Geobox|Protected Area
name = Exmoor
native_name =
other_name =
other_name1 =
category_local = National Park of England
category_iucn = II

image_size =
image_caption = View of the Porlock Vale over toward Bossington Hill from Porlock Hill
country = United Kingdom

country_type = State
state = England
state_type = Constituent country

region = Somerset
region1 = Devon
region_type = County
district = West Somerset
district1 = North Devon
district2 = Mid Devon
district3 =
city_type = Settlements
city = Withypool
city1 = Exford
city2 = Simonsbath
city3 = Wheddon Cross
city4 = Lynton
city5 = Lynmouth
location =
lat_d =
lat_m =
lat_s =
lat_NS =
long_d =
long_m =
long_s =
long_EW =
elevation_imperial =
biome =
biome_share =
biome1 =
biome1_share =
geology = Devonian
geology1 = Carboniferous
plant = Oak
plant1 = Ash
plant2 = Hazel
plant3 = Lichens
plant4 = Moss
plant5 = Fern
animal = Exmoor Pony
animal1 = Exmoor Horn
animal2 = Whiteface Dartmoor
animal3 = Cheviot sheep
animal4 = Red deer
animal5 = Merlin
animal6 = Peregrine Falcon
animal7 = Eurasian Curlew
animal8 = European Stonechat
animal9 = Dipper
animal10 = Dartford Warbler
animal11 = Ring Ouzel
area_imperial = 267
area1 =
area1_type =
length =
length_orientation =
width =
width_orientation =
highest = Dunkery Beacon
highest location =
highest_lat_d = 51
highest_lat_m = 09
highest_lat_s = 45
highest_lat_NS = N
highest_long_d = 3
highest_long_m = 35
highest_long_s = 19
highest_long_EW = W
highest_elevation_imperial = 1703
lowest = Sea Level
lowest_location =
lowest_lat_d =
lowest_lat_m =
lowest_lat_s =
lowest_lat_NS =
lowest_long_d =
lowest_long_m =
lowest_long_s =
lowest_long_EW =
lowest_elevation_imperial = 0
established_type = National Park of England
established = 1954
established1_type =
established1 =
management_body = Exmoor National Park Authority
management_location = Dulverton
management_lat_d = 51
management_lat_m = 02
management_lat_s = 27
management_lat_NS = N
management_long_d = 3
management_long_m = 32
management_long_s = 54
management_long_EW = W
management_elevation_imperial =
visitation =
visitation_year =
free_type =
free =
free1_type =
free1 =

map_locator_x = 27
map_locator_y = 88
map_size =
map_caption =
map_first =
website = http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/

Exmoor is a National Park situated on the Bristol Channel coast of south west England. The park straddles two counties, with 71% of the park located in Somerset and 29% located in Devon. The total area of the park, which includes the Brendon Hills and the Vale of Porlock, covers convert|267|sqmi|km2|0 of hilly open moorland and includes convert|34|mi|km|0 of coast. It is primarily an upland area with a dispersed population living mainly in small villages and hamlets. The largest settlements are Porlock, Dulverton, Lynton, and Lynmouth, which together contain almost 40% of the National Park population. Lynton and Lynmouth are combined into one parish and are connected by the Cliff Railway.

Prior to being a park, Exmoor was a Royal Forest and hunting ground, which was sold off in 1818. Exmoor was one of the first British National Parks, designated in 1954, under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, and is named after the main river that flows out of the district, the River Exe.

Several areas of the moor have been declared a Site of Special Scientific interest due to the flora and fauna. This title earns the site some legal protection from development, damage, and neglect. In 1993 Exmoor was also designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area.


Exmoor is an upland of sedimentary rocks classified as gritstones, sandstones, slate, shale and limestone, siltstones, and mudstones depending on the particle size. They are largely from the Devonian and early Carboniferous periods (the name Devonian comes from Devon, as rocks of that age were first studied and described here). As this area of Britain was not subject to glaciation, the plateau remains as a remarkably old landform. [cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/looking_after/looking_after_landscape/geology.htm |title=Geology |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format= |work=Exmoor National Park ] [cite web |url=http://www.english-nature.org.uk/science/natural/NA_HAbDetails.asp?Name=Exmoor+and+the+Quantocks&N=87&H=65 |title=Exmoor and the Quantocks |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format= |work=Natural England ] Quartz and iron mineralisation can be detected in outcrops and subsoil. [cite web |url=http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/hughprudden/sgg.htm |title=Somerset Geology |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format= |work=Good Rock Guide ] The underlying rocks are covered by moors and supported by wet, acid soil. The highest point on Exmoor is Dunkery Beacon; at convert|1704|ft|m|0 it is also the highest point in Somerset.


