5 things to do on Exmoor
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 April 2016
This month you can discover a wealth of opportunities to help you enjoy the beauty of Exmoor, as Clare Bourke reveals
Fancy jumping off a rocky coastline into the Atlantic? Exmoor Adventures offers visitors a chance to enjoy a thrilling range of activities, coasteering being just one of them.
Established in 2009, the team of outdoor specialists, led by Dan French, give the more adventurous among us the opportunity to try something new or hone our skills.
As well as coasteering, try your hand at kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling, raft building, archery, stand-up paddle boarding, tree climbing, orienteering and team building activities, all making the most of Exmoor’s natural resources.
From this month a new activity is being introduced with tree climbing in Horner and there are also Easter activities on offer for all the family until 7 April.
Undoubtedly one of the best ways to see some of the 267 square miles of unspoilt moorland, valleys, woodland and farmland that make up Exmoor National Park is on a safari. Based in Porlock, Exmoor Safaris offers the chance to visit places of interest, take in the stunning scenery and view the local wildlife.
Safaris last around two-and-a-half hours with five different routes available via a Landrover Defender 110 that goes off road and across the moor using old coaching routes and tracks normally only used by farmers and National Park vehicles.
You will get a continual lively commentary from owner, driver and guide Richard Growden, who was born and bred in Exmoor, with binoculars provided to help you see the ponies, deer, cattle and other wildlife close up.
Now under the care of the National Trust, Dunster Castle, on the edge of Exmoor National Park, gives young and old a chance to explore, learn more about history and take in some stunning views.
Not only is the house a veritable treasure trove, so too are the gardens which trail around the castle and are home to many species you would more likely find in the Mediterranean.
The last family to live at the castle were the Luttrells who moved in in 1376 and out in 1976, changing a medieval stronghold into a comfortable family home.
Dunster Castle was once the centre of a great estate, which included forests, farms and land, and views from the conservatory reach across to Exmoor and the Quantock Hills.
A number of events are held at the castle, which this month include an Easter Egg Trail until 10 April, Archery and Pistol Shooting until 5 April and Victorian Falconry until 1 April, while a Civil War Weekend takes place from 30 April to 1 May.
Exmoor Walking Festival
Now in its 16th year, this popular festival gives walkers the chance to enjoy a series of guided walks taking in coast and moorland.
Running from 30 April to 7 May, there are between three and seven walks to choose from on each day, each taking in a different area and of varying lengths, lasting anything from just under three hours to a full day.
Walks, which take in many of the stunning villages across the moor such as Dulverton, Selworthy, Porlock Weir, Allerford, Withypool and Haddon Hill, include a guided walk with panoramic views over Dunster Castle.
The Exmoor pony is the UK’s oldest breed of native pony and is now an endangered rare breed.
No visit to Exmoor is complete without seeing one of these beautiful creatures roaming free across the moorland and there are several herds of them, some containing around 30 ponies and foals.
If you are, however, unlucky enough not to see them on the moor, head for The Exmoor Pony Centre near Dulverton which focuses on providing a future for the excess foals that are removed from the moor each year during the annual herd gathering.
Staff and volunteers work to socialise the wild foals, many of which were taken into care when they had nowhere else to go.
Pre-booked riding activities at the centre or across the moor are available as well as the chance to adopt a pony to help fund the charity.
An Easter Activity Day is being held at the centre on 3 April.