Riverside Ride Restored

Horse riders are rejoicing at the news that a short section of an important bridleway that links Cutcombe to Dunkery has now been repaired.

After a section of the bridleway became unusable, Exmoor National Park Authority consulted local riders who said that they would prefer to keep the riverside route open rather than creating a new route further up in the woods. The existing path runs alongside the River Avil which had undermined part of the path which has been closed for short periods while the situation was monitored for user safety.

Dan Barnett, Access Manager at National Park Authority said: “We wanted to keep the path by the river if possible as it is a better route and the repair option only cost a little more than a diversion which would have required significant ground works to avoid a long and steep route.”

Local engineer Kelvin Rufus was brought in to see what could be done and, after consulting Natural England and the Environment Agency, the resulting specification was put out to tender. Local contractor Geoff Tucker was appointed and the work was carried out in April this year.

Commenting on the work, local rider and organiser of the Golden Horseshoe, Barbara Wigley said: “I have just been down to look at this path and all I can say is ‘wow!’ After raising concerns about this section last year, I have been looking forward to seeing just what could be done about it and I honestly thought that it would have to be diverted onto a higher path.

“The work that has been done looks like a major undertaking, and has certainly made the path easier to ride, with nice high rails to keep horse away from the edge – this path will definitely be on my next escorted bridleways ride.”

Extreme haircut in aid of ponies and Little Princess Trust

Amanda Sareen, a dedicated volunteer for The Moorland Mousie Trust will be having her flowing hair shorn short to raise money for the rare-breed Exmoor pony and so that the hair can be donated to the Little Princess Trust.

Amanda, who helps out as Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Exmoor pony charity, will surrender her long, auburn locks so that the hair can be made into a wig for children who have lost their hair. She is also asking for people to sponsor her to raise money for the Moorland Mousie Trust at the same time.

Amanda’s hair will be cut in public at the Hair Gallery, High Street, Barnstaple on Friday 8 June at midday.

For more information please contact The Moorland Mousie Trust on 01398 323093 or email info@exmoorponycentre.org.uk.

Woodland Playscheme events coming up

The Woodland Playscheme is running a Diamond Jubilee Hatter’s Tea party on Friday 8 June 1-5pm.  There will be games and activities for everyone to get involved in or you can merely enjoy the woodland and atmosphere. Of course there will also be ample tea and cake!

Organiser Louise Kennedy is still on the lookout for items which they can borrow to dress the woods for the Hatter’s Tea Party so if anyone has large tea pots, bunting, trestle tables, table cloths, mirrors stored away they would love to hear from you! Don’t forget it is fancy dress attire for all too!  Bring your own cup and saucer and your own cream bun!

It’s a tea party theme so you will need a chair,
Come dressed as the Hatter or the Queen to be there!
And don’t forget, be you a rabbit or hare,
Bring a picnic party plate of food to share!
Tea, coffee, squash and cakes will be provided
Wear sensible outdoor clothing, especially wellies if it’s been raining!

This event is being held in a secret squirrel location, so please contact Louise to book. info@woodlandplaycentre.co.uk

The cost is £5 per child and £3 per adult

BOGTASTIC!

Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a fun packed Bogtastic Adventure Day for all ages exploring the bogs and wetlands between Blackpitts and Brendon Two Gates on the B3223 Simonsbath to Lynton road (there will be signs up on the day). The event, which is hosted jointly by the Heart of Exmoor, Exmoor Mires project, the Environment Agency and Exmoor National Park Authority, is on Saturday 9 June from 10am-4pm. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

On offer will be stream dipping, dam making, welly wanging, an Exmoor Pony from the Exmoor Pony Centre, bog trotting, conservation challenges, wildlife activities and guided walks with Mires project staff exploring the nature and heritage of the area.

David Rolls from Heart of Exmoor says: “This will be a fantastic day for all ages exploring this wonderful site so come and enjoy the fun.

“The day also includes an opportunity for youth workers and teachers to get free Environmental Survey* Training from an experienced practitioner from the Peak District National Park – where they say that their peat is deeper than ours!”

There will be toilets on site and food is available locally at Simonsbath. Please wear outdoor clothing and suitable footwear, wellies are advised (the brighter the better). If wet, the event will be held at the National Park’s 19th century sawmill in Simonsbath.

For more information please call 07875 565823 or the National Park Centre in Dulverton 01398 323841.

Exmoor National Park Authority is asking for the public’s help in preventing further acts of vandalism in the Porlock Marsh area

Recently a step was deliberately removed from the Sparkhayes footbridge on the South West Coast Path making it potentially dangerous to use – this has now been repaired. Also being damaged, and sometimes stolen, are the signs at the end of Sparkhayes Lane.

National Park Ranger Tim Parish says: “The steps on the footbridge are relatively new and made from 2 inch timber. They do not fall off and disappear – someone has deliberately removed it. Not only is this criminal damage, but it could lead to serious injury.

“If you see anyone acting suspiciously around any footpath structures or signs or have any information please do let the police or the National Park Authority know.”