Exmoor has convert|34|mi|km|0 of coastline, including the highest cliffs in England, which reach a height of convert|1350|ft|m|0 at Culbone Hill. However, the crest of this coastal ridge of hills is more than a mile (1.6 km) from the sea. If a cliff is defined as having a slope greater than 60 degrees, the highest cliff on mainland Britain is Great Hangman near Combe Martin at convert|1043|ft|m|0 high, with a cliff face of convert|800|ft|m|0.cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/learning_about/moor_facts.htm |title=Moor Facts |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format= |work=Exmoor National Park ] Its sister cliff is the convert|716|ft|m|0 Little Hangman, which marks the edge of Exmoor.

Exmoor's woodlands sometimes reach the shoreline, [cite web|url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/looking_after/looking_after_landscape/woodland_and_trees.htm|title=Woodland and Trees|accessdate=2007-12-08] especially between Porlock and "The Foreland", where they form the single longest stretch of coastal woodland in England and Wales. [cite web|url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/looking_after/looking_after_landscape/rivers_coast_lines.htm|title=Landscape / Rivers and the coast|publisher=Exmoor Park|accessdate=2007-12-08] The Exmoor Coastal Heaths have been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the diversity of plant species present. [cite web | title=Exmoor Coastal Heaths | work=English Nature | url=http://www.english-nature.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1004152.pdf | accessdate=2006-08-12]

The scenery of rocky headlands, ravines, waterfalls and towering cliffs gained the Exmoor coast recognition as a Heritage Coast in 1991. [cite web |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/west/series6/exmoor.shtml |title=Flying High |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format= |work=BBC ] With its huge waterfalls and caves, this dramatic coastline has become an adventure playground for both climbers and for explorers. The cliffs provide one of the longest and most isolated seacliff traverses in the UK. [cite web |url=http://members.madasafish.com/~exmoorwalker/page100.html |title=The Exmoor Coast Traverse |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format= |work=Exmoor Walker ] The South West Coast Path, at convert|630|mi|km|0 the longest National Trail in England and Wales, starts at Minehead and runs along all of Exmoor's coast. There are small harbours at Lynmouth, Porlock Weir, and Combe Martin. Once crucial to coastal trade, the harbours are now primarily used for pleasure; individually owned sail boats and non-commercial fishing boats are often found in the harbours. [cite web|url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/looking_after/looking_after_landscape/rivers_coast_lines.htm|title=Water On Exmoor|publisher=Exmoor National Park|accessdate=2007-12-08]


The high ground forms the catchment area for numerous rivers and streams. There are about convert|300|mi|km|sigfig=1 of named rivers on Exmoor. [cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_07.pdf |title=Water on Exmoor – Filex 7 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park ] The River Exe, for which Exmoor is named, [cite web |url=http://www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/site/about-exmoor/countryside |title=Countryside |accessdate=2007-12-07 |format= |work=Vsit Exmoor ] [cite web |url=http://www.equinetourism.co.uk/editorial/exmoorridinginfo.asp |title=Exmoor National Park |accessdate=2007-12-07 |format= |work=Equine Tourism ] rises at Exe Head near the village of Simonsbath, close to the Bristol Channel coast, but flows more or less directly due south, so that most of its length lies in Devon. It reaches the sea at a substantial ria (estuary) on the south (English Channel) coast of Devon. Historically, its lowest bridging point was at Exeter, though there is now a viaduct for the M5 motorway about convert|2|mi|km|sigfig=1 south of the city centre. It has several tributaries which arise on Exmoor. The River Barle runs from northern Exmoor to join the River Exe at Exebridge, Devon. The river and the Barle Valley are both designated as biological sites of Special Scientific Interest. Another tributary, the River Haddeo, flows from the Wimbleball Lake.

