Category Archives: Active Exmoor

CALVERT TRUST EXMOOR DELIGHTED TO BE AWARDED GOLD

Calvert Trust Exmoor has achieved the AHOEC Gold Standard for the quality of its outdoor education, and continues to be the only centre in the South West to carry this endorsement.

The AHOEC (Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres) exists to champion high safety and quality standards in the provision of outdoor learning, and does not award its Gold Standard assurance lightly, with just 49 centres across the UK currently brandishing the accolade.

The Gold Standard is the AHOEC’s quality scheme, which recognises exceptional performance in the provision of outdoor education delivery and learning outcomes whilst also taking in to account other operational aspects, including the quality and safety of facilities, staff and customer care. Focusing on nine areas altogether, the standard provides a framework against which the top activity providers are thoroughly assessed.

On receiving the news, Sophie, Activities Manager at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said: “I am delighted to have retained the Gold Standard award, as we continue to strive to provide the best experience possible for our guests.”

Calvert Trust Exmoor strives for excellence in everything it does, and is proud to hold a growing number of awards and accreditations for the services it provides. The centre offers the only 5-star rated activity accommodation in England, and is also accredited to the AALA and CLOtC.

Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the edge of Exmoor National Park, a short distance from the North Devon coast, and with everything together on one fully accessible site, the Trust welcomes guests of all ages and levels of ability, enabling people with physical, learning, behavioural and sensory disabilities to experience exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activities, together with their families & friends. Highly experienced instructors are qualified by national governing bodies such as  British Canoeing, the RYA and the BHS and are specially trained to work with disabled individuals.

Residential breaks are built around a structured programme of activities led by qualified instructors, all tailored to the specific needs of visitors. Activities include cycling, climbing, abseiling, horse riding, archery, low ropes, and crate stacking. Calvert Trust Exmoor also has exclusive access to Wistlandpound Reservoir for sailing, kayaking and canoeing. With a range of indoor and outdoor activities on offer, and standard and adaptive equipment provided to suit individual needs, the Trust’s aim is to provide each and every guest with the best possible experience so that they leave keen to return and eager to recommend it to others.

To ensure Calvert Trust Exmoor continues to meet the demands of its Gold Standard, the AHOEC carries out inspections every two years.

GREAT SUPPORT FOR PERAMBULATION; NEXT UP – THE EXMOOR EXPLORER!

Over 100 walkers set out on an epic 31-mile hike around the original boundary of the Royal Forest of Exmoor last month, as part of an iconic event organised by local adventure company, Channel Events, in aid of CareMoor for Exmoor, which raises money for the upkeep of the National Park.

Of the 122 participants who departed early on Saturday 16 June, spurred on by complimentary cups of Miles Tea along with spectacular scenery, just over half (65) completed the full course.

The event is one of three non-competitive challenges organised by Channel Events, for which £1 from each entry goes towards CareMoor for Exmoor to help fund vital conservation and access projects. An annual donation is also made to Exmoor Search and Rescue Team, a highly skilled group of volunteers who attend all events.

One of this year’s participants commented: “After completing a half perambulation over 20 years ago it has been my long-held ambition to complete the whole walk… Walking with my daughter, her fiancée and their dog, George, we managed to complete the whole perambulation in around ten and a quarter hours… The moor was beautiful and it was a real privilege to see and walk on parts of it not generally accessible to the public. Thank you to everyone involved. An amazing event.”

Event organiser Dan Brice, Director of Channel Events, said: “We’re proud to be celebrating this wonderful event’s long history, while also helping raise vital funds towards the upkeep of the National Park. One great aspect of all these events is that much of the route is only accessible with permission of the landowners concerned – so you get to access parts of the National Park not normally open to the public.”

Dave Gurnett, Learning and Outreach Officer at Exmoor National Park, who has both supported and participated in the Perambulation many times over the years, said: “This historic event dates back 725 years when it was routinely walked as a means of establishing the legal boundary of the King’s hunting grounds. It’s the knowledge that you’re treading in the footsteps of the Saxons and the Normans that I think keeps many people coming back year after year and I hope it will continue for decades to come.”

