Yesterday I tried out one of those new e-bikes that you can hire to explore Exmoor National Park. It was during the launch party for Experience Exmoor – a new business by Neil and Christel Osmond, who offer electric bike hire, 4×4 safaris and bespoke events such as nature watches, photography tours, and so on.
The Heddon Valley was the perfect place to see what these bikes can do… setting off from the Hunters Inn at the base of the valley, and heading up the steep hills. Dan Barnett from Exmoor National Park Authority went all the way to Holdstone Down and back! He made it sound easy to get up to the moors, so I had to have a go.
Ha! What a boost you get up the slope! It was so much easier to climb the hills with the e-bike than my own mountain bike. In no time at all I was really high up, with views of moorland and the Heddon Valley. The e-bike doesn’t do all the work, it’s semi-powered, and the motor only kicks in as you pedal. You can use a little control on the handlebars to set how much it helps you (about 5 different levels). And you can switch it off, of course… but no, the power boost is too much fun!
Experience Exmoor work closely with a local project called Exmoor Unplugged who provide e-bikes for hire in various Exmoor locations. It would be interesting to see how companies like EE could weave their work into our Heart of Exmoor outreach programme which is all about the communities surrounding Exmoor getting an appreciation of the national park’s moorland landscapes. Experience Exmoor have some fantastic exclusive routes across the National Trust’s land, such as a coach track that takes you to Woody Bay, with unique, spectacular views of the coastal heath. The Exmoor coast is breathtaking, and you can see over the Bristol Channel to Wales (sea mists permitting).
Jason Ball, Scheme Manager.