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spring issue 2016 front coverWelcome to the Spring issue of Exmoor Magazine. This is our 74th issue and so our 20th birthday year is now upon the horizon!

The magazine exists to celebrate all that is beautiful and fascinating about this very special part of the country, from the most well-known features and flora and fauna of the landscape, to its best-kept secrets, and, over the past two decades, our writers have also enjoyed meeting hundreds people willing to share their memories of a very special way of life, as well as many artists, adventurers, farmers and business people who have discussed their experiences of surviving, thriving and creating on Exmoor.

In this issue’s flora and fauna cast we have reedbed wildlife, grey seals, alliums, combes and streams and Rosemary FitzGerald explores one of the most colourful features of an Exmoor spring, with an in-depth look at our native bluebells and some of the factors which threaten them. Dr Ralph Fyfe explores how the high moors might once have looked and why they appear as they do today and Sue Viccars heads out to the Hangmans for a fabulous, varied walk starting at Combe Martin.

Jeff Cox looks at a key turning-point, which came relatively late in the day on Exmoor: the arrival of the motor age. Readers Jackie and Allan Winter, however, stick to muscle power, and share their experiences of cycling around Exmoor on a tandem, whilst racing trainer Victor Dartnall and family share their memories of a life growing up with horses with Elaine Pearce.

Michelle Werrett meets the brains behind the new Exmoor Horn Wool Project, Mel Roach talks to Paul South about his green foresting and coppicing venture and Ian Jarmarkier brings an Eastern European twist to our Easter recipes

There are some very well-known names too – the Hawkridge Antler Men, Tom Lock and Rob Follett, and we are lucky enough to once again feature the work of the late James Ravilious, in an evocative portrait of the Character of our Coast. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, meanwhile, has kindly allowed Mary Bromiley to feature this issue’s most endearing star – terrier Bothie, the four-legged polar explorer.

We hope that you enjoy reading all this and more as the days begin to lengthen and some of Exmoor’s best months approach.

Naomi, Elaine & Sue