News

2014 is the 60th anniversary of the designation of Exmoor as a national park.

Society Annual General Meeting 2014
The Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 20th September at Dulverton Middle and Community School.
The main speaker is Peter Green, who will outline his controversial report on Exmoor Ponies.

The Annual Report and Year in Retrospect 2013-14 - to read, please click here.
The Financial Statement for year ended 31st May 2014 - to read, please click here.
The proposed new constitution - to read, please click here.

New Premises for the Exmoor Society
The Exmoor Society is excited to announce that it has moved to new premises in the centre of Dulverton. Our new address is 34 High Street, Dulverton, Somerset TA22 9DJ. The Society telephone number remains the same 01398 323335. The Archives will be moving in September. Further details will follow.


'Shingle Bank & Hurlestone Point - Porlock Bay' taken by Ueli Zellweger
Overall winner of the Alfred Vowles Photographic Competition 2014

Unlocking Exmoor's Heritage
Follow the progress of this project via the Library page on this website under Resources or via Twitter on Archivist@ExSocArchivist. The purpose of the project is to assess, conserve and preserve the significant amount of materials that the Society has amassed over 56 years and to make this collection available by a variety of means to everyone, especially students and researchers. Funding has been secured from the Exmoor Society, the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund, charities and private individuals. The project has recruited an Outreach Archivist, Dr. Helen Blackman, who has started on a two-year temporary contract and is already finding exciting material. To read the press release, please click here.

Work has started on preparing the Society's new premises in Dulverton for the relocation of the library and archive. Shelving has been installed in the designated rooms - see the before and after photographs below. Coincidentally this first installation took place on International Archive Day!

Dr. Blackman and volunteer Liz Pile were interviewed by BBC Radio Somerset recently. These interviews were aired on Monday 30th June and can be heard on the programme website, see links below. Each interview lasts approximately 5 minutes and tells of the work that is being done, the treasures being uncovered and the work of the volunteers. To listen to the first interview with Dr. Blackman, click on the following link and scroll forward to 1hr 18mins: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0213f0z .
To hear her second interview, click on the following link and scroll forward to 52 minutes:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0213f0x.
To hear volunteer Liz Pile describe her work and what drew her interest to volunteer for this project, click on the second link and scroll forward to 1hr 52 minutes.
If you are interested in joining the volunteer team, please contact the Society.


The library and archive rooms at the Society's new premises on 20th May 2014


The library and archive rooms with shelving, heating and dehumidifier installed
9th June 2014

The Spring Newsletter 2014 can be read and downloaded by clicking here. It is also available throughout the year on the Resources/Newsletter page.

The Calendar of Events for 2014 is now available on the events page and a hard copy has been sent to members in the spring newsletter.

Hope Bourne
Due to the level of interest in the 2013 exhibition of Hope Bourne at the Guildhall Heritage and Arts Centre, Dulverton, it is showing again in 2014 with some new material and exhibits. The Centre is open from 7th April to 1st November 2014. Opening times are Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm, Saturday 10am - 1pm and Sunday 2 - 4.30pm.

Guided Walk - 'Autumn Photography in the Footsteps of Hope Bourne' - Saturday 18th October. This 3 hour circular walk from Withypool is led by local photographer Saffron Summerfield. Please see the Calendar of Events for further details.

To read more from the 2013 exhibition please click here.

'Hope Bourne's Exmoor : Eloquence in Art'


This book, commissioned by the Society and published in October 2013, can be purchased from the Society for £24.99 including p&p.

A DVD, also commissioned by the Society, 'Hope Bourne - A Celebration of Exmoor' can be purchased at £6.99 plus p&p.

Please see the shop page for these and other items.

Woodland Report - 'Unlocking the Potential of Exmoor's Woodlands'
The Exmoor Society welcomes the exciting, independent and authoritative report undertaken by The Silvanus Trust, with Laura Jones Associates. The report shows how Exmoor's woodlands are contributing to three core themes : Good for People, Good for Nature and Good for Economy. The report makes 18 recommendations and emphasises the importance of adapting to climate change and developing a woodland culture. To read the report please click here, to read the summary of recommendations, click here and to read the press release, click here.

Campaign for Hill Farming
The Exmoor Society has pledged, since its parliamentary reception in 2009, to carry on raising awareness of the crucial role it believes hill farmers play in maintaining the landscape, wildlife and heritage of upland areas.(Click here to read about the results of the Society's parliamentary reception in 2009). Major changes to CAP were announced in 2013. Further details will be given in 2014 and the results will have a serious impact on UK farming and Exmoor farmers in particular. The Society continues to be involved in campaigning for hill farming in two ways.
First in helping to recognise the importance of the ecosystem services approach. These services are widely defined and include food and cultural services such as landscape quality, recreation and well-being as well as water quantity and quality, carbon sequestration and mitigation of climate change. Many of the services are provided by traditional livestock farming and the Society supports the drive for finding alternative sources for funding some of them. Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is being trialled on Exmoor through the Mires project. With funds from South West Water (SWW), drainage ditches are being blocked in order to rewet the peat, and the hydrological impact and other research work into archaeology and biodiversity are being monitored. So far SWW has not come up with a financial model of what it will pay farmers for storing the water even though rewetting peat has caused considerable costs to the farming business.
The second area is the involvement of the Society in the debate on moorland management.

Swaling Season 2014
A seminar was held by the Exmoor National Park Authority in June '14 to discuss the swaling season 2013-2014. The following points were made:
Twice as much swaling was carried out in this season compared with 2013.
The plot size has increased slightly (5.7 ha).
Only 12% of all heather burnt was accidental / illegal as compared with 42% last year.
No swaling was done around Holdstone/Heddons Mouth in 2014.
The average rotation is about 24 years.
To achieve an ideal rotation of between 10 and 12 years for Exmoor there is a need to significantly increase the amount of burning to compensate for poor weather years.

To see the results of the 2012-13 season, please click here.



An Exmoor farm near Molland