Do you offer accommodation on Exmoor or the Quantocks? Special small ads available – limited numbers.

Well we have now delivered all of the summer magazines – phew!  And there is no rest for the wicked as as are already deep into planning for autumn issue!  All of the articles are commissioned and being written as we speak and advertising spaces are selling fast.  You can find out about how to advertise in the magazine by clicking on this link to our website.

For the first time, in autumn issue,  we will be including an accommodation section of small ads for those who would like to advertise but do not want to opt for a larger display advertisement. Prices are competitive at just £35 plus VAT for inclusion on the page in a single space measuring 62mm wide by 42mm high.  So if you provide any kind of accommodation on Exmoor or the Quantocks and would like to find out more please call the magazine’s advertising agency and ask to speak to Grant Harison on 01392 201227. There are only 15 spaces initially available so it will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. This is for the autumn issue which is launched at Dunster Show in the third week of August and stays on the shelves until mid November.

Hunting of the Earl of Rone

If you’re looking for alternative ways to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the Hunting of the Earl of Rone (1-4 June) in Combe Martin is a spectacle not to be missed. Once banned for ‘licentiousness and drunken behaviour’, village maidens, hobby horse, fool and band hunt the earl all weekend. When they finally find him, they march him the length of the high street (stretching two miles, it’s reputedly the longest in the country), regularly shooting and reviving him until he is cast into the sea! Heading into Exmoor’s heartland, the Dulverton Folk Festival (1-5 June) has a host of impressive free acts to entertain in an extended Jubilee Special – you can book a pitch at a local campsite or enjoy the hospitality of hotels, B&Bs and pubs in this most charming Exmoor town.

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.”

Rest & Be to repeat Shear Exmoor event

Following the success of last years’ Shear Exmoor the Rest & Be Thankful Inn at Wheddon Cross have organised it again. Shear Exmoor is a charity sheep-shearing competition to be staged in the Bottom Shed at Goosemoor Farm on Sunday 10 June 2012, Registration before 12noon, 1st class to start approximately 1pm. There are 5 different classes including Open, Intermediate, Veterans, Young Farmers Junior and Senior, plus a fun Team Shear event. There will be additional demonstrations of shearing equipment and local produce and uses of Wool, Bar and BBQ, and CLOWNS will be on hand to do keep the children entertained to create a fun day out for the whole family.

The aim of Shear Exmoor is to raise funds for a local charity CLOWNS, who provide learning and entertainment opportunities all over Exmoor for young children and our local Young Farmers Club. We hope that if the event is successful, it will become the country’s premier shearing competition and perhaps become as famous as the Golden Shears, staged in New Zealand. Shear Exmoor’s aim is to be informative with a fun dimension – Shearing is a very important and skilful job and Exmoor has an abundance of talented shearers, we the organisers wanted to show locals and visitors alike an example of what Exmoor has to offer from the high speed shearing of the Open class to the precision of the Blade shearing – even some well known local farmers are dusting off their equipment for the Veteran class.

We are looking for Entrants for Shear Exmoor the shearing competition – so if you have experience in shearing, whether you are a novice or think yourself a ‘Pro’ please contact either James Webber 07967 358017, Caroline Norman @ the Rest and Be Thankful 01643 841222 or Dave Takle for an entry form.

Electric Mobility Scooters ­– Trampers – Used on an Exmoor Society Walk for the First Time by Disabled Walkers

On a morning in May, four disabled people gathered at Hunters Inn for a walk organised by the Exmoor Society in conjunction with Countryside Mobility, the National Trust and Exmoor National Park Authority. Torrential rain during the past few weeks had sent the scree scurrying down the hillside and the river waters tumbling towards the sea. But this did not daunt the group. Wrapped up in waterproofs, woolly hats and gloves, they made their way through yet more chilly rain down to Heddon’s Mouth and back, along rocky paths amidst some of England’s most dramatic scenery.

Without the Tramper they could not have gone on this walk. The Tramper is an electric mobility scooter with a difference. A specially designed four-wheel drive all-terrain buggy for people with limited mobility, it has large batteries and specially designed tyres, and really comes into its own on rough country paths, mud, grass and even snow.

“I would feel totally bereft if I suddenly found I wasn’t able to walk,” said Exmoor Society walk leader Jenny Gibson. “But the Tramper is brilliant. It enables people who have difficulty walking to get off-road into the countryside and accompany their friends and families when they are out walking.” One of the Tramper drivers commented, “I have never been here before and would never have come on my own. Despite the weather, it has been lovely.” Another said, “I have particularly enjoyed today because of the company. All too often I am out on my own.” The Exmoor Society through the season has a programme of walks with different themes, which are very popular with the public, and it is especially pleased now to be able to include a walk for people with limited mobility.

Trampers are available to hire from sites including Hunters Inn and Wimbleball Lake. To find out more, contact Countryside Mobility South West on 01392 456522, email: info@countrysidemobility.org or visit www.countrysidemobility.org.

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