Countryfile This Sunday: Exmoor
Broadcast Date: Sunday 20 January, 7pm-8pm BBC1
This week, Julia Bradbury finds out more about Alfred Vowles, a photographer who captured life on the moors over 100 years ago. Whilst Matt searches the reality of the famous novel Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore.
Situated in the south west of Britain, Exmoor plays host to one of the countries most beautiful National Parks. Exmoor National Parks are a gem tucked away at the side of our beautiful country, offering an array of unique landscapes covered with moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland with cliffs cascading into the Bristol Channel, rare plants feeding the woodland animals and ancient forests to snare the senses.
Powdreham Castle, Devon
A perfect family day out, with over six hundred years of history, all contained within its walls. Powdreham Castle is a beautiful place to take the family. The Castle is still lived in today, by the 18th Earl & Countess of Devon. The Castle offers guided tours through its majestic rooms where you can learn about the history and life of the castle and its occupants. The grounds are romantic and peaceful, with a over 600 deer roaming throughout their very own park. Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens overlooked by the gorgeous castle.
The Bakelite Museum
Bakelite, the material of a thousand uses! In 1907 Dr Leo Baekeland invented a material that revolutionised the modern world. Bakelite is used in clothes, utensils and even in our cars. This museum is full of colour and life, set in a seventeen century water mill jam packed full of everything and anything Bakelite. Step into a world of 1950s splendor and marvel at the material this decade took as its own…
Lyn and Exmoor Museum
To learn more about life in Exmoor and understand what it was like to survive the famous Lynmouth flood, why not visit Lyn and Exmoor Museum? With artifacts of the railway, natural history and a collection of photos from the flood, an hour here is an hour well spent. You never know, you might be lucky enough to bump into the house ghost!
Many of the churches throughout the moors have been taken in by the national park due to their historical importance in preserving the county’s history. If you have time it’s well worth delving into the history and taking a peek at some of the ancient churches lucky enough to be still standing. Ten out of the twenty grade I listed buildings in Exmoor are churches. Stoke Pero standing at one of the highest (305 metres) churches on the moors is well worth a visit. It’s beauty and remoteness adds to the romance and sheer beauty of the moor, and it is easy to see why many of the churches have been given the grade I listing, adding them to the National Park.
The National Park
The moors of Exmoor really do offer something for everyone, with sailing, rock climbing, horse riding and long walks through the ancient woodland and moors. You’ll be sure to find you’re footing. The National park is full of an eclectic mix of treasures and landscapes, it looks as though someone has taken all the best parts of the UK countryside and placed them all together in one place.
As expected in such a vast habitat, there are variations of wild animals roaming and forming the moorland throughout Exmoor. Red deer can be found throughout Exmoor and there are more than enough opportunities to see them in the wild. Exmoor is also home to some beautiful ponies originally named ‘Exmoor pony’, many of these are now owned by local farmers due to the recent decline, they have been given the status of endangered by the Rare breeds survival trust with less than 300 actively breeding mares still in existence. Occasionally there are semi-feral ponies jumping about over the moors so keep your eyes open on your visit!
The Moors are famous for their purple haze and expansive areas of heather that attract Dartford warblers, whinchats, stonechats and a beautiful collection of heath fritillary butterflies.
Words by Lucy Blackall
Images © Shutterstock