Category Archives: Active Exmoor


One of Wellington School’s Sixth Formers has successfully achieved the coveted Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Charlotte Galley, 17, who is a School Captain, has completed a personal programme of activities in five different disciplines: Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and a Residential. The Gold Award is renowned for being notoriously difficult to achieve, as it is such a challenging experience which requires dedication, stamina and ingenuity.

“The whole experience was very demanding but hugely enjoyable,” commented Charlotte. “I was involved in many different challenges, ranging from singing in the Chapel Choir and the prestigious ensemble Girl Force 9, winning a full hockey colour, to a four-day expedition in the Brecon Beacons. I also went to HMS Raleigh for a sailing course at Jupiter Point, where I was awarded my RYA Dinghy Level 2 and I am also Company Sergeant Major in the CCF and have my own company. This year I have been helping them to progress through their basic training.”

Achieving the Gold Award is a huge achievement. It shows that the candidate has the skills, determination and mentality to really succeed, so there is a proper celebration of the achievement at the Gold Award Presentations (GAPs). Charlotte will be invited to London to be presented with her award at St James’ Palace by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Earl of Wessex.


After organising 20 festivals over 16 years, Bryan Cath is retiring from co-ordinating the Exmoor Walking Festival. Over its time almost 5,000 people have attended walks across Exmoor and North Devon during the main festival in May plus a few additional festivals.

Exmoor Tourism are keen to build on the legacy of this, as well as the success of the Coast Festival developed over the past three years, and are seeking to host a combined festival promoting walking, adventure and activities for all throughout the month of May.

It will be run on similar lines to the Coast Festival with different organisations, communities and businesses invited to set up and run their own events which will be collectively marketed and promoted under an overarching banner to attract additional coverage and reach. Not only will the events benefit those running them and the areas in which they are hosted, but the festival will help to highlight the myriad activities available within Exmoor throughout they ear.

Further details are currently being developed but if you are interested in finding out more please contact


We received this letter from Christina, who is a reader, and thought we would share it far and wide in case anyone would like to help…

PLEASE NOTE: You can donate whatever amount you like on the crowd funding page; the larger amounts only relate to the free outdoor activities.

Dear all,

My daughter has been kayaking with volunteers from SASP (Somerset Activities Sports Partnership) for three years now, where she has learnt kayaking and paddle boarding. The kayaking has been run by the most incredible group of volunteers who have not only taught her well, but, at the same time, have been working tirelessly towards establishing an outdoor activities centre in French Weir in Taunton. They have been working on this for the last six years and have raised an incredible amount of money (£960k) in the process. The building (COACH) is now up and looking astonishing! I was lucky enough to have a tour of it the other day, and it really is a magnificent building which will serve families, communities, schools, and youth groups within Taunton, so well. It is much needed.

COACH is a charity organisation and is situated in French Weir Park, on the River Tone.

COACH boasts:
·         A seminar/conference suite for up to 60 delegates
·         Excellent on-site catering/cafe provision by Karen and Peter Hood, proprietors of the very successful Shed cafe
·         An outdoor activities delivery partner – Channel Adventure – and tailor-made programmes for groups of all sizes
·         First-class equipment and facilities for participants’ use
·         A unique indoor-outdoor space for specialist activities

COACH also offers canoeing, rowing, running, cycling and orienteering, a wide range of opportunities for schools, community and youth groups and a base for local park “Friends” groups.

However, in order for the building to be opened, we need to raise an extra £30,000! So, a crowdfunding campaign has now been launched.

I am therefore writing to you, in the hope that you might be able to donate or contribute in some way to helping us raise the extra money urgently needed. Any contribution, however big or small will be very, very much appreciated.

Please, even if you cannot contribute, would you pass this email on to anyone who you think might be able to and would like to take advantage of the some of the activity sessions below – perhaps for their own families or as a business/team building activity.

These are the options on the crowdfunding page:

In return for a contribution, our outdoor activity delivery partners Channel Adventure ( have pledged a team-building/activity session for anyone contributing, based on the following scale:

£250 – A 2 hr activity session for up to 8 people
£500 – A 4 hr session with 2 activities for up to 10 people
£750 – A 6 hr multi activity day for up to 10 people
£1000+ – A Coastal adventure day (Spring/Summer) or White Water canoe/ kayak trip (Autumn/ Winter) – for up to 10 people

Activities could typically include: canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, mountain biking, axe and knife throwing, archery, team building, sailing, outdoor swimming, raft building, coastal rafting, coasteering, climbing and abseiling, windsurfing

Should you have any enquiries or if you  would like to speak directly with the organisers, please contact Dave Bullock or give him a call on  07834 590883.

