Try Fly Fishing

Are you aged 11 to 16? Try Fly Fishing!

For a second year, the River Exe and Tributaries Association (RETA) is offering the opportunity for you to try your hand at fly fishing. You will learn the basics of fly casting under the supervision of experienced and fully qualified instructors registered with the Angling Trust.

Thanks to a bequest from Robin Bailey, a founding supporter of RETA, we are able to provide the opportunity to young people

Free of charge, and you can keep any fish that you catch!

This event is being held at the Exe Valley Fishery, Exebridge, on
Monday 4 August 2014. It is important to register and return your confirmation details as soon as possible as numbers are limited. For further information, or to register, phone Richard Horrocks on 01884 820865 or email:

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Exmoor’s aflutter – 3 Orange Butterflies Wanted!

Exmoor National Park is home to several of Britain’s rarest butterflies – but when it comes to monitoring, it is not only the endangered species that count.

The 3 target species are Heath Fritillary, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary and, surprisingly, the Comma. Despite Commas being considered common, Exmoor National Park’s records are short of data on this little beauty. So please keep your eyes peeled during the summer months.


Paul Camp, National Trust Ranger explained, “June and July are the best times to spot some of the UK’s rarest and most endangered butterflies.”

“The extremely rare Heath fritillary is found in many of the steep sided combes around Dunkery, Alcombe Common, Grabbist Hill Giant’s Chair and Haddon Hill – 90% of these Exmoor locations are on National Trust land. Commas could be almost anywhere on Exmoor – so please help us map where they are.”

Small pearl-bordered fritillaryExmoor Wild Watch 2014 needs your help to learn more about 3 special orange and brown butterflies, so pick up a FREE photo guide to help you identify them, from the 3 National Park Centres or on the Exmoor Wild Watch website. ( )
Through the work of organisations such as Butterfly Conservation we now know Exmoor is a vitally important location for these species, particularly the Fritillaries, which are only found at very few sites in the British Isles.

Exmoor Wild Watch 2014 relies on local expertise from volunteers and officers of Butterfly Conservation, Exmoor Natural History Society and the National Trust. The project is supported by the Exmoor National Park and the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Heart of Exmoor Scheme.

Reporting sightings couldn’t be easier. Just visit or ring 01598 752509.

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Safaris, rides and shows in 2014 Exmoor Pony Festival week

The 2014 Exmoor Pony Festival
Saturday 9 – Sunday 17 August

This year’s Exmoor Pony Festival (Saturday 9 – Sunday 17 August) looks set to be better than ever with safaris, pony shows, rides, walks and special herd open days – with something on each day it’s the ideal way to discover the unique Exmoor Pony breed and those famous free-running herds in their native landscape, Exmoor National Park.


The Exmoor Pony Festival is now in its third year, supported by volunteers and herd owners and by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Heart of Exmoor scheme. The Festival is timed to coincide with the Exmoor Pony Society’s annual Breed Show on Wednesday 13 August at the Exford Show, which this year has HOYS qualifiers (Horse of the Year Show) and features a Moorland Herds Exhibition Area.

Linzi Green, festival manager and Exmoor Pony Officer for the Heart of Exmoor scheme said: “As always the Exmoor Pony Festival has something for everyone’s interest. Test your camera skills on safari, spend the day at a country show, take the family for up-close pony experiences, do the Fun Ride and join the BBQ quiz. These nine days showcase the breed at its best, because you’ll see Exmoor herds out on the open moors, watch equestrian talents at the shows and hear first-hand from the breeders behind the herds.

Everyone enjoys watching these fascinating free-roaming herds on Exmoor National Park, and thousands come each year to see them. Exmoor Pony Festival helps you to rediscover this rare native breed, renowned for its intelligence and an ability to withstand the harsh conditions of Exmoor’s beautiful upland.”

Over 1300 people attended the Exmoor Pony Festival in 2013. With events happening every day, the organisers hope that this year’s Festival will attract even more visitors to the area during the summer holidays. Now in its third year, the Festival brings together a combination of events and activities at various locations around Exmoor National Park.

Whether you aim to buy a pony bred on Exmoor, wish to learn more about the breed, or simply feel fascinated by them, the variety of events in this festival has something to offer everyone.

For all the details please visit call 01398 323841 or follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter. (Please note: some events require booking in advance.)

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Butterfly bonanza!