£1 from every entry goes to CareMoor for Exmoor for each of the Perambulation. The next event, in case you would like to take part, is a mountain-biking challange, the Exmoor Explorer, on 5th August 2018.

The Exmoor Explorer is a non-competitive mountain biking event of 20 or 40 miles. Open moorland, woodland trails, natural single track and secluded Combes, the Explorer doesn’t disappoint. This iconic Exmoor cycling event was started 19 years ago and you can find out more here.

TAUNTON CIDER JOINS THE GREAT EXMOOR RIDE

The Great Exmoor Ride, a new Somerset city-to-coast challenge bike ride taking place on Sunday 2nd September, has joined forces with the recently re-launched Taunton Cider Company to help riders celebrate their achievements at the end of this year’s challenge.

The Ride starts in Taunton and takes participants on a stunning 66-mile journey through quiet Somerset country lanes and across the eastern part of Exmoor National Park, before ending in a tranquil spot on the West Somerset coast at Blue Anchor near Minehead.

And, thanks to this new partnership, this summer thirsty riders can look forward to sinking a well-earned pint (or two) of Taunton Cider after a very rewarding and enjoyable day in the saddle.

Darren McKimm, the Ride Organiser, commented: “Taunton Cider has been recognised internationally as one of the best ciders in the world and we’re absolutely delighted to have them on board as one of our key supporters – it’s obviously a great Somerset partnership for the Ride which starts in Taunton, and it’s great to know that our riders will now be able to enjoy a pint of proper cider from Somerset when they cross the finish line!

“Taunton Cider has an extensive history and heritage but in its current form it’s also something refreshing and new from Somerset, just like the GER, and it feels like the perfect West Country combination for the Ride – a fabulous Somerset route with a pint of proper Somerset cider waiting at the finish – so participants can really look forward to a fantastic challenge AND a great day out.”

Matt Hill, from Taunton Cider, added: “Taunton Cider is very pleased to be supporting this fantastic Somerset event and adding to everyone’s enjoyment on the day – it’s great to see people being active and taking on this sort of personal challenge, and we also really like the fact that riders are encouraged to use their efforts to fundraise for charity. Prostate Cancer UK is a great cause to support, so we’d encourage all our customers and fans to think about taking part and then celebrating with us at the finish”.

“Taunton Cider is made from a variety of bitter sweet apples grown in a number of local orchards so it really is proper cider from Somerset, and that makes it the perfect way to round off what should be a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable day at the Great Exmoor Ride – hopefully the thought of a hard-earned and well-deserved pint of Taunton Cider at the end will spur everyone on!”.

Participants can certainly look forward to a spectacular route that will test the legs before ending by the sea on a quiet and unspoilt part of the Somerset coast.

A spokesman added: “It’s a great chance to make summer feel like it’s lasting that little bit longer, and we’re expecting to see a great big smile on people’s faces from the huge sense of achievement that they’ll feel at completing the challenge.”

The event is registered with British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, and participants will benefit from a whole host of event support services, including clear route signage, medical cover, and mobile mechanical support, and there will also be a free BBQ at the finish for riders in addition to the Taunton Cider bar.

Further information and full details on the event, including how to enter, can be found at www.greatexmoorride.com.

HUNDREDS SIGN UP FOR COMMANDO CHALLENGE

Friends, families and colleagues from across the South West are signing up in their hundreds to support the notoriously difficult – and famously muddy – Royal Marines Commando Challenge this October.

To date, 2018 has seen the highest numbers yet of intrepid fundraisers prepared to put themselves through either the 5k ‘Cheerfulness’ or the 10k ‘Endurance’ training circuits in aid of Devon Air Ambulance and The Royal Marines Charity.

The course is the first of a series of tests Royal Marines undertake, and will take fundraisers through moorland and the woodland of Woodbury Common near Lympstone, Devon, which involve tunnels, pipes, wading pools and an underwater culvert.