The other rivers arising on Exmoor flow north to the Bristol Channel. These include the River Heddon which runs along the western edges of Exmoor, reaching the North Devon coast at Heddon's Mouth, [cite web |url=http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-walk-heddon_valley_woody_bay.pdf |title=Coastal walk – Heddon Valley & Woody Bay, Exmoor, North Devon Coast |accessdate=2008-01-01 |format=PDF |work=National Trust ] and the East and West Lyn which meet at Lynmouth. Hoar Oak Water is a moorland tributary of the East Lyn River the confluence being at Watersmeet. [cite web |url=http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-watersmeethouse/w-watersmeet-history_archaeology.htm |title=Watersmeet |accessdate=2008-01-01 |format= |work=National Trust ] The River Horner, which is also known as Horner Water, rises near Luccombe and flows into Porlock Bay near Hurlestone point.


Along with the rest of South West England, Exmoor has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England. The mean annual temperature at Simonsbath is 8.3°C (47°F) and shows a seasonal and a diurnal variation, but due to the modifying effect of the sea the range is less than in most other parts of the UK. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 1 °C (34 °F) and 2 °C (36 °F). July and August are the warmest months in the region with mean daily maxima around 21 °C (70 °F). In general, December is the month with the least sunshine and June the month with the most sun. The south west of England has a favoured location with regard to the Azores high pressure when it extends its influence north-eastwards towards the UK, particularly in summer.

Cloud often forms inland, especially near hills, and reduce the amount of sunshine that reaches the park. The average annual sunshine is about 1,600 hours. Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. In summer, convection caused by solar surface heating sometimes forms shower clouds and a large proportion of rainfall falls from showers and thunderstorms at this time of year. The average annual total rainfall is convert|69.6|in|mm|0,cite web |url=http://www.exe-estuary.org/CPPart1PhysicalDescription1.pdf |title=The Exe Catchment, Devon, 2004 |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format=PDF |work=Exe estuary management partnership ] although convert|7.35|in|mm|0 fell in the 24-hour period preceding 10 am on the 16 August 1952, which was one of the contributory factors leading to the flooding in Lynmouth. [cite web |url=http://www.atypon-link.com/ITELF/doi/pdf/10.1680/ipeds.1953.12369 |title=Hydraulics Engineering Division Meeting |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format=PDF |work=The Institution of Civil Engineers Proceedings, Part 111, December 1953 ] About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest winds. The wind predominantly comes from the south west. cite web | title=About south-west England | publisher=Met Office |url=http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/location/southwestengland/index.html | accessdate=2006-05-21]


There is evidence of occupation of the area by people from Mesolithic times, onward. In the Neolithic period, people started to manage animals and grow crops on farms cleared from the woodland, rather than act purely as hunters and as gatherers. [cite journal |last=Fyfe |first=R.M. |authorlink= |coauthors=A. G. Brown and S. J. Rippon |year=2003 |month= |title=Mid- to late-Holocene vegetation history of Greater Exmoor, UK: estimating the spatial extent of human-induced vegetation change |journal=Vegetation History and Archaeobotany |volume=12 |issue=4 |pages=215–232 |doi=10.1007/s00334-003-0018-3 |url=http://www.springerlink.com/content/p1jl55y2r5fkn4gr/ |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |quote= ] It is also likely that extraction and smelting of mineral ores to make metal tools, weapons, containers and ornaments started in the late Neolithic, and continued into the bronze and iron ages. An earthen ring at Parracombe is believed to be a Neolithic henge dating from 5000–4000 BC, and "Cow Castle", which is where White Water meets the River Barle, is an Iron Age fort at the top of a conical hill.cite web |url=http://www.holidayexmoor.co.uk/exmoor-history.htm |title=Ancient Exmoor |accessdate=2007-11-29 |format= |work=Holiday Exmoor ] Tarr Steps are a prehistoric ("circa" 1000 BC) clapper bridge across the River Barle, about 2.5 miles (4 km) south east of Withypool and convert|4|mi|km|0 north west of Dulverton. The stone slabs weigh up to convert|5|LT|kg|0|lk=on apiece and the bridge has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building, [cite web | title= Tarr Steps | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/details/default.aspx?id=429207 | accessdate=2007-05-09] to recognise its special architectural, historical or cultural significance. There is little evidence of Roman occupation apart from two fortlets on the coast.cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/the_history_of_exmoor |title=The history of Exmoor |accessdate=2007-11-29 |format= |work=Exmoor National Park ]

