In the autumn of 1997, I was sitting in a damp stone outbuilding at my family home in Yarde, in Nettlecombe parish. I was 22, clueless and sat in front of an enormous and slow PC trying to become a ‘rural journalist’ without really knowing what that meant. Meanwhile, something exciting was afoot at Halsgrove Publishing; they were preparing to launch the first issue of Exmoor Magazine, the brainchild of Steven Pugsley, which came out in the winter of that year. The Editor was Hilary Binding and she was busy commissioning articles. She agreed to give me a go and I wrote my first piece for the magazine that winter for publication in the spring and contributed from then on, in one form or another.
We really are thrilled to bring you this, our 100th issue, 25 years later. Regular readers will know that it has been quite a journey. There have been challenges: losing the wonderful Brian Pearce after a short and brutal illness so soon after he and Elaine purchased the magazine in 2007 and, of course, Covid, to name but two. And now, in these uncertain times, we are dealing with soaring and eye-watering increases in the price of paper. We have absorbed as much of this as we possibly can but inevitably prices have to increase a little.
However, with the support of you, our loyal readers, we continue to grow and remain dedicated to our core purpose, which is to celebrate the area we love – its past, its present and its future, through the landscape, the culture, the flora and fauna and our communities and businesses. By buying and reading the magazine you make it possible for us to work with a group of talented writers, many of them renowned specialists in their fields, to bring you detailed articles covering a wide range of subjects which, we believe, means that the magazine delivers something for everyone.
Our currency is, quite simply, happiness and celebration – in Exmoor’s infinite variety. There can be nothing as symbolic of that for me as our woodlands and trees and this was why we worked with Rob Wilson-North and Graeme McVittie to include an extended tree feature in Issue 100, which you will find on pages 84-93.
We also mark the 70th anniversary of the Lynmouth Flood on our pages in a special compilation of memories put together by Dave Wilde, and I would like to reiterate my thanks to those people who kindly shared their very personal memories of that night with Dave for this piece.
All in all you will find twenty or so features on our pages this issue, spanning art and history, wildlife and landscapes, food and farming and some of the many fascinating people who make our rural community such a special place to be. Thank you to all who are involved in our work and thank you to everyone who supports us – our readers, our stockists, our advertisers and our partners – for sharing in this exciting endeavour.
Here’s to the next 100 issues; happy reading!
Naomi and Hurley and the mag team