Exmoor’s first ever Historic Buildings Festival is due to kick off this month, with a week of events celebrating the National Park’s impressive array of buildings from throughout the ages.
From 16-22 September, a wide range of expert walks, talks and practical demonstrations will be on offer celebrating this cultural heritage. Guest speakers and skilled craftspeople will shed light on how and why these structures came to be and what they can teach us about how our ancestors lived and worked. The Festival forms part of Heritage Open Days*, when places right across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history.
The week of largely free events will begin with an open day to see conservation in action in Simonsbath’s Ashcombe Gardens, where a project is underway to restore and uncover the story behind a Picturesque garden and the unusual Scottish croft-house that formed part of it. This is the first time the public will have an opportunity to go inside the buildings since restoration works began, and the first time they have been without scaffolding for many years.
Find out the story of Lynton and Lynmouth’s famous cliff railway and walk in the footsteps of computer pioneer Ada Lovelace to discover the extensive network of intriguing paths, viewpoints and tunnels found on her former Porlock estate. Get an exclusive tour of medieval buildings in Dunster as part of a project to trace and record the town’s early history and take part in a convoy of military vehicles on route to the former secret Second World War radar station and tank training grounds found on Minehead’s North Hill.
Festival organiser Thomas Thurlow, Exmoor National Park Authority’s Historic Buildings Officer, said: “Whether it’s the medieval hall houses of Dunster, the late Georgian Scottish croft-style buildings of Simonsbath, or the industrial structures of the West Somerset Mineral Line, all these buildings have a story to tell and have helped shape the landscape we see today. There are so many historic treasures to be found on Exmoor if you know where to look and we can’t wait to showcase these amazing buildings.”
The full programme of events can be found on the Exmoor National Park Authority website at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/historicbuildingsfestival and is available in printed form free from National Park Centres in Lynmouth, Dunster and Dulverton.
People may also wish to take part in the Exmoor Society photographic competition, which this year includes a historic buildings category (the closing date is 30 September). Find out more at www.exmoorsociety.com/content/news/alfred-vowles-photographic-competition-2
PHOTO: White Rock Cottage in Simonsbath seen without scaffolding for the first time in decades.