Holwell Castle, at Parracombe, was a Norman motte and bailey castle built to guard the junction of the east–west and north–south trade routes,cite web |url=http://www.exmoorselfcatering.co.uk/_H/Holwell_Castle.php |title=Holwell Castle |accessdate=2008-01-03 |format= |work=Everything Exmoor ] enabling movement of people and goods and the growth of the population. Alternative explanations for its construction suggest it may have been constructed to obtain taxes at the River Heddon bridging place, or to protect and supervise silver mining in the area around Combe Martin. [cite web |url=http://www.ndas.org.uk/holwellcastel.htm |title=Holwell Castle |accessdate=2008-01-03 |format= |work=North Devon Archaeological Society ] It was convert|131|ft|m|0 in diameter and convert|20|ft|m|0 high above the bottom of a rock cut ditch which is convert|9|ft|m|0 deep. [cite web |url=http://homepage.mac.com/philipdavis/English%20sites/862.html |title=Holwell Castle, Parracombe |accessdate=2008-01-03 |format= |work=The Gatehouse ] It was built, in the late 11th or early 12th century, of earth with timber palisades for defence and a one or two storey wooden dwelling. It was probably built by either Martin de Tours, the first lord of Parracombe, William de Falaise (who married Martin's widow) or Robert FitzMartin, although there are no written records to validate this. The earthworks of the castle are still clearly visible from a nearby footpath, but there is no public access to them.

and hunting ground was established, administered by a warden.

In the mid-17th century John Boevey was the warden. He built a house at Simonsbath, and for 150 years it was the only house in the forest. [cite web | title=Simonsbath House Hotel | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/details/default.aspx?id=265427 | accessdate=2007-11-27] The Royal Forest was sold off in 1818. The Simonsbath House was bought along with the accompanying farm by John Knight for the sum of £50,000. Knight set about converting the Royal Forest into agricultural land. He and his family built most of the large farms in the central section of the moor, and built convert|22|mi|km|0 of metalled access roads to Simonsbath. He built a convert|29|mi|km|0|sing=on wall around his estate, much of which still survives. [cite web |url=http://www.whatsonexmoor.co.uk/villages/simonsbath.htm |title=Simonsbath |accessdate=2007-11-27 |work=Whatsonexmoor ]

In the mid-19th century a mine was developed alongside the River Barle. The mine was originally called Wheal Maria, then changed to Wheal Eliza. It was a copper mine from 1845–54 and then an iron mine until 1857, although the first mining activity on the site may be from 1552. [cite web |url=http://webapp1.somerset.gov.uk/her/details.asp?prn=33007 |title=Wheal Eliza mine, NE of Simonsbath, Exmoor |accessdate=2007-11-27 |format= |work=Somerset Historic Environment Record ] At Simonsbath, a restored Victorian water-powered sawmill, which was damaged in the floods of 1992, has now been purchased by the National Park and returned to working order; it is now used to make the footpath signs, gates, stiles, and bridges for various sites in the park. [cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/news_static/2006_may_7.htm |title=Guided Tours of Simonsbath Sawmill |accessdate=2007-11-27 |format= |work=Exmoor National Park ] [cite web |url=http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/upload/pdf/A_Landscape_Legacy_National_Parks_and_the_historic_environment.pdf |title=Exmoor National Park: Simonsbath sawmill |accessdate=2007-11-28 |format=PDF |work=A Landscape Legacy: National Parks and the historic environment: English Heritage ]


