25 July 2015 Archaeology activities at the Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon

When: 25 July 2015
Where: Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon

FREE EVENT – a morning of archaeology activities at the Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon as they celebrate 25 years of the Festival of Archaeology.

North Devon Archaeological Society will show you what’s involved in carrying out excavations!  Learn how to handle artefacts from excavations, find out all about geophys, chat to amateur and professional archaeologists and how to get involved in research survey and digging.

Linda Blanchard from NDAS said: “We will have finds from some of our digs, geophysics kit, and the Exmoor handling kits full of interesting objects! There are strong links to the  Tarka trail, Estuary, AONB and Biosphere, and Exmoor with handling collections, fishtraps on the estuary, wrecks and hulks and Sadie will be bringing along some of her coastal finds and talking about the international trade in North Devon Pottery in the 17th century. It is part of Fishtival.”


Delve into the Exmoor handling boxes – packed full of Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age replica items you can handle. These were devised by Faye Balmond, the Moorland Heritage Officer for Heart of Exmoor with the help of money from the heritage Lottery Fund.

The Festival of Archaeology – coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) – encourages everyone to explore the archaeology of their local area, watch experts at work, and experience archaeology for themselves.

This FREE event runs from 10.30am – 1pm and is suitable for all ages, so do come along!


NDAS on Facebook



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Exmoor goes Bogtastic!

Bogtastic Welly Wanging !

Bogtastic Welly Wanging !

Bogtastic is the South West’s biggest and best bog festival celebrating the special qualities of Exmoor’s bogs, heritage and wildlife. Bogtastic 2015 is on Wednesday 29th July, 10.00 – 16.00 in Simonsbath, in the heart of Exmoor.

This year’s event features many activities including the Bogstacle course, stream dipping, Bog safaris, live bats, crayfish, face painting, welly wanging, treasure hunts, raffles, the opportunity to visit one of the South West’s last remaining operational water powered sawmills and lots more  all-weather and undercover activities. There is something for everyone! It is free entry, with toilets and food on site.

‘Exmoor National Park has some of the most important and unique bogs in the UK. Bogtastic is a festival of fun and learning about them and Exmoor’s amazing wildlife and heritage’ Maddy Davey (Exmoor Mires Project).

‘There is something for everyone and entry is free to this awesome event. We are extremely grateful to all our event sponsors, especially, Exmoor National Park, South West Water and the Heritage Lottery Fund for making it all happen’ David Rolls (Heart of Exmoor, Education and Outreach Officer).

Entrance is free, although some activities may request a small charge.
For further information on Bogtastic please contact 01598 752509 or visit http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/ or the facebook page http://www.tinyurl.com/Bogtastic15.  #Bogtastic15.

Bring your willies for the Bog Bouncing !

Bring your wellies for the Bog Bouncing !

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Bogtastic on video!

Here’s an idea of what you can expect #Bogtastic15 to be like!

Event updates on Facebook www.tinyurl.com/Bogtastic15

News article…

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The 2015 Exmoor Pony Festival, Sat 8 – Sun 16 August


The 2015 Exmoor Pony Festival,  Sat 8 – Sun 16 August. Enjoy a range of activities including safaris, country shows, rides and more. Learn about buying a pony and discover the free-living Exmoor Pony herds on the moors of Exmoor National Park.

What’s happening this year ….

PROGRAMME OF EVENTS exmoorponyfestival.com 

Unless otherwise stated all events are free of charge and do not require advanced booking.

Meet the Herds
Saturday 8th August 11am—3pm
Cutcombe Market & Moorland Hall, Wheddon Cross TA24 7DT
Meet representatives from many of the free-living moorland herds of Exmoor, both ponies and people look forward to welcoming you

Meet the Anchor Herd
Sunday 9th August 10am start
Meet at the Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
Take a guided walk with the Wallace family, to see mares, foals and stallions followed by refreshments and a walk across Varle Hill to see the free-living Anchor herd.