“This is an event that’s literally and figuratively full of peaks and troughs,” says Caroline Creer, spokesperson for the Royal Marines Commando Challenge. “The course is described by many as physically and emotionally gritty and gruelling, yet the thrill of supporting each other through it and being cheered across the finish line, knowing that you’ve challenged yourself and raised essential funds for charity, is absolutely worth it.”

Individuals or groups can still enter either or both courses for just £5 per person, per challenge, with the option of raising sponsorship for the charities on top. Many teams constitute businesses that see the event as a great team building exercise; certainly colleagues find themselves bonding in the face of such grizzly obstacles as the fully-immersive Sheep Dip and the Crocodile Pit.

There’s still time and space for more participants to sign up and take part in the challenge. Just visit www.commandochallenge.co.uk/signup to sign up for the event on weekend of 13th and / or 14th October, 2018, or keep an eye on the Royal Marines Commando Challenge Facebook page for the latest news and information.

NORTH DEVON PIONEER PROJECT

Press release issued by North Devon Council

Are you a super surfer, kayaking king or prefer to stand-up paddle, dive, sail or swim in the sea? Maybe you want to have a go at these sports but something puts you off?

North Devon Council wants to hear from local people in North Devon and Torridge about how they do (or don’t) use the sea to exercise, in order to better understand the value, issues and benefits of using our marine environment. Anyone with an interest in outdoor watersports is encouraged to take part in a short survey online at www.northdevon.gov.uk/consultations before 19 June.

North Devon has been selected to be part of a study which explores how we can best manage our marine assets (geology, soil, air, water and living things) for the benefit of the environment, economy and people. The council wants to capture all the useful knowledge that local people have about how North Devon’s marine environment is used and appreciated by the people who live all across the coast.

Executive member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Can, says: “North Devon has an exceptional coastline and we are very proud of our marine environment, which is enjoyed by our local residents and thousands of visitors every year. Being chosen as part of the Marine Pioneer project recognises North Devon’s national importance and I would encourage anyone who enjoys outdoor watersports, including surfing, kayaking, kite-surfing and sea swimming to get involved. Equally, if you would like to take part in outdoor watersports but don’t, we would like to know the reasons why.”

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “As well as the obvious benefits to our environment, the results of studies like this are really important when we apply for funding for important projects to deliver new facilities in the area. This has a knock-on effect on our local economy and enhances the health and prosperity of the area as a whole. You have until  June to take part in our survey so please get online today if you are involved, or want to be involved in outdoor watersports in northern Devon.”

The consultation stretches to outdoor watersports clubs and a separate survey has been sent to each club in the area. If you have not received this survey, please get in touch with the council’s Economic Development team on 01271 388369.

More information about the Marine Pioneer Project is available at www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/marinepioneer.

MAY COAST AND MOOR OUTDOOR FESTIVAL

Spring is bursting out all over and now there are even more reasons to enjoy May in and around Exmoor – over 50 in fact. Visit Exmoor www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/coast-moor-outdoor-may-festival  has brought together a whole range of fabulous excuses to get outdoors this spring.

There are guided walks right across Exmoor, from Dunster to Dulverton, Minehead to Molland, Bluebell wood wanders, valleys and village tours and breath-taking coastal paths. ‘The Walker’ sculpture is back out in its rightful place on the Lynmouth esplanade, waiting to have his picture taken.

For more adrenalin-fuelled fun there is rock climbing in Valley of Rocks or SUP in Porlock and Minehead, kayaking, archery and even a kids’ multi-activity week at Wimbleball Lake. Enjoy a fossil walk along Watchet’s fascinating coast, a seaside safari in Combe Martin or stream dipping at Tarr Steps. Stay dry and see Exmoor from the sea with a boat trip from Lynmouth along the dramatic rocky coastline.

Bring the outside in with a selection of painting workshops at the Exmoor National Park Centre in Lynmouth, including a sea glass, watercolour and pastel workshop. Find out more about the historic water-powered sawmills at open days at Simonsbath and Cowbridge. Or enjoy Open Gardens weekends at Porlock and Brendon.