This is such a worthwhile cause, that will make a massive difference and huge impact to so many young people. I can personally vouch for the fact that my daughter has had the most amazing time with this group for the past few years. Not only has she learnt to kayak and paddle board, but she has grown in confidence, made new friends and both her and I have felt very much a part of this community.

I’d be so grateful for your help. Thanks ever so much for taking the time to read this, and please do pass this on…



Specialist Cycles Arrive at Calvert Trust Exmoor

Thanks to a generous grant from EBM Charitable Trust, Calvert Trust Exmoor has been able to purchase three more accessible cycles, allowing more guests with disabilities to take part in accessible cycling.

These specialist cycles are manufactured in the Netherlands and imported into the UK by Ashfield Special Needs Ltd. The three bikes are (left to right in the top picture):

  • A van Raam Fun2Go side by side three wheeled tandem.  The riders sit beside each other, one person steers and both can pedal.
  • A van Raam Veloplus front loading wheelchair trike. The tilting loading ramps at the front allow a wheelchair user to remain seated in their own wheelchair, while a carer or Calvert Trust Exmoor staff member cycles the bike.
  • A Roam Twinbike plus quad wheeled triple bike. Two riders sit beside each other, one person steers, both pedal, and there is a third, non-pedaling seat at the front.

Rob Lott, Calvert Trust Exmoor’s Head of Communications, said, “We are very grateful to the EBM Charitable Trust who generously gave us £13,170 to purchase these specialist bikes. Adding these three to our fleet along with the NOMAD all terrain wheelchair carriages we also purchased recently is another fantastic step forward in increasing our accessibility and inclusivity, and will allow us to assist even more guests to enjoy accessible cycling. ”

Calvert Trust Exmoor’s cycle fleet now consists of 31 self-supporting bikes of various types from a number of different manufacturers, allowing guests with a wide range of disabilities to experience accessible cycling.

Saunton Sands Celebrity Golf Day in aid of Calvert Trust Exmoor

On Thursday 10 November 2016 the luxurious Saunton Sands Hotel will be hosting a celebrity golf day, in aid of Calvert Trust Exmoor.

The hotel is part of the Brend Hotels, which recently won AA Hotel Group of the Year 2015-16. Various special accommodation and meal packages are available.

Tony Potter, CEO of Calvert Trust Exmoor, said “We are delighted that Saunton Sands Hotel have chosen to support us with their celebrity golf event, it will be a fabulous day of golf at the beautiful Saunton Golf Club, followed by a delicious meal from the Hotel’s innovative head chef, Jamie Coleman.

“The money raised from this fantastic event will be put straight into our bursaries, which we use to assist guests in financial need to be able to afford a break with us.”

There are still a couple of three-person team spaces available, which can be booked by contacting Saunton Sands Hotel on 01271 890212.

New Chief Executive

heidi-watson-2016Heidi Watson will be joining Calvert Trust Exmoor from 17 October 2016, and assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer on Friday 21 October after a handover week with current CEO Tony Potter, who is stepping down to pursue other interests and projects.

Tony Potter said: “It’s been a privilege to be the CEO of Calvert Trust Exmoor for the last four years, working with amazing staff and helping our wonderful guests enjoy every aspect of the Calvert Experience. I’ve also very much appreciated the fantastic support we’ve had from businesses, community groups and individuals from North Devon and across the South West. Life really is all about, “It’s want you can do that counts”; these have been some of the best years of my career and I wish Heidi and the Calvert Trust Exmoor team every success for the future.”

Heidi has previously held various senior roles in international business and national charities. She is joining the Trust from the role of Business Development Director at Business in the Community, where she worked with businesses on their corporate social responsibility activities and solving issues in vulnerable communities.

Heidi is relocating from Doncaster to Devon to take up this role; as an animal lover and nature enthusiast she is looking forward to enjoying country walks through North Devon and Exmoor’s spectacular scenery.


Almost £7,000 in public open space funds is to go towards building a new BMX track for South Molton.

At a North Devon Council meeting at the start of May, Executive members agreed to allocate the Section 106 money* to the project, which will be managed by South Molton Town Council. The town council is also match-funding the amount to meet the overall cost, with the track to be located at South Molton Community Woodland.

North Devon Council’s Executive member responsible for open spaces, Councillor Dick Jones, said: “This public open space fund is a great example of how contributions from developers can be put to good use, to the benefit of local people. I hope the project is well supported and well used by young people, once the finished track is in place.”

