2016 Review – May

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Bluebell woods near Monksilver (Photo credit: Nigel Stone)

“On the fifth 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.

May burst into life with a couple of launches, walking related events and an honourable mention at the Chelsea Flower Show!

Exmoor Views Blog Launch

blogWe added to our online and social media activities by formally launching the Exmoor Views blog that you are now reading! The aim is to provide a less formal means for people who share our love of Exmoor to express their views and opinions

Whilst the blog was started in March, (our first article was by one of our interns, sharing her experience of daily life at Exmoor National Park), we made sure to collect views and opinions before its first public viewing in May. By then we had covered a wide range of topics, from discussion about rewilding to a ‘Name our Exmoor Pony Foal‘ competition.

We hope you agree it’s worth it – and please feel free to send in pieces for publication!

Exmoor’s Walking App Launched

appAlso in May, we launched a new way to discover Exmoor using your smartphone (either Apple or Android) – the Exmoor Walking app.Once loaded, it will alert you to information hot spots, where you can listen to expert audio commentary, send a virtual postcard or even ask us a question!

The app featured information on key sites such as hidden heritage through pictures, text and audio; GPS tracking to alert you to content; GPS Walking Routes (with embedded content so you are not reliant on network signal); “Ask the expert” when you’ve seen something and want to know what it is – just send us a photo and our experts will tell you, plus you can send a virtual postcard via your smartphone

20th Anniversary of the Exmoor Walking Festival

Having organised nearly 800 guided walks enjoyed by over 4,500 walkers, this year’s Walking Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in style with 32 guided walks, from Croyde to Watchet and down to Dulverton. The festival organiser, Bryan Cath, put its success down to the many regulars who use the festival as their guided walking holiday. “It gives people the confidence to come back at other times to walk in our beautiful scenery.” The walking festival coincided with the 40th Anniversary of the Two Moors Way – more of this in our September review!

Chelsea Flower Show

cleve-west-gardenThis year’s Chelsea Flower Show has a special resonance for us as designer Cleve West’s Gold Medal winning garden had been inspired by the designer’s memory of ancient oak woodland in Exmoor National Park, where he had spent his teenage years. But rather than replicate a particular scene, Cleve paid contemporary homage to the landscape that made such an early impression on him in his design of The M&G Garden. As they described it on their website: “A stone and gravel path through woodland-edge planting leads the visitor beyond stunted oaks and rocks to a smoother path, a sunken terrace and pool. An oak boundary frames the garden and the overriding oak theme is a metaphor for the sponsor’s values: strength, growth and longevity.”

Bits & Pieces

  • The Mend our Mountains campaign closed its pledges, while we waited to see how much would be made available for Long Chains Combe
  • As part of National Mills Weekend (when windmills and watermills across the country were open and working), both Simonsbath Sawmill and the National Trust’s Dunster Watermill could be seen in action
  • We shared a stunning picture of the Milky Way taken by Keith Trueman

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