2016 Review – January

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Exmoor Ponies on Winsford Hill (Photo credit: Pete Rae)

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me”. We’re following the Twelve Days of Christmas theme to look back on some of the activities, events and news items that provided an insight into life at Exmoor National Park through 2016.

Today’s post brings back the memories of January 2016 – from our calendar picture of Exmoor Ponies on Winsford Hill, through CareMoor and Moor to Enjoy successes to new funding grants.

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We kicked the new year off with a great start by having our gifting scheme, CareMoor for Exmoor formally trade-marked. This gave us many more opportunities to promote our funding programme, where donations go directly towards supporting important conservation and access work across the National Park.

Moor to Enjoy

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Visit to the Hawk & Owl Centre as part of the Moor to Enjoy project

Later in the month, our Moor to Enjoy project hosted a visit from the staff at Musgrove Hospital cancer department to the Hawk & Owl Centre in Porlock. There is growing evidence that being in ‘green space’ is great for both physical and mental health, so the natural resources Exmoor National Park provides play a vital role in supporting people’s well-being. This visit (one of the many and various activities which took place throughout the year) provided great feedback by the participants: “Just exactly what I need-uplifting, physically, mentally and spiritually”; “I never take time out for myself – often feel guilty as I work full time and feel I need to be with my family at the weekend. This was an absolute pleasure and will now allow myself at least once a month to get out and get in touch with nature. Thank you.”

Carbon Neutral Exmoor

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Solar panels on Dunster Football Club pavilion

Towards the end of the month, we announced a new round of funding grants from the Carbon Neutral Exmoor project were available to support community-based renewable energy projects. This followed on from the 20 plus existing successful community projects which had incorporated a range of technology, from solar pv to woodchip heating systems. This work not only helped to reduce the cost of fuel bills, but also enabled the provision of modern facilities within community buildings such as sport clubs (such as Dunster Football Club’s pavilion), village halls, community owned shops, schools and even a pub – all whilst helping to reduce carbon emissions within Exmoor National Park.

Headwaters of the Exe Launch

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Left to right: Bea Davis (Headwaters of the Exe project manager), Adam Lockyear (Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West), John Hickey (Westcountry Rivers Trust), Katherine Williams (Exmoor Hill Farming Network), Stanley Johnson, Mark Thomasin-Foster (Chair of Headwaters of the Exe steering group). Photo by Steve Guscott/ENPA

On the 22nd Hawkridge Village Hall hosted the launch of the Headwaters of the Exe project by Stanley Johnson – former MEP, author, journalist, environmentalist and local landowner. The project is working with farmers and land managers to ensure good water quality in the catchment of the River Exe, as part of South West Water’s Upstream Thinking programme.

As well as presentations from the project partners, the launch also included a nearby river walk to discuss water quality issues. The Headwaters of the Exe project covers an area of 27,559 hectares and includes the upper Exe, the Rivers Barle, Quarme, Pulham, Haddeo and smaller tributaries, as well as Wimbleball Reservoir.

Bits & Pieces

  • Exmoor Stargazers got busy again for the perfect night skies as part of our Dark Sky Reserve
  • We put the word out for organisations who ‘Loved Our National Park‘ and would help spread the word about how National Parks support people’s health and well being
  • We celebrated Thesaurus Day with sharing some of Exmoor’s finest synonyms
  • Exmoor Photographer Julia Amies-Green’s “Shades of Red” photograph was being voted for in Countryfile Magazine’s Reader Photo of the Year competition

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