This year marks the 150th anniversary of the novel Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore, and to mark this we have included a number of features based on the theme, including not only the Nature Diary but also a landscape article packed with wonderful photography, ‘The Real Badgworthy’, written by Rob Wilson-North. In the magazine you will also find details of some of the many events taking place this year to mark the anniversary.
Elsewhere in this issue Michelle Werrett interviews a number of young farmers from the Exmoor Hill Farming Network about the future of farming on Exmoor in these uncertain times and Tony James heads to Huish Champflower to talk to Michael White about his passion for steam. Jane Mares reflects on the secret lives of ‘The Dandelion and the Bee’ and Mel Roach heads to Taunton to interview world-renowned astrophotographer Will Gater, some of whose incredible images are included on our pages.
We have memories in abundance, including an article by Michele Romaine about the days when Knapp House was Kestrels School, a feature on Gordon Pickard Short and an excursion by Rosemary FitzGerald to find out more about the history of Dunster Castle Gardens.
Sue Viccars heads to the Brendon Hills for this issue’s walk, which I completed with our features photographer, Andrew Hobbs, last year when we went to capture the shots for the piece – a stunning route and one on home territory for me, so it was lovely to discover some new paths close to home.
We also have articles on a day in the life of a carer at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe, wild orchids and an amazing team of fundraisers, The Peaky Climbers.
We hope that you enjoy all this and more in the new issue and that you have a fantastic spring and Easter.
Naomi, and Elaine, Heather and Bryan