There are great family days out at the Cliff Railway, the Lynton Railway Spring Gala and an Exmoor National Park Big Adventure Day at Nutcombe Bottom. Meet Exmoor ponies at the Exmoor Pony Centre, follow the Butterfly trail in Heddon Valley or take a Forest Night Walk in the woods of Croydon Hill.

There’s sublime chamber music in Dunster, mayday mayhem in Simonsbath, duck races, wheelbarrow races and much, much more. What are you waiting for?

For full information on events and places to see and stay, see www.visit-exmoor.co.uk

THE GREAT EXMOOR RIDE IS COMING

The Great Exmoor Ride is a new city-to-coast challenge bike ride from the team behind the hugely-popular Great Weston Ride and, following on from a successful test event in 2017, it is set to return on Sunday 2 September 2018.

The Ride starts in Taunton and ends in a tranquil spot on the West Somerset coast at Blue Anchor near Minehead, and along the way it offers a stunning 66-mile (105km) route through quiet Somerset country lanes and across the eastern part of Exmoor National Park.

The test event confirmed that participants can look forward to a great personal challenge courtesy of a spectacular route that will test the legs and, despite somewhat inclement weather conditions in 2017, the GER was given a resounding ‘thumbs up’ by those who took part.

2017 saw a great mix of people riding on a variety of bikes and the event is specifically designed and supported as an ‘all-comers’ challenge – there’s plenty on offer to test participants (as well as delight them), but there are no time pressures on anyone and the emphasis is very much on rising to a personal challenge and enjoying both the route AND the immense sense of achievement that comes with completing it.

A spokesman explained: “We believe that there’s something special and different about completing a spectacular, challenging ride and then actually ending up somewhere other than where you started, and that’s exactly what the Great Exmoor Ride offers.

“We know from last year’s feedback that the route itself is both fabulous and challenging, but also very do-able for anyone with a degree of fitness and/or a lot of determination – so it’s there for anyone who wants a real challenge as part of a great day out full of wonderful views, and it could be the perfect way to round off the Summer.”

The event is registered with British Cycling, and participants benefit from a whole host of event support services, including clear route signage, medical cover, and mobile mechanical support throughout the route.

There will also be a medal, a BBQ and an event bar waiting for riders at the finish and, by all accounts, anyone who takes on the challenge will certainly have earned their rewards!

CALVERT TRUST THIRD ANNUAL EAT DIRT EVENT

Mountain bike enthusiasts from across the South West will converge on the picturesque Exmoor town of Dulverton on 6 May 2018, for the third annual ‘Eat Dirt on Exmoor’ event.

Hosted by local charity Calvert Trust Exmoor, working in conjunction with British Cycling, the ‘Eat Dirt on Exmoor’ event offers cyclists the opportunity to enjoy 22 miles of beautiful Exmoor scenery, much of which is not normally open to the general public.

The route starts in the picturesque Exmoor town of Dulverton and follows the route of the River Barle up to 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.

Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said, “We’re delighted to be running this fantastic event again for the third year. Last year 282 riders took part, enjoying a fantastic ride and raising over £5,650, enabling us to help more people with disabilities to access cycling and other adventurous activities. We are extremely grateful to the wonderful people and businesses of Dulverton and the surrounding area; without their support in allowing us to use their land, volunteering to be marshals, running refreshment stations, and helping set up the route, this event just wouldn’t be possible.”

Registration for the event is just £21 per rider, with £20 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 £1 is an administration fee retained by British Cycling).

The riders really enjoyed the 2017 event. “Rock solid ride out! Many thanks to all who helped. Great loop with nice challenging hills, I’m glad to have ridden all of them! Thanks to the landowners and villagers too. Loved the bluebells!” (Dave Hewlett)

To find out more about Eat Dirt on Exmoor or to sign up visit www.calvert-trust.org.uk/eatdirt or email Sharon from Calvert Trust Exmoor on sharon@calvert-trust.ork.uk.

ENTRIES NOW OPEN FOR EXMOOR OPEN WATER SWIM

Early-bird entries are now open for the Exmoor Open Water Swim 2km / 4km / 6km on 30 September 2018 at Wimbleball Lake.

