My walks will never be the same again!!”

We’re very glad for volunteers like Philip, without whom Exmoor National Park couldn’t achieve anywhere near the amount of work it does. If you’ve been inspired by Philip’s ‘View From’, you can find out more by visiting our #GetInvolved page and signing up for news and information.

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