Mayor of South Molton, Councillor David Goodman, said: “This project has been an aspiration of the town council for several years, so we are really glad this is now coming to fruition. Young people have been very supportive of the scheme and so we look forward to being able to provide the track for them over the coming months.”

Local district ward member, Council David Worden, said: “This project came about originally as a result of a request from the South Molton youth council. Town Councillor Matthew Bushell championed their cause and it is extremely pleasing to see that North Devon Council is helping towards this worthwhile project becoming a reality. Once completed it will be another excellent facility for the young people of the area to enjoy.”

South Molton Town Council now hopes to start work on the BMX track over the next few weeks.

*Section 106 is money paid to the council by developers as part of the conditions of large planning applications. The money can only be used for certain things, such as education, local community and public open space projects.



Two teams from Wellington School took part in the gruelling Ten Tors event last weekend on Dartmoor.

The team taking part in the 45-mile challenge romped in first after a hard, strenuous walk and an overnight camp. As a result of excellent preparation and a lot of hard work, Sixth Formers, Luke Fieldhouse, George Mallinson, Tom Hollingsworth, Ben Johnson, Flynn Simpson and Ben Howe put in an impressive performance finishing first, crossing the line at 9.26 in the morning.  The boys were roared over the finish line by the watching supporters.

The 35 mile team: Jamie Owsianka, Benjie Pepperell, Tim Kilbey, Harry Nuttall-Owen, Alex Richardson-Jones and Greg Harris.
The 35 mile team: Jamie Owsianka, Benjie Pepperell, Tim Kilbey, Harry Nuttall-Owen, Alex Richardson-Jones and Greg Harris.

The 35-mile team of Jamie Owsianka, Benjie Pepperell, Tim Kilbey, Harry Nuttall-Owen, Alex Richardson-Jones and Greg Harris also put in a strong performance completing the course at 9.51 on Sunday morning.  Well done on all the hard work in the build-up to the event.

The event, which is run by the Army, assisted by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, is in its 56th year.

Over 2,400 teenagers (400 teams!) aged between 14 to 19 hiked distances of up to 55 miles (89 km) and visited 10 nominated tors.

TOP PHOTO: The winning 45 mile team: Luke Fieldhouse, George Mallinson, Tom Hollingsworth, Ben Johnson, Flynn Simpson and Ben Howe.

A record 24 King’s College pupils also set out on the gruelling event, having completed a rigorous programme of training and selection over the previous months. This year King’s was allowed to enter two teams in the 35 mile distance, as well as the usual year 12 and year 13 teams for the 45 and 55 mile routes. The weather over the weekend was a good deal kinder than in previous years, with warm, mostly dry conditions for the thousands of boys and girls who took part.

by Steve King
by Steve King

All four King’s teams completed the event in good order and within the cut-off point of 5pm on Sunday afternoon, having camped overnight on the moors. First in were the 35 mile A team of three boys and three girls who bounced into camped at 11.26am. Last in were the foot-sore 55 milers (Harvey Dryburgh, Ben Wright, Henry Biggs, Duncan McLeod, Hamish Urquhart and Oliver Guess), cheerful but exhausted after their long slog.

Commenting on the event, Headmaster Richard Biggs said: “As Headmaster I could not have been prouder of the 24 boys and girls who completed the Challenge. They showed the spirit and cheerfulness, the guts and determination which I have come to associate with this school. As the father of one of the 55 milers I was especially proud! Henry woke up to his 18th birthday camped on the moors miles from anywhere – and says that completing the distance with his team was the best birthday present he could wish for. I think the Ten Tors is a wonderful event as it allows young people to push themselves far beyond what they might have thought possible. It is certainly life changing; long may it continue!”

Video footage of the King’s teams can be seen at:

If you would like to share your images of the Challenge please feel free to post them on our Facebook page!



A group of Exmoor Mountain Bike enthusiasts, British Cycling, and Calvert Trust Exmoor have joined forces to hold a fantastic Mountain Bike Event on the May Bank Holiday, 2 May 2016.

The ‘Eat Dirt on Exmoor’ event will offer 2 routes of 14 or 23 miles, through stunning Exmoor scenery. Much of the route is not normally open to the general public; Calvert Trust Exmoor are grateful to the Hollam, New Invention and Broford Estates for allowing special access for this event.

