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gene 17 kayak adventure weekend

Worth a look for anyone interested in kayak and canoe adventures…some great speakers and films to look forward to.

for more details click

Visitors to Exmoor and the Quantocks are getting all charged up this week as a new electric bicycle e-bike scheme is launched. Exmoor Unplugged, an exciting new electric cycle hire project, launches its pilot scheme this week. The project is designed to encourage locals and visitors alike to enjoy the countryside sustainably whilst doing local businesses a power of good.

Local accommodation providers the Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster and the Old Cider House in Nether Stowey are the first businesses in the area to sign up to the project. From them members of the public can hire eco-friendly electric bicycles and cycle along beautiful recommended routes to pubs, cafes and restaurants in the area.

Antony Brunt, owner of Yarn Market Hotel, said, “When you get out of your car and onto an electric bike you see more, hear more and enjoy more. It’s like having the wind behind you all the way. The bikes do the hard work up the hills, whilst you can enjoy the simple pleasures of nature in a sustainable way.”

Ian Pearson, of the Old Cider House, added, “And because the electric motor only kicks in once the bike is being pedalled, our hirers are getting a gentle, healthy workout.”

Currently, Exmoor Unplugged is also establishing a network of charging points across Exmoor and the Quantocks. Participating businesses will benefit from the extra custom while hirers recharge both their own batteries and those of their electric bicycles.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Exmoor Unplugged project, please contact Juliet Moulton, Communications Officer, on 07896 746887.

The North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival has teamed up with the Exmoor Food Festival to bring 10 forays for foodies to its varied menu of 24 walks from September 30 – October 3.

Hungry Exmoor hikers can tuck into fresh organic produce at Hindon Farm or enjoy cream teas while drinking in beautiful views at Wimbleball Lake.

Two walks on the Quantock Hills feature pit stops at local pubs while Exmoor’s ancient burial grounds, known as barrows, can be discovered on the real ale trail to the Poltimore Arms at Brayford.

The festival also includes trips to classic local landmarks, such as the prehistoric stone ‘clapper’ bridge, known as the Tarr Steps, and the romantic turreted castle at the wonderfully preserved medieval village of Dunster.

Nature lovers can discover the secrets of the International Biosphere Reserve at Braunton Burrows, and all the walks pass through magnificent scenery at a time when the countryside is at its autumnal best.

Bryan Cath, festival organiser, said:  “As well as food and ale trails, there are walks to discover the area’s history, heritage and rich wildlife.  Many walks are led by local experts or rangers so it’s a great way to learn more about our landscapes.

“The festival is a chance to enjoy the great outdoors on our doorstep with family and friends.  Nineteen of the walks are also dog friendly, which means man’s best friend isn’t necessarily confined to the kennel.

“With walks of all sorts, we aim to provide something to please amateur amblers through to enthusiasts looking for all-day adventures.”

To view all the walks and book online on the festival website, visit www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk  or phone to book on 01271 863001. For places to stay in and around Exmoor visit www.Visit-Exmoor.co.uk

Win a Fatyak Kayak in this autumn’s copy of Exmoor The Country Magazine. Just fill in the form inside the magazine and send it off to be in with a chance of winning one of these fab sit-on-top kayaks worth over £200!

The Fatyak sit-on-top kayaks are manufactured in Williton Somerset in the UK by Ocean mouldings and provide an easy and affordable entry into the world of kayaking & paddling. They are very stable, easy to paddle and great fun for you, the children and the whole family. Because they’re sit on top kayaks, it means that if the very worst happens and you capsize, it’s not a problem because you won’t get stuck and you can climb straight back on.

Win a kayak

Getting around Exmoor is easier than ever a recent survey of Exmoor National Park’s public rights of way (PROW) has revealed. The survey showed that 96% of Exmoor’s PROWs meet the nationally recognised ‘ease of use’ standard, an improvement of 3% over the previous year and above the Management Plan target for 2011.

Exmoor’s public rights of way network extends to almost 1,000km and is managed and maintain by Exmoor National Park Authority under delegated agreements with Devon and Somerset County Councils.

Dan Barnett, head of access and recreation at the National Park Authority said: “This good news is a result of a great team effort to enable local people and visitors to enjoy Exmoor more easily. I’d also like to thank our volunteers and the community for their efforts and assure our path users that we will do our best to maintain these standards despite the difficult financial climate”.