In addition to the Exmoor Coastal Heaths Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), two other areas are specifically designated. North Exmoor covers convert|29666|acre|ha|abbr=off and includes the Dunkery Beacon and the Holnicote and Horner Water Nature Conservation Review sites, and the Chains Geological Conservation Review site. The Chains site is nationally important for its south-western lowland heath communities and for transitions from ancient semi-natural woodland through upland heath to blanket mire. The site is also of importance for its breeding bird communities, its large population of the nationally rare Heath Fritillary butterfly ("Mellicta athalia"), an exceptional woodland lichen flora and its palynological interest of deep peat on the Chains.cite web | title=North Exmoor | work=English Nature | url=http://www.english-nature.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1006541.pdf | accessdate=2006-08-19] The South Exmoor SSSI is smaller, covering convert|7741|acre|ha|abbr=off and including the River Barle and its tributaries with submerged plants such as Alternate Water-milfoil ("Myriophyllum alterniflorum"). There are small areas of semi-natural woodland within the site, including some which are ancient. The most abundant tree species is Sessile Oak ("Quercus petraea"), the shrub layer is very sparse and the ground flora includes Bracken, Bilberry and a variety of mosses. The heaths have strong breeding populations of birds, including Whinchat ("Saxicola rubetra") and Stonechat ("Saxicola torquata"). Wheatear ("Oenanthe oenanthe") are common near stone boundary walls and other stony places. Grasshopper Warbler ("Locustella naevia") breed in scrub and tall heath. Trees on the moorland edges provide nesting sites for Redpoll ("Acanthis flammea"), Common Buzzard ("Buteo buteo") and Raven ("Corvus corax").cite web | title=South Exmoor | work=English Nature | url=http://www.english-nature.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1002269.pdf | accessdate=2006-08-20]


Uncultivated heath and moorland cover about a quarter of Exmoor landscape. Some moors are covered by a variety of grasses and sedges, while others are dominated by heather. There are also cultivated areas including the Brendon Hills, which lie in the east of the National Park. There are also convert|32.4|sqmi|km2|0 of woodland,cite web |url=http://www.everythingexmoor.org.uk/_L/Landscape.php |title=Landscape of Exmoor National Park |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format= |work=Everything Exmoor ] comprising a mixture of broad-leaved (oak, ash and hazel) and conifer trees. Horner Woodlands and Tarr Steps woodlands are prime examples. The country's highest beech wood, convert|1200|ft|m|0 above sea level, is at Birch Cleave at Simonsbath. At least two species of whitebeam tree: "Sorbus subcuneata" and Sorbus 'Taxon D' are unique to Exmoor. These woodlands are home to lichens, mosses and ferns. Exmoor is the only national location for the lichens "Biatoridium delitescens", "Rinodina fimbriata" and "Rinodina flavosoralifera", the latter having been found only on one individual tree.


Sheep have grazed on the moors for more than 3,000 years, shaping much of the Exmoor landscape by feeding on moorland grasses and heather. Traditional breeds include Exmoor Horn, Cheviot and Whiteface Dartmoor and Greyface Dartmoor sheep. Devon ruby red cattle are also farmed in the area. Exmoor ponies can be seen roaming freely on the moors. They are a landrace rather than a breed of pony, and may be the closest breed remaining in Europe to wild horses. The ponies are rounded up once a year to be marked and checked over. In 1818 Sir Richard Acland, the last warden of Exmoor, took thirty ponies and established the Acland Herd, now known as the Anchor Herd, whose direct descendants still roam the moor. [cite web |url=http://www.moorlandmousietrust.org.uk/History_Exmoor_Pony.htm |title=History of the Exmoor Pony |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format= |work=Exmoor Pony Centre ] In the Second World War the moor became a training ground, and the breed was nearly killed off, with only 50 ponies surviving the war. [cite web |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/somerset/content/articles/2007/08/21/exmoor_pony_feature.shtml |title=Exmoor Ponies- a dying breed? |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format= |work=BBC Somerset] The ponies are classified as endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, with only 390 breeding females left in the UK. In 2006 a Rural Enterprise Grant, administered locally by the South West Rural Development Service, was obtained to create a new Exmoor Pony Centre at Ashwick, at a disused farm with convert|17|acre|ha|abbr=off of land with a further convert|138|acre|ha|abbr=off of moorland. [cite web |url=http://www.gnn.gov.uk/content/detail.asp?NewsAreaID=2&ReleaseID=219332 |title=New pony centre to support preservation of Exmoor ponies |accessdate=2007-11-29 |format= |work=Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (South West) ]