Conservation Grazing Day
Monday 10th August 11am start
Moorland Hall, Wheddon Cross TA24 7DU
Learn about the role of the Exmoor pony as a conservation grazer and visit an environmental grazing site – especially useful for those thinking of using Exmoor ponies in this role. Please book in advance due to limited transportation places – contact Sue McGeever on 01884 839930 (£20 deposit required  – refundable on the day).

Dr Sue Baker’s Talk ‘The Exmoor Pony From Doomsday to DNA’
Monday 10th August 7pm
The Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
A ‘must do’ activity for those interested in the history of the breed, talk by Dr Sue Baker author of ‘Survival of the Fittest’

Exmoor Wildlife Safari escorted by Tricia Gibson in association with Barle Valley Safaris
Monday 10th August – Afternoon
A 4×4 safari taking in the beautiful scenery and hopefully ponies and red deer.
Booking essential – please contact Sue McGeever on 01884 839930

Guided walk on Dunkery with Tricia Gibson
Tuesday 11th August 10am
Dunkery Beacon
Bring along your camera , sturdy boots and food/drink for a 10-15 mile walk.

The Exmoor Pony Society Annual Breed Show
Wednesday 12 August starts 9am
Exford Show Ground
An opportunity to see Exmoor ponies in the show ring from mares with foals to stallions, youngstock and ridden ponies.

Activity Day at the Exmoor Pony Centre
Thursday 13th August 10am-3pm
Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
Pony rides, grooming, refreshments, crafts, fun and games

Katy’s Pony Challenge – Book Launch
Thursday 13th August 7pm
Lynmouth Pavilion, EX35 6EQ
Victoria Eveleigh – Exmoor pony owner/breeder and writer will be launching her new book.

Exmoor Wildlife Safari escorted by Gill Langdon in association with Barle Valley Safaris
Friday 14th August—Afternoon
A 4×4 safari taking in the beautiful scenery and hopefully ponies and red deer.
Booking essential – please contact Sue McGeever on 01884 839930

Pony Walk on North Hill with ENPA Pony Ranger and a pony
Friday 14th August 11am
Car park on North Hill
Join us for a gentle walk on North Hill, to see the pony herd and learn about the National Park’s management of the ponies escorted by a tame pony from The Moorland Mousie Trust.

Social Evening—Quiz/BBQ and Exmoor Pony Czech Documentary Film Screening
Friday 14th August 7pm
The Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
Come along and have a fun evening with Exmoor pony owners/breeders/enthusiasts , everyone welcome.

Brompton Regis Show
Saturday 15th August starts 9am
Cricket Field, Brompton Regis Grid Ref: 943310
A fun filled country show with Exmoor pony classes and lots more.

Exmoor Pony Extravaganza Exhibition
Sunday 16th August 10am—4pm
The Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
A summary exhibition of the Festival events, to celebrate the Exmoor pony breed.


Stud visits – a good number of moorland herds owners have indicated that they are happy to escort people to see their ponies both in-ground and on the moor during the festival week.  Please contact Sue McGeever on 01884 839930 for more details or visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/916956578361802/

Wildlife Safaris – will be running throughout the week in association with Barle Valley Safaris.  Please contact Sue McGeever on 01884 839930 for more details or visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/119549738382699/


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Click to see full size

The MEPBG and Exmoor Pony Club are delighted to bring you the full Calendar of Events for the Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival and hope you will join us in August on Exmoor to celebrate all of the Exmoor ponies of Exmoor National Park – pedigree, purebred and crossbred, whether free-living or in ground!


The Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival celebrates all of the Exmoor ponies of Exmoor National park – pedigree, purebred and cross-bred and offers some exciting opportunities to see and learn about this wonderful, ancient native pony breed. Organised by the Moorland Exmoor Pony Breeders Group (MEPBG), Exmoor Pony Club and Moorland Exmoor Foal Project.

Visit www.ExmoorPonyClub.co.uk email moorlandexmoorgroup@hotmail.co.uk.


Sunday 9 AUG: MEPBG Exmoor Pony Show & Stallion Parade (Brendon Show) at Brendon Barton, Brendon, Lynton, Exmoor EX35 6LQ. 10.30am start.