Shear Exmoor

Fancy yourself as a Sheep Shearer??

Shear Exmoor is a charity Sheep shearing competition to be staged on the playing field at Wheddon Cross on Sunday 29 May 2011 from 12 noon onwards. There are 7 different classes including Open, Intermediate, Ladies, Veterans, Young Farmers Junior and Senior and Blade, 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.

If you are a local business and would like to make a donation and advertise your business/services please also contact us.

The Organisers of The Doone Run, North Devon Road Runners, are looking for a new sponsor for the 2011 Race.

The Race being held on 23 September 2011 will mark its 28th staging and remains one of the most enduring races in the Country both in age and requirements to run it.

Any interest, please contact John McGowan 01598 753573

Website

The official opening of Exmoor Search & Rescue Team’s new Rescue Centre in South Molton, Devon, is taking place on Monday 2nd May 2011 (MR Awareness Day).  All are invited to attend and join the celebrations from 2pm and the Rescue Centre will be officially opened by Sir Ranulph Fiennes at 3pm.  The Centre was purchased a year ago and the team has been working hard since then to transform it into a base for storing vehicles and equipment and for holding meetings and training events.

In addition to viewing our new facilities, there will be equipment demonstrations and displays of our working practices. There will also be refreshments and opportunities to meet with team members and operational officers throughout the afternoon.

I hope you will be able to join in our celebrations of this huge development in the team’s history and that we will see you on May 2nd. If you could let us know if you are able to attend and give us some idea of numbers that would be much appreciated.

For more information please contact the secretary by email: secretary@exmoor-srt.org.uk.

Walking Festival

Friday 29th April to Sunday 8th May

The North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival, Friday 29th April – Sunday 8th May, is being extended further into the Quantock Hills for the first time this year; it’s also longer than ever before with an extra weekend and features over 50 guided walks.

To help walkers plan their outings, the festival is being split into two. From Friday 29th April to Tuesday, 3rd May walks will be centred on North Devon, while from Wednesday 4th they will move to Exmoor and the Quantocks.  Many of the outings are set within National Trust landscapes or the protected North Devon and Quantock Hills Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

All walks are graded according to their pace and level of difficulty ranging from an easy three miles suitable for families up to a full day’s outing with challenging ascents and descents, so there is something for most abilities from amateur amblers to hardened hikers. Some walks include a breakfast, lunch or cream tea stop with a chance to sample local produce, while a packed lunch should be taken on others; well behaved dogs are also welcome on many.

New Walks for 2011

Amongst this year’s new walks is Chichester’s Haunt, an 8.5mile circular walk on Tuesday, 3rd May following the river Yeo upstream to Shirwell in North Devon where Sir Francis Chichester is buried. On Wednesday, 4th May there’s a 7mile circular walk led by a National Park Ranger and archaeologist looking at the early history of Exmoor descending to Culbone Church, the smallest in England, while keeping a look out for red deer in the woods.

New outings in the Quantocks include Quantocks Combes, also on 4th May, which brings together the geography, murders and wildlife of the hills; Hill Defence and Stone Age Ways on Friday, 6thMay and A Ruffle around Wills Neck on Saturday, 7th May. This moderately difficult 6.1m circular walk offers magnificent country views and includes lunch at a local inn before ascending to the highest point on the Quantocks at Wills Neck (1,260ft).

An illustrated talk on North Devon wildlife is also being included for the first time presented by well-known local flora and fauna specialist, Mary Breeds at the Braunton Countryside Centre on Saturday evening, 30th April.

How to Book

Prices range from £2.50 per person for the illustrated talk and £5 to £16 for the walks (some prices include meals) with discounts for five walks or more booked in one transaction and larger groups. For more details and to book visit www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk or call 01271 863001. A festival brochure is available by emailing bryan@activeexmoor.co.ukgiving your name and address or call 01271 883131.

Accommodation

Two to ten night holidays are on offer during the walking festival at the Yarn Market Hotel, Dunster including the guided walks and minibus transport to and from the start/finish point. The hotel is also offering a five night dinner B&B South West Coast Path guided walking holiday from 2nd – 7th May from £370 per person. Book direct on Tel: 01643 821425, www.exmoor-walking-holidays.co.uk.