The route will start and end in Dulverton. Passing through the stunning scenery around the River Barle, the route runs up to the ancient stone clapper bridge at Tarr Steps. From there the route climbs up onto the moor, with far-reaching views in all directions, before heading south east to the River Exe and then back into Dulverton for the finish line. There is also a shorter, 14-mile route available for riders looking for a more moderate alternative to the full endurance ride.

Registration for the event is just £17 per rider, with £15 of that fee going directly to Calvert Trust Exmoor to help them support people with disabilities to enjoy accessible adventure activities, including accessible cycling. (The remaining £2 is an administration fee retained by British Cycling).

Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said, “We are very excited about this fantastic new event, it promises to be a great day. At just £17 per rider this event is great value for money; at the same time £15 of that fee will go straight into helping people with disabilities to access cycling and other adventurous  activities, so not only will you have a great ride, you are supporting a great charity too!”

To find out more about Eat Dirt on Exmoor or to sign up visit or email Robin from Calvert Trust Exmoor on

It promises to be an exciting event; riding through beautiful Exmoor National Park, up to 250 riders taking part, aerial filming from Altitude58 and more. If it proves popular Calvert Trust Exmoor is hoping to make this an annual event; don’t forget to sign up to ride so you can always say you were part of the first one!

PHOTOS © Danbury Danglers and used with their kind permission.


Calvert Trust Exmoor are excited to again be representing the South West in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016.  

VisitEngland, the national tourist board, has announced the finalists for the Awards for Excellence 2016 with Calvert Trust Exmoor named as a finalist in the “Access for All” category. The winners of this prestigious accolade will be announced at the Award ceremony on Tuesday 8 March at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, during English Tourism Week.

Calvert Trust Exmoor runs the only five-star activity centre in the country, and caters for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities of all ages and levels of ability, together with their families, friends and carers. Activities on offer include sailing, horse riding, wheelchair abseiling, accessible cycling and archery. Almost 4,000 guests had a residential break with Calvert Trust Exmoor last year.

Tony Potter, Chief Executive of Calvert Trust Exmoor said “We are absolutely delighted to be a finalist at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence again this year;  it’s a great recognition of the consistent hard work and high customer service standards of all of our team. We are looking forward to doing our part to represent the region on the night, and hopefully bring back gold!”

The Centre has won several awards in recent years, including multiple Gold awards in the Devon and South West Tourism awards, and Gold in the ‘Access for All’ category at the 2014 Visit England awards.

“Awards for Excellence finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England,” said Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland.  “We received over 400 truly impressive applications this year and there’s absolutely no doubt those shortlisted are a representatives of the best in the sector who place delivering an unforgettable experience to visitors in England at the heart of their operations. I’d like to congratulate all finalists and wish them the very best of luck on Awards night.”

Calvert Trust Exmoor are also very pleased to have won Gold in the ‘Access and Inclusivity’ category at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2015-16, which took place in Exeter Cathedral on Tuesday.

In the stunning location of the Nave of Exeter Cathedral 95 different awards were announced following a rigorous judging process in which a record 490 entries were considered.

Tony Potter, Chief Executive of Calvert Trust Exmoor said: “This is fantastic news that rewards all the hard work that the team at Calvert Trust Exmoor consistently put in;  we are so pleased to be recognised for delivering an excellent experience for anyone and everyone,  of any ability or age.”

This year’s awards event was hosted by ITV news presenters Kylie Pentelow and Ian Axton, with an inspiring opening address by travel journalist and Chair of Family Holiday Association Alison Rice.

Alison was also this year’s Chair of Judges and commented: “These high-calibre awards reflect the quality and breadth of the treasures that visitors to the south west can enjoy.  The judging panel of tourism professionals did not have an easy time! That’s why in some categories they simply had to award more than one gold winner.”


A teenager from Wellington School is making waves in the world of rowing.  Edward Fuller, aged 13, from Gittisham, finished fourth last month when he took part in the London British Rowing Indoor Championships in his age category. He rowed a distance of 819 metres in three minutes.

Edward first got into his rowing around 18 months ago and now trains at Exeter Rowing Club where he attends for four sessions a week, both indoors and out on the water.

What makes his achievements all the more commendable is the fact that he also bravely battles a medical condition that would make many an individual settle for an easier life . Edward suffers from severe haemophilia, a condition which means that the blood cannot clot properly.

Although bleeding can be from cuts or grazes on the skin, most bleeding that occurs is internal, into muscles and joints, and is therefore not visible to the untrained eye. To overcome this risk of bleeding, his mother Helen injects him intravenously at home four times a week with a clotting factor which then allows him to undertake most mainstream activities.

As well as his rowing prowess Edward also plays hockey.