Classes and championships for both pedigree registered Exmoor ponies and also Section-X, Heritage, unregistered purebred & crossbred Exmoors – with champions from both sections competing for the Supreme of Show. Unhandled Moorbred Mare & Foal class, Ridden classes (inc jumping) and championship. Show includes the MEPBG/AH Saddles Exmoor Type Championship Final and the MEPBG Stallion Parade.

A wonderful, friendly day out at one of Exmoor’s longest-standing traditional horse & country shows.  Entries & enquiries to  Show Secretary – Mrs Maria Floyd. Tel 01598 741201 email mariafloyd@gmail.com.

Advance entries closing date – 1 August 2014  (advance entries only for Stallion Parade and Unhandled Mare & Foal class) plus entries on the day. Rosettes kindly sponsored by A & B Contractors, Rosettes Direct and AH Saddles. In Hand Judge: Mr William Dart (Herd 99). Ridden Judge: TBC. MEPBG/AH Saddles Exmoor Type Championship Final Judge: Mr Rex Milton (Herd 23). Stallion Parade (no judging): Mr William Dart and Mr Rex Milton.  Online schedule and entry form: www.ExmoorPonyClub.co.uk.

Mon 10 AUG: Exmoor Pony Safari with Experience Exmoor

A wonderful opportunity to see Moorland Exmoor ponies in their natural habitat amid the breathtakingly beautiful scenery of Exmoor National Park on this special Exmoor Pony Safari. You will get up close to the ponies in their stunning environment and also witness the other wildlife on Exmoor, including Red Deer and birds of prey. Join the Experience Exmoor team for a fascinating morning or afternoon. Starting from Lynmouth, Lyndale Car Park at 9.30am and 2pm. Cost: £35 with a contribution from each safari to the Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival. Contact: Neil Osmond – email info@experienceexmoor.co.uk and 01271 889316 or 07854 666 800 for full details and to book.

Tues 11 AUG: The Tippbarlake ‘Wild Westcountry’ Pony Herd Gathering

Join the Floyd family and experience the magnificent Tippbarlake Herd ponies being gathered to their home farm at Brendon Barton from the wilderness terrain of Brendon Common and Badgworthy. A unique chance to see the world’s largest free-living herd of Exmoor ponies.  There are a number of spectating opportunities and also the possibility of riding your horse during the gathering, where riders will be guided and escorted to see the ponies. Places need to be booked in advance please. Accommodation, including camping and livery for your horse, available locally. Please contact Mrs Maria Floyd on 01598 741201 and email mariafloyd@gmail.com for more details.

Wed 12 AUG: ‘Photographing Exmoor Ponies In The Wild’ Workshop

Wildlife photographer Jamie Waters says: “Do you love Exmoor Ponies and enjoy photography? If so, then this workshop is for you. I will teach you some handy hints and tips on how to best photograph wild Exmoor ponies in their natural environment and give you more confidence with your camera. The workshop (approx. 3 hours) will give us plenty of time to get some great shots.”  Cost: £25 per person – to book please email shelduck54@yahoo.com or call 01643 841747. This workshop will take place on the beautiful Dunkery Commons area of Exmoor National Park. Please book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited. A contribution from the workshop is being made to the Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival fund.

Wed 12 AUG: ‘Exmoor Ponies & Their Future’ – Talk by Dawn Westcott

An informative talk (with visuals) about the Exmoor Ponies of Exmoor National Park looking at why Exmoor ponies are so special, their endangered status, and what’s being done to safeguard their future and offer them good opportunities – pedigrees, purebreds and crossbreds. Including the Exmoor farmers’ quest to preserve important genetics and the ‘True Moorland Type’ and how scientific advancements can help the breed. Fascinating for enthusiasts and laymen alike. Dawn Westcott is the author of the forthcoming book ‘Wild Pony Whispering’ (out in September). There will be Exmoor ponies to view!