Other accommodation suggestions can be found in the 2011 Exmoor guide; for a free copy call Minehead Tourist Information Centre on 0845 166 1001; information can also be found on www.exmoor.com and www.visit-exmoor.co.uk.

The 2011 North Devon and Exmoor Autumn Walking Festival will take place between 30th September and 3rd October, which coincides with the start of the Exmoor Food Festival (1st – 9thOctober) – some great foodie walks are being planned amongst others.

The North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival is sponsored by Holiday Cottages with support from Exmoor National Park, Exmoor Tourist Association, Quantock Hills AONB Service and the South West Coast Path national trail; the event is organised by West Country Walks and Active Exmoor.

Snowdrop Valley Park and Ride scheme will be once again run by Cutcombe Parish Council with support from Exmoor National Park Authority, Badgworthy Land Company and Exmoor Farmers Livestock Auctions.

For years this remote valley was a secret known only to locals. As visitors increased, so did congestion on the single track sunken road, obstruction of access to local houses and farms, and damage to roadside verges. Exmoor National Park Authority ran a park and ride scheme and in 2008 Cutcombe Parish Council took it over. Access to this privately owned valley is kindly granted by Badgworthy Land Company.

Visitors walking the circular route in the valley will pass the site of a sawmill, once powered by the river Avill. The course of the water channel (or ‘leat’) can still be seen. A steam engine provided power in dry summers. The top path from the bridge runs along the bank of another leat.  Larch and oak were used to construct gates and railway wagons.  For years the Holland family, and later the Schofield family, sold snowdrops in Minehead, however it is now illegal to pick them and visitors are requested not to stand on them.

The scheme will run from Saturday 5 until Sunday 27 February 2011 inclusive, when Drapers Way and Steart Lane will be closed to all motor traffic except residents, emergency services, postal and other deliveries, and disabled drivers.  The closure is a legal order and any vehicles breaking this may be reported to the police.

Buses will run from the Rest and Be Thankful Inn car park regularly from 10:30am to 3:50pm with the last bus back from the valley at 4:35pm.  The fare is for the round trip or part of the trip and payment will be made to the bus driver – correct change would be appreciated.  The bus journey costs £4 for adults; £3 for OAPs; £2 for children 5 – 15; and children under 5 go free.  Unfortunately the Senior Citizens Travel Pass cannot be used.  Dogs will be carried at the discretion of the driver.

On Thursday 10th and Wednesday 16th February there will be livestock markets in the village so parking will be restricted.  At all other times the Rest and Be Thankful car park will be used as a short stay car park.  Long stay car parking can be found at the livestock market 150 yards from the cross roads heading towards Dunkery Beacon.

The walking route into the valley will be specially waymarked and visitors should wear appropriate clothing and footwear for winter walking.

Disabled drivers (blue badge holders) and minibus drivers with passengers unable to use the bus service should drive to Wheddon Cross where they will be given a special pass, verbal directions and instructions for parking.  A donation towards the running of the scheme would be appreciated.  Coach companies can contact 07531 680445 to make arrangements.

Scheme coordinator Sally Parish said “The recent cold weather has slowed the flowers down so fingers crossed they should be on track for the first weekend of the scheme providing we don’t get snow!”

Sally added “Weekends and half term are likely to be very busy and we are encouraging visitors to travel by public transport, such as the 399 Dulverton to Minehead route, where possible to reduce congestion and parking problems”.

 

The ExploreMoor website provides information regarding public transport links at www.exploremoor.co.uk/interactive-map.htm and suggestions for other things to do when you visit Wheddon Cross can be found at www.exploremoor.co.uk/destination-wheddon-cross.htm.

Souvenirs will be available – greetings cards, postcards and jute shopping bags – as well as potted snowdrops which have been grown by Cutcombe First School’s Garden Club.

Various organisations and charities will be opening the Snowdrop Cafe in the Moorland Hall during the park and ride scheme – see the website for futher details.  The Rest and Be Thankful Inn, Exmoor House Hotel Tea Room and Livestock Market Café will be open on various days providing much needed refreshments.

Any alterations to the scheme (for example in the event of bad weather); details of extra events being held in the area; and community fundraising will be notified on www.wheddoncross.org.uk or by telephoning 07531 680445.

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