In terms of the youngster’s hospital care, that is looked after by a team of consultants, physiotherapists and haematologists at both Exeter Hospital and Bristol Children’s Hospital.

The British Rowing Indoor Championships is an indoor rowing event which began in Henley-on-Thames attracting 200 competitors. It is currently the world ‘s biggest indoor rowing event attracting over 3,000 participants and is and Britain’s biggest mass-participation indoor sporting event. Olympic rowing gold medalists Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent have won open titles at the event in the past.

The races are separated Men, Lightweight Men, Women, and Lightweight Women – with these further split into age categories. All competitors over 16 race 2,000 m (the Olympic rowing distance) with shorter time-based events for Juniors.

There are also team races where teams of four race 4,000m as a relay. The event is now held at the Lee Valley VeloPark.


PHOTO TOP: Edward Fuller at the London British Rowing Indoor Championships

MadisonAnother Wellington School pupil has performed exceptionally well in a renowned cycle race.

Evan Richards (on the right in the photo), in Year 9, competed in the National Mens’ and Junior Mens’ Madison Championship Support Races. The British National Madison Championships are held annually as part of the British National Track Championships organised by British Cycling. There were two separate championship events for amateur and professional riders. This race takes its name from the famous Madison Square Garden in New York. Teams of two riders compete over a whopping 50km – 200 laps of the track! Evan and his partner finished 2nd overall against the best Madison riders in the UK, which is fantastic as he is still only a first year Under 14.




The South West is set to become the centre of a celebration of alfresco adventures, when the National Trust’s new outdoor festival launches in the Heddon Valley on Exmoor later this year (23-25 September 2016). Bookings are now open for this event and the organisers would like to hear from people who work in the outdoor industry who would like to get involved.

The festival will offer something for everyone from weekend walkers and camping families through to experienced trail runners and mountain bikers. The common denominator is a love of the outdoors and the urge to explore just that little bit more.

“The National Trust in the South West has some of the most amazing locations for being active in the outdoors,” says Rob Joules, General Manager of the North Devon Coast and Countryside. “This festival is a wonderful opportunity to show off the range of activities on offer whatever your ability level is and share together the enjoyment that being in the outdoors gives. There will be opportunity to participate, try new things and be inspired by tales from others.”

“The South West is a Valhalla of outdoor sports. Sometimes I don’t know why I bother travelling overseas, when I’ve got it all on my doorstep!” says Tobias Mews, adventure athlete and writer for Outdoor Fitness & Telegraph Men who is one of the festival ambassadors.

Jen Benson, author of the book Wild Running, is of the same mind:”The South West boasts a diversity of running terrain that’s hard to find elsewhere. With 630 miles of glorious, rugged coast path, trails through lush valleys and tranquil woodland, and the breathtaking, exposed wilds of the moors, it really is an awesome place to run.”

A thrilling weekend of activities is planned, from the screening of adventure films and campfire cooking sessions, through to organised walks, trail runs, cycling and kayaking events, wild-food foraging, outdoor photography clinics and star-gazing experiences.

The festival will be built around a base camp, which will host attractions such as:

  • Camping
  • Campfire cooking
  • Talks and workshops led by high-profile adventurers
  • Screening of adventure films
  • Networking and knowledge sessions
  • Skills clinics
  • Equipment demonstrations
  • Taster conservation activities  
  • Sale of hot and cold regional produce, including locally grown/made food
  • Entertainment by local performing artists, musicians, story tellers
  • Star gazing in a dark sky reserve 

All activities will take place in the wonderfully wild surrounds of the moor and along the coast, but with instruction and inspiration provided by leading experts from across the region, the environment will be safe and enjoyable for all. People will be able to visit for the day, or stay over for the whole weekend, camping in a beautiful riverside setting.

Around the Heddon Valley basecamp, entertainment will be provided by local musicians and artists, presentations and talks will be delivered by well known adventurers and athletes, skills clinics will be conducted by outdoor experts, and locally produced food and drink will be available – please see the website for regular updates.

Heddon Valley will host the inaugural event on the weekend of 23–25 September 2016. Spaces will be limited. Visit the festival’s online basecamp for details of how you can book your place at the very first outing of a festival that’s set to become an annual fixture on the UK’s adventure calendar:

If you work in the outdoor industry and you’d like to be involved, please get in touch with the South West Outdoors Festival team. The organisers are looking for enthusiastic people to make this weekend an adventure to remember. Phone 07415 512 631 to find out more.

For more information visit the web page.

Photo by Patrick Kinsella.