The evening starts at 7pm for 7.30pm and includes light refreshments. Tickets £10 in advance please – under 18’s free (in aid of the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project). Venue: The threshing barn at Holt Ball Farm, Luccombe, Exmoor TA24 8SZ. Parking and toilet on site. This is a working farm so not specifically set up for disabled access, but please contact us to discuss. Contact ExmoorPonyClub@hotmail.co.uk and telephone Holt Ball on 01643 862466.

Thurs 13 AUG: ‘Tour of the Tippbarlake Herd & Cream Tea’

A unique opportunity to join the Floyd family at Brendon Barton and enjoy a guided Tour of the Tippbarlake Herd – the largest family-owned herd of free-living Exmoor ponies in the world – while the mares and foals, and possibly a stallion or two, are in ground at the farm. You’ll then enjoy a delicious cream tea at this famous Exmoor working farm – where questions and discussion about the ponies are welcome. Tickets £5 to include a cream tea – under 18 yrs free. Please book in advance (in aid of the Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival). Parking and toilet available on site. Please contact Mrs Maria Floyd on 01598 741201 and email mariafloyd@gmail.com. Venue: Brendon Barton, Brendon, Lynton, Exmoor EX35 6LP.

Fri 14 AUG: ‘Wild Pony Whispering’ Exmoor Pony Workshop

Moorland Exmoor Foal Project founder Dawn Westcott explores the positive, trust-based horsemanship techniques used to build a successful bond with semi-feral Exmoor ponies. Meet plenty of Exmoor ponies and questions and discussion are welcome. Author of the forthcoming ‘Wild Pony Whispering’ book (September), Dawn has won two world championships in International Horse Agility with moorbred Exmoor stallion ‘Bear’.  You don’t need to be an Exmoor pony owner – just have an enthusiasm for the breed. This is a tutorial/demo workshop so participants won’t be expected to handle the ponies. There will be opportunities to interact with the ponies subject to participants having suitable personal and public liability insurance. 2pm until around 5.30pm with teas/coffee and cake included. Parking and toilet available.  This is a working farm without special disabled access but please contact us to discuss. Cost: £45*per person including refreshments (in aid of the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project). *Participants will be presented with a special Exmoor Pony Club mug (worth £8) to celebrate the Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival! Advance booking please. Email exmoorponyclub@hotmail.co.uk or tel 01643 862466. Venue: Holt Ball Farm, Luccombe, National Trust Holnicote Estate, Exmoor TA24 8SZ.

Sat 15 Aug – Meet The Moorland Farmers & Ponies Afternoon

You are warmly invited to join the Exmoor Moorland farmers for an afternoon to meet Exmoor ponies and talk with the moorland experts. Mr Rex Milton (owner of the historic Herd 23) will be giving tips on how to spot a good Exmoor pony and there will be lots going on with displays and information about the herds, the Moorland Exmoor Pony Breeders Group, Exmoor Pony Club and the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project. Meet familiar pony faces including Monsieur Chapeau, Farleywater Lady Stumpkin Pumpkin and Lady Molly of Molland Moor – and agility world champion stallion ‘Bear’ plus a wonderful selection of people and ponies representing Herds including 11, 12, 23, 99, H67, 387, 423 & Anchor. Tea & coffee and cakes/refreshments available.

Experience a truly authentic Exmoor farmer’s pony event on this working farm on the beautiful National Trust Holnicote Estate. Whether you’re thinking of buying an Exmoor or simply interested in the breed, this is an afternoon not to be missed!  Parking and toilet available. This working farm is not specifically set up for disabled access, however, please contact us to discuss. Please let us know in advance that you’re coming along so we can cater for numbers. 2pm until 5.30pm. Free entry. Contact email moorlandexmoorgroup@hotmail.co.uk and telephone Holt Ball on 01643 862466. Venue: Holt Ball Farm, Luccombe, National Trust Holnicote Estate, Exmoor TA24 8SZ.

Sun 16 AUG: The Exmoor XC Chase – Exmoor ponies welcome!

Organised by Graham Mugleston & Liz Bradborn, the Exmoor XC Chase is a fun ride over glorious Exmoor countryside. The jumps are optional – with a fast pace up front and slower behind. Everyone is welcome – especially Exmoor ponies during the Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival week! The