Cutcombe Parish Prepares for the Beacon Lighting

Planning for the lighting of Dunkery Beacon is now well underway as Cutcombe Parish prepares to welcome visitors to watch the lighting of its beacon on Monday 4 June. Having learned from previous events in this area, traffic will be carefully managed and arrangements made to facilitate parking as close to the beacon area as is possible.  Roger Webber, Chairman of Cutcombe Parish Council, said that part of the uncertainty will be the numbers of people with cars wishing to attend and the weather could greatly affect the turnout.

The plan recommends that all cars approach the area from Wheddon Cross on the B3224 towards Exford before turning off at Blagdon Cross towards Dunkery and the road will be restricted at Dunkery Gate with parking provided in a field just before the gate. The small parking area inside the Gate will be for emergency vehicles only.  The footpath route to the Beacon area is about a kilometre following a zig-zag path unsuitable for those physically limited.  It will take about 30 minutes to ascend to the Beacon Area on foot.

The stretch of road between Dunkery Gate and Webbers Post will have restricted parking on the right hand side. All its lay byes and car parks will be cordoned off and only available for the bus service for disabled users which will be available from 7.30 to 11pm on 4 June, operated by ATWEST. This bus service will run from the Exmoor Farmers parking area about 400 metres from Wheddon Cross crossroads, where there will also be free parking available.  Less able people will be able to take a picnic to the largest car park on the road from where they will have a clear view of the Beacon.  Mark Courtiour, the Countryside Operations Manager for the National Trust which owns the land surrounding the beacon, said that they must preserve the area close to the beacon site and therefore the fire will be sited just to one side.  Also vehicle access from the road along the horizontal path has to be restricted to emergency vehicles only.

Edwin Beckett, who is the appointed Beacon Registrar for Dunkery Beacon, said that over 4,000 beacons will be lit between 10pm and 10.30pm on 4 June. Dunkery Beacon is part of the ancient Anchor Chain of Beacons which will all be lit at 10pm.  The view from Dunkery Beacon enables people to see many of the beacons in the South West, and also in Wales, used to alert England throughout the ages.

Mr Beckett said:  “We hope that people from near and far will join this celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We request that visitors to the area  bring a torch and take all their belongings and any rubbish home.  We are delighted with the help being provided by the National Trust, our Parish Council and volunteers from the area, Exmoor Farmers for the use of their car park and Mr and Mrs Harold Stevens for also allowing cars to be parked at the owners risk in their field by Dunkery Gate. But special thanks to ATWEST, which will only levy a reduced  charge for passengers of £2, which enables us to offer access to the less-abled and their carers. The help provided  by PC Bruce Strachan has also been invaluable.”