Originally posted on National Trust - North Devon Blog:

It is butterfly season and what a brilliant lot of weather we have had to go with it. Yesterday I accompanied a guided walk with Jenny Plackett of Butterfly Conservation on some of our butterfly sites here in the Heddon Valley. Some 32 people attended the walk on a glorious summer’s day walking along Ladies mile and completing a loop though Parsonage Wood.

In the Heddon valley the National Trust and Butterfly conservation have worked over many years to preserve and enhance the conditions for High brown Fritillary a rapidly declining butterfly species which has a stronghold here at Heddon. On our walk we saw many High Browns this being a very good year for them here and Dark green fritillary which we learnt to tell the difference between.

We also saw speckled wood, ringlets, skippers and red admirals among others along our walk. The whole group thoroughly enjoyed the…

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Beautiful Butterflies, 24 June

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Beautiful Butterflies, 24 June, Heddon Valley

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Heath Fritillary Identification and Survey Workshop Success

Heath Fritillary on Grabbist Ridge above Minehead.

Heath Fritillary on Grabbist Ridge above Minehead.

The Heath Fritillary identification and survey workshop was an opportunity for people to learn about how to identify and survey one of Britain’s rarest butterflies which occurs on Exmoor. The session was held on the 3rd June and was run by Jenny Plackett from Butterfly Conservation and Paul Camp, a National Trust Ranger from the Holnicote Estate.

Fifteen volunteers attend including representatives from the Exmoor Mires Project and the Somerset Environmental Records Centre, as well as local Farmers. The workshop started with a talk at Piles Mill, on the ecology of the Heath fritillary butterfly and why the butterfly has become endangered. The talk also covered how to identify and survey the Heath Fritillary butterfly.

 The volunteers where taken to sites where the Heath Fritillary butterfly occurs, which gave the volunteers the opportunity to practise identification of the Heath Fritillary butterfly and the surveying techniques. At the first site several individuals where found. However at the second site only a few individuals where found but the volunteers were treated to a fly-by from a pair of cuckoos. The volunteers then went back to Piles Mill where they were informed as to how they can now help with the Heath Fritillary surveying.

“It was great to have lots of people attending the Heath Fritillary Survey training. Monitoring our butterflies is really important because it helps to inform our conservation management. The volunteers where really enthusiastic and we are hoping that they will now go and survey more of Exmoor’s sites”. Jenny Plackett, Butterfly Conservation.

This event was part of the Exmoor Wild Watch 2014 which is funded by Exmoor National Park and the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Heart of Exmoor Scheme.   Please visit the Exmoor Wild Watch website for further free training opportunities.

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Bogtastic Festival 2014 announced – Sunday 17 August

Bogtastic is the South West’s biggest and best bog festival celebrating the special qualities of Exmoor’s bogs, rivers and wildlife taking place Sunday 17 August 2014 in Simonsbath in the heart of Exmoor.

This year’s features include the Bogstacle course (Exmoor’s version of bog snorkelling), a Bio Blitz (a wildlife survey of 1km2 in 24hrs), bog safaris, tours of one of the South West’s last remaining operational water powered sawmills, Exmoor Ponies, guided walks of Simonsbath village in the ‘last Parish in England’, fine foods ranging from street food to Boevey’s famous cream teas, the Court Farm Market Place with its crafts and home produce and lots more.

On the evening before, Saturday 16 August, there’s a chance to join ‘Exmoor’s Wild Night Out 2014’ hosted by the Simonsbath House Hotel. Food and a selection of wildlife themed ales will provide the backcloth for storytelling, campfires, star gazing, the chance to get up close to Exmoor’s amazing bats and moths and a whole host of other nocturnal wildlife opportunities. Accommodation is available locally with a travel bursary available for local community groups.

Dr David Smith (Exmoor Mires Project) highlighted how Exmoor National Park ‘has some of the most important and special bogs in the UK. Bogtastic is a festival of fun and learning about them and Exmoor’s amazing wildlife and heritage. We are extremely grateful to all our event sponsors especially Exmoor National Park, South West Water and the Heritage Lottery Fund.’

Dan James from Exmoor National Park said: “We are delighted to be supporting Bogtastic and it’s great to be working with local businesses and community groups on this innovative event.”

To book a stall or to offer sponsorship of this event and for all further details please visit Bogtastic event web pages on Exmoor National Park website or ring the National Park Centre at Lynmouth on 01598 752509. Profits from the event will be used to support the vital work of local community groups and charities that have assisted in the organisation of Bogtastic.

Entrance is free although some activities may request a small charge.

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