Red deer have a stronghold on the moor and can be seen on quiet hillsides in remote areas, particularly in the early morning. The moorland habitat is also home to hundreds of species of birds and insects. Birds seen on the moor include Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Curlew, European Stonechat, Dipper, Dartford Warbler and Ring Ouzel. Black Grouse and Red Grouse are now extinct on Exmoor, [cite web |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/outdoors/moors/exmoor_birds.shtml |title=Good and bad news on Exmoor's birds |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format= |work=BBC ] probably as a result of a reduction in habitat management, and for the former species, an increase in visitor pressure. [Ballance, David K. and Gibbs, Brian D. (2003) "The birds of Exmoor and the Quantocks"]

Beast of Exmoor

The Beast of Exmoor is a cryptozoological cat (see phantom cat) that is reported to roam Exmoor. There have been numerous reports of eyewitness sightings, however the official Exmoor National Park website lists the beast under "Traditions, Folklore, and Legends", [cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/print/index/learning_about/learning_publications/exmoor-bibliography/traditions-folklore-legends.htm |title=Traditions, folklore and traditions |accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=Exmoor National Park ] and the BBC calls it "the famous-yet-elusive beast of Exmoor. Allegedly." [cite web |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/animals/wildbritain/nature_near_you/venue.shtml?vid=4031&rid= |title=Exmoor National Park |accessdate=2008-01-15 |format= |work=BBC Science and Nature: Animals ] Sightings were first reported in the 1970s, although it became notorious in 1983, when a South Molton farmer claimed to have lost over 100 sheep in the space of three months, all of them apparently killed by violent throat injuries. It is reported as being between convert|4|and|8|ft|m|1| from nose to tail. Descriptions of its colouration range from black to tan or dark grey. It is possibly a Cougar or Black Leopard which was released after a law was passed in 1976 [cite web|url=http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/gwd/animallist.pdf |title= schedule of species |accessdate=2007-25-07 |format=pdf|work= Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ] making it illegal for them to be kept in captivity outside zoos. In 2006, the British Big Cats Society reported that a skull found by a Devon farmer was that of a Puma, however, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) states, "Based on the evidence, Defra does not believe that there are big cats living in the wild in England." [cite web |url=http://www.britishbigcats.org/ |title=Exclusive BBCS report reveals startling new evidence for big cats in Britain |accessdate=2008-01-01 |format= |work=British Big Cats Society ]

Government and politics

The National Park, 71% of which is in Somerset and 29% in Devon, [cite web |url=http://www.somerset.gov.uk/enprop/strucplan/review1.htm |title=Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Review. 2000 |accessdate=2007-11-29 |format= |work=Somerset County Council ] has a resident population of 10,600. It was designated a National Park in 1954, under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.cite web |url=http://www.everythingexmoor.org.uk/_E/Exmoor_National_Park_Authority.php |title=Exmoor National Park Authority |accessdate=2007-10-16 |format= |work=Everything Exmoor ] The largest landowners are the National Trust, which owns over 10% of the land, and the National Park Authority, which owns about 7%. Other areas are owned by the Forestry Commission, Crown Estate and Water Companies. The largest private landowner is the Badgworthy Land Company, which represents hunting interests. [cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_04.pdf |title=Geography of Exmoor – Filex 4 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park ]

From 1954 on, local government was the responsibility of the district and county councils, which remain responsible for the social and economic well-being of the local community. Since 1997 the Exmoor National Park Authority, which is known as a ‘single purpose’ authority, has taken over some functions to meet its aims to "conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Parks" and "promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Parks by the public", including responsibility for the conservation of the historic environment. [cite web |url=http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.00100200300400200300l |title=Exmoor National Park NMP |accessdate=2007-11-29 |format= |work=English Heritage ]

The Park Authority receives 80% of its funding as a direct grant from the government. The Park Authority Committee consists of members from parish and county councils, and six appointed by the Secretary of State. The work is carried out by rangers, volunteers and a team of 13 estate workers who carry out a wide range of tasks including maintaining the many miles of rights of way, hedge-laying, fencing, swaling, walling, invasive weed control and habitat management on National Park Authority land.cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/living_in/the_authority.htm |title=The Authority |accessdate=2007-11-29 |format= |work=Exmoor National Park ] There are ongoing debates between the authority and farmers over the biological monitoring of SSSIs, showing the need for a controlled regime of grazing and burning; farmers claim that these regimes are not practical or effective in the long term. [cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/moorlands_of_exmoor_full_report.pdf |title=Moorlands at a Crossroads: The State of the Moorlands of Exmoor, 2004 |accessdate=2007-11-29 |format=PDF |work=The Exmoor Society ]