Organiser Mike Morris writes… “Our goal is to give everyone the opportunity to swim in this incredible lake in the heart of Exmoor. While there are medals for those who come in the top three for their age groups, the majority of swimmers will simply be challenging themselves to participate in a safe and friendly open-water swimming environment at Wimbleball Lake. We are excited to announce that this year we will be introducing an elite 6km race, made up of the 4km + 2km loop.

“The uniqueness of this event is that the 4km route will take the swimmers all the way down to the end and back, on a stunning single-loop tour of the whole lake. Safety will be covered by kayaks and motorboats, as the swimmers enjoy unparalleled views of this special place.

“The 4km swim distance is designed as a challenge, even for the seasoned long-distance, open-water swimmers and slightly longer than an Iron Man swim. It is also a goal to aim for, for swimmers who either have confined their swims to pools or have yet to conquer this distance. For those who are not ready to take on the 4km route, we have a 2km course, which will hopefully result in returns next year to take on the 4km course!

“For those people who want to bring their families and make a weekend of it, we have negotiated 10% off camping at Wimbleball Lake and also 10% off all the activities on and around the lake.

Early Bird entries are available at www.exmoorswim.co.uk.

The charity partners for this events are: Surfers Against Sewage, Friends of the Earth and Children’s Hospice South West.

Exmoor Open Water Swim is sponsored by dryrobe,  Alpine Elements, Brewer, Harding & Rowe solicitors, Wicked Wolf Gin and Pickwell Foundation.

‘Arguably the most prestigious swimming competition in the South West – Somerset County Gazette

‘Great work guys – awesome astmosphere and well looked after, I will definitely be back.’ Pete Taylor – Competitor

‘Fantastically organised event at Wimbelball Lake. Thank you’ – Becky Little – Competitor

ENTRY DATE ANNOUNCED FOR AIR AMBULANCE CYCLE CHALLENGE

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is once again encouraging supporters to sign up early for their Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2018 after another overwhelming response last year.

The event, which is not designed as a race, involves cycling through some of Dorset and Somerset’s most beautiful countryside and takes place on Sunday 13 May 2018.

Last year’s event raised in excess of £74,000 (including gift aid) and sold out within hours of online registration being open. Demand for places is expected to be even higher this year.

Online registration will open at 10am on Tuesday 5 December 2017, via the Charity’s website – www.dsairambulance.org.uk – and, with only 600 places available, those wishing to take part will need to be quick to avoid disappointment. Participants can enter as an individual or as a team.

The Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge offers two different routes and distances. For those who like a challenge, the brilliant 54-mile cycle, which starts in the Somerset port of Watchet and finishes at West Bay near Bridport, will not disappoint.

With a mixture of quiet back roads, interspersed with some very demanding climbs and equally hairy descents, the event has something to offer for everyone! A staggered start will see the stronger cyclists set off first at 11am, with the less experienced riders departing at 11.15am. A shorter 11-mile route starts at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton at 2pm and also finishes at West Bay.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are thrilled to be able to announce the date for our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2018. This will be our eighth year in the saddle and every year the event seems to get better and better.

“We always strive to build on the success of the previous year and with this in mind we are once again restricting our numbers to 600 cyclists. We are also continuing with a staggered start time in order to keep the event as safe as possible and to encourage all standards of cyclists to take part without fear of being overcrowded.

“With such a demand, there will undoubtedly be those who are disappointed not to gain a place which is why I cannot stress enough how important it is to register early! We also hope that those who are fortunate to gain a place will once again encourage their family and friends to sponsor them in a bid to make 2018 the best Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge yet.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has flown over 12,000 missions since its launch in March 2000, saving many lives and aiding recovery, with outstanding immediate care and rapid delivery to the hospital best suited to meet the patient’s needs. With no direct Government or National Lottery funding, the charity relies on the generosity of the public and events like Coast to Coast for support.

To register online, visit the charity’s website: www.dsairambulance.org.uk at 10am on Tuesday 5 December 2017 or for more information call 01823 669604.

Entrance fees are: Adults (£20) & Under 16s (£10).