The Exmoor Society’s 15th annual Spring Conference, in partnership with Exmoor National Park Authority, has the theme of how natural beauty positively affects people’s wellbeing and will be held on 12 April 2019 at Dunster Tithe Barn.
2019 is the 70th anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act and celebrates how they are special places where nature and people over time have produced areas of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic values. The Government’s 25-year Environment Plan states that the creation of designated landscapes has been among the most outstanding environmental achievements of the past 100 years. At the same time, it has set up the Glover Review to see what changes are needed in delivering the National Park purposes and enhancing their environments and communities.
The conference will celebrate the British approach to the National Park concept by exploring what is inspirational about them and Exmoor in particular and how they contribute to the nation’s wellbeing from local to the national and international levels. National Parks have inspired people in the past and continue to do so today, and even though they face many challenges, there is hope for a richer future.
Dame Fiona Reynolds will open the conference by speaking about her recent book Fight for Beauty. As a member of the Glover Panel, her message and thoughts will be particularly pertinent. Peter Beacham OBE was responsible for the former English Heritage’s listing programme and will describe the significance of buildings in the landscape. He will be followed by Rob Wilson-North, Exmoor National Park Authority, Head of Conservation & Access, who will explore Exmoor’s unexpected delights.
Adrian Colston, researcher at Exeter University into the management of the natural environment, will discuss hill-farming in a time of change. Interlaced throughout the proceedings will be poems celebrating Exmoor’s farming life read by poet, Adam Horovitz, whose book The Soil Never Sleeps has been widely acclaimed.
The Society Chairman, Rachel Thomas, said: “National Parks were created because of their spectacular scenery, wide open spaces, rich wildlife and biodiversity, a rural culture stretching back to prehistoric times and their suitability for outdoor recreation. There is certainly much to celebrate about them and be inspired by places like Exmoor.” The conference will close with further information on how Exmoor will be celebrating the 1949 Act.
The Spring Conference will be held on 12 April 2019 at Dunster Tithe Barn from 10am to 3pm and will include lunch. Further details and booking can be found on www.exmoorsociety.com or by telephoning The Exmoor Society on 01398 323335.
PHOTO by Jane A. Mares, from Exmoor Magazine