The Heart of Exmoor Scheme helped thousands of people to enjoy and appreciate Exmoor National Park’s moorland and supported those who take care of this precious landscape.
The most striking aspect of this Heritage Lottery Funded scheme was undoubtedly its immense capacity to foster active partnership work and participation. A small army of people worked in partnership with the staff team, drawing expertise and energy from not just within the Partner bodies but a wide range of organisations and a remarkable number of volunteers from all walks of life – the farming community, local businesses, researchers, ecologists, archaeologists, artists, storytellers, students and the retired – all sharing their enthusiasm for the moorland.
Thanks to everybody involved, we were able to inspire visitors, create exciting educational resources, research the moorland’s natural and cultural heritage and help to conserve it for future generations.
A two-page summary
We ran 3 themed programmes:
- Programme 1: Reconnecting People with Moorland Heritage
- Programme 2: Reconnecting Livelihoods to the Moorland
- Programme 3: Reconditioning Moorland Character
We delivered 19 projects, plus an Evaluation project to assess the scheme.
The Scheme made a massive impact with community engagement – not just in Exmoor National Park but also through outreach far beyond its boundaries and to river valley communities downstream.
The Heart of Exmoor Scheme engaged over 14,000 visitors at events and over 7,000 on school visits. The scheme contributed significantly to events such as the Exmoor Archaeology Forum and the Exmoor National Park’s family-friendly Big Adventure Days. We also established major new events such as the Exmoor Pony Festival, the Exmoor Wildlife Forum and Bogtastic.
We created the online Moorland Classroom with educational resources for 10 moorland sites, and the River Lyn. We produced a World War II teaching pack and 4 Archaeology Loan Boxes, all backed by outreach work, hundreds of school visits, and inspirational teacher training.
The Partnership helped more than 560 trainees develop moorland management skills, employed 3 farmers as Moorkeepers, funded 3 moorland apprenticeships, and supported moorland managers to organise 26 practical demonstrations and 31 workshops about issues important to them – sharing experience and knowledge of livestock, scrub, bracken, burning, etc.
The Heart of Exmoor Scheme provided new equipment worth £30,000 for loan to moorland managers, and invested over £30,000 in equipment to benefit the free-roaming Exmoor Pony herds (including £16,000 in Exmoor Pony Grants).
We researched, safeguarded and promoted key elements of Exmoor’s moorland heritage with campaigns for e.g. Exmoor Ponies, the subtle prehistoric archaeology and the former Royal Forest.
We added new data and resources to Exmoor National Park’s Historic Environment Record (HER) including finds, geophysics data, drawings, photographs and more than 20 archaeology reports. We launched Exmoor’s first ever moorland archaeology exhibition, and the first full assessment of its Principal Archaeological Landscapes.
Our Community Archaeology project brought volunteers, academics and professionals together on groundbreaking investigative and interpretive moorland archaeology work.
Pilot projects such as Moorkeepers and Demonstration Moors led onto innovations such as Graze the Moor demonstrative study on Molland Moor.
We provided 52 wildlife skills workshops, and supported major wildlife surveys and campaigns e.g. RSPB Moorland Bird Survey, Exmoor Wild Watch, the Exmoor Crayfish Project.
We published the new Moorland Birds of Exmoor guide, A Field Guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor, accessible route Photo Trails, 4 Archaeology Walks, 9 digital artist’s impressions of landscape scenes from Exmoor’s past, and Sounds of the Exe – 8 clips of an audiovisual journey along the Exe Valley from source to sea.
We delivered 5 major landscape character projects and supported 10 smaller projects.
More than 5,400 volunteer days contributed to the scheme’s success, valued at over £425,000.