“On the third 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.
March saw two nationwide launches and a vital local grant being awarded.
Mend our Mountains launch
A fundraising campaign with a difference was launched in March. The nationwide Mend Our Mountains campaign (which ran until 16 May) was powered by crowdfunding, so donors received a reward in return, including personal experiences donated by outdoor personalities, mountaineers, national parks and the outdoor industry.
Backed by Sir Chris Bonington, Doug Scott CBE and Julia Bradbury, this campaign aimed to raise more than £100,000 to repair damaged paths on some of Britain’s most popular peaks and walks. Booming visitor numbers and smaller budgets meant that national park authorities and conservation bodies struggled to keep up. On Exmoor we focused on the Long Chains Combe repairs (see our blog post here) – in one of the most remote parts of Exmoor, the path had become badly eroded through a combination of high usage and recent heavy rainfall.
8 Point Plan for National Parks
The new Plan for National Parks kickstarted a programme of activity that recognised the important part National Parks can play in a child’s education and the important role that education can play in inspiring a life-long connection with the outdoors. The government protected National Parks’ budgets in the last spending review, committing over £350 million for English National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and forests. The new plan will further secure the future of these iconic protected landscapes, ensuring effective environmental management and growing a strong rural economy. The plan also intends to harness the power of the natural environment to improve national wellbeing, after research published last month by Natural England showed taking part in nature-based activities can contribute to a reduction in anxiety, stress, and depression. It recommended greater use of ‘green care’ to help people suffering from mental ill health, including taking part in environmental conservation – something we do already as part of our Moor to Enjoy project.
Exmoor Hill Farming Network
The Exmoor Hill Farming Network was awarded a grant of £35,000 from our Programmes & Partnerships Budget (an important element in achieving National Park purposes and priorities). The money will enable the Network to continue to operate over the next two years providing information and advice to the farming community on Exmoor. The network does valuable work bringing farmers together, developing new ways of working and helping to ensure that farming continues to underpin the management of the beautiful Exmoor landscape.
Bits & Pieces
- We started our year-long filming with TigerVision in March for a short film that will show how the Exmoor landscape has changed over time
- We (quietly!) launched our blog launch with our first article by one of our colleagues
- We worked with Visit Exmoor to celebrate English Tourism Week by highlighting all the aspects of Exmoor that visitors and locals love
- Hundreds of people attended the Exmoor Tourism Day at The Beach Hotel in Minehead
- 20 volunteers joined us to be trained for the Signal Crayfish Control Project
- On World Poetry Day, we shared the results of years 1 and 2 of our Poetry Box Project
- Mosaic Young Champions celebrated their success with 35 Young Champions having been recruited and over 400 young people introduced to Exmoor National Park through the project)