port and recreation

Although the hunting of animals, particularly deer, with dogs was abolished by the Hunting Act 2004, the Exmoor hunts still meet in full regalia and there is a campaign to resurrect this rural sport. [cite news |first=PJ |last=O'Rourke |authorlink=P. J. O'Rourke |coauthors= |title=Goodwill Hunting |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/hunt/Story/0,,1572286,00.html |work=The Guardian |publisher= |date=2007-08-17 |accessdate=2007-12-07 ] During the Spring, amateur steeplechase meetings (Point to Points) are run by hunts at temporary courses such as Bratton Down and Holnicote. These, along with thoroughbred racing and pony racing, are an opportunity for farmers, huntstaff and the public to witness a day of traditional country entertainment. [cite web |url=http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/72478.html |title=Exmoor huntsman case delayed |accessdate=2007-12-07 |format= |work=Horse and Hound ]

For others walking, climbing, and the scenery are the attractions. The Coleridge Way is a convert|36|mi|km|0|sing=on footpath which follows the walks taken by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Porlock, starting from Coleridge Cottage at Nether Stowey, where he once lived. It starts in the Quantocks before moving onto the Brendon Hills and crosses the fringes of Exmoor National Park at Dunkery Beacon before finishing in Porlock. The Two Moors Way runs from Ivybridge in South Devon to Lynmouth on the coast of North Devon, crossing parts of both Dartmoor and Exmoor. [cite web |url=http://www.coleridgeway.co.uk/ |title=The Coleridge Way |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format= |work=The Coleridge Way ] Both of these walks intersect with the South West Coast Path, Britain's longest National Trail, which starts at Minehead and follows the Exmoor coast before continuing to Poole.

Places of interest

The attractions of Exmoor include 208 scheduled ancient monuments, 16 conservation areas, and other open access land as designated by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Exmoor receives approximately 1.4 million visitor days per year. [cite web |url=http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/learningabout/factsandfigures.htm |title=National Park Facts and Figures |accessdate=2007-12-05 |format= |work=National Parks ] Many come to walk on the moors or along waymarked paths such as the Coleridge Way. Attractions on the coast include the cliff railway, which connects Lynton to neighbouring Lynmouth, where the East and West Lyn River meet. Woody Bay, a few miles west of Lynton, is home to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, a narrow gauge railway which connected the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth to Barnstaple, convert|20|mi|km|0 away. Further along the coast, Porlock is a quiet coastal town with an adjacent salt marsh nature reserve and a harbour at nearby Porlock Weir. Watchet is a historic harbour town with a marina and is home to a carnival, which is held annually in July. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/4422008.stm|title=Carnival is given 2006 reprieve|publisher=BBC|accessdate=2007-12-08] [cite web|url=http://www.watchetcarnival.org.uk/|title=Watchet Carnival (Homepage)|publisher=Watchet Carnival|accessdate=2007-12-08]

Inland, many of the attractions are centred around small towns and villages or linked to the river valleys, such as the ancient clapper bridge at Tarr Steps and the Snowdrop Valley near Wheddon Cross, which is carpeted in snowdrops in February [cite web | url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/somerset/content/image_galleries/snowdrop_valley_2006_gallery.shtml | author=BBC | title=Exmoor's Snowdrop Valley | accessdate=2008-01-01] and, later, displays bluebells. Withypool is also in the Barle Valley. The Two Moors Way passes through the village. [cite web |url=http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/transport/public_rights_of_way/where_to_walk_and_ride/two_moors_way.htm |title=Two Moors Way |accessdate=2008-01-01 |format= |work=Devon County Council ] As well as Dunster Castle, [cite web | title=Dunster Castle and gatehouse | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=264651 | accessdate=2007-09-28] Dunster's other attractions include a priory, [cite web | title=Priory Church of St George | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=264660 | accessdate=2007-09-28] dovecote, yarn market, [cite web | title=Yarn Market | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=264694 | accessdate=2007-09-28] inn, [cite web | title=The Luttrell Arms Hotel | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=264681 | accessdate=2007-09-28] packhorse bridge, mill and a stop on the West Somerset Railway. Exford, lies on the River Exe. Brendon, in the Brendon Valley is noted for the annual Exmoor folk festival. [cite web |url=http://www.exmoorfolkfestival.co.uk/ |title=Exmoor Folk Festival |accessdate=2008-01-01 |format= |work=Exmoor Folk Festival ]

Exmoor has been the setting for several novels including the 19th-century "Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor" by Richard Doddridge Blackmore, and Margaret Drabble's 1998 novel "The Witch of Exmoor". The park was featured on the television programme "Seven Natural Wonders" twice, as one of the wonders of the West Country.

ee also

*Holnicote Estate


Further reading

*cite book |title=Exmoor Geology: Exploring the Landscapes, Rocks and Mines of the National Park |last=Edwards |first=R.A. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2000 |publisher=Exmoor Books |location= |isbn=0861834119
*cite book |title=Moorland management: a study of Exmoor. |last=Miller |first=G.R. |authorlink= |coauthors=J.Miles & O.W. Heal |year=1984 |publisher=Institute of Terrestrial Ecology |location=Cambridge |isbn=
*cite book |title=The field archaeology of Exmoor |last=Riley |first=Hazel |authorlink= |coauthors= Robert Wilson-North |year=2001 |publisher=English Heritage |location=Swindon |isbn=1873592582 9781873592588
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_02.pdf |title=Exmoor National Park – Filex 2 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_03.pdf |title=How Exmoor is run – Filex 3 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_04.pdf |title=Geography of Exmoor – Filex 4 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_05.pdf |title=Geology of Exmoor – Filex 5 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_06.pdf |title=A history of Exmoor – Filex 6 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_07.pdf |title=Water on Exmoor – Filex 7 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_08.pdf |title=Farming on Exmoor – Filex 8 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_09.pdf |title=Wildlife on Exmoor – Filex 9 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_10.pdf |title=Recreation on Exmoor – Filex 10 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_11.pdf |title=Public Paths on Exmoor – Filex 11 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park
*cite web |url=http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/filex_12.pdf |title=Tourism on Exmoor – Filex 12 |accessdate=2007-12-03 |format=PDF |work=Exmoor National Park

External links

* [http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/ Exmoor National Park Authority]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Exmoor — Ex moor, n. [From Exmoor, a district in Somersetshire and Devonshire.] 1. One of a breed of horned sheep of Devonshire, England, having white legs and face and black nostrils. They are esp. valuable for mutton. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. A breed of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Exmoor — Exmoor,   Exmoor Forest [ eksmʊə fɔrɪst], Hochplateau (bis 520 m über dem Meeresspiegel) in Südwestengland, aufgebaut aus devonischen Sandsteinen, fällt mit hohen Kliffs zum Bristolkanal ab, ausgedehnte Heidemoore; seit 1954 Nationalpark (686… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Exmoor — [eks′moor] hilly region of moors in SW England, mostly in Somerset …   English World dictionary

  • Exmoor — Landschaft im Exmoor Nationalpark Küstenlandschaft am Bristol Channel Der Exmoor Nationalpark ist ein Nationalpark in den englischen Grafschaften …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Exmoor — I. noun Etymology: Exmoor, England Date: 1808 1. any of a breed of horned sheep of Devonshire in England valued especially for mutton 2. any of a breed of hardy ponies native to the Exmoor district that have a brown, bay, or dun coat and a pale… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Exmoor — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Exmoor, un parc national anglais exmoor, une race de poney Catégorie : Homonymie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Exmoor — /eks moor, mawr, mohr/, n. a moorland in SW England, in Somersetshire and Devonshire: the scene of Blackmore s novel, Lorna Doone. * * * ▪ region, England, United Kingdom       high moorland in northwestern Somerset and northern Devon, England,… …   Universalium

  • Exmoor — Sp Èksmūras Ap Exmoor L plyn. Jungtinėje Karalystėje (Anglijoje) …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Exmoor — /ˈɛksmɔ/ (say eksmaw) noun a high moorland in south western England, in Somerset and Devon; a national park. Highest point, Dunkery Beacon, 520 m. Also, Exmoor Forest …   Australian English dictionary

  • Exmoor — noun A national park in Devon and Somerset, southern England …   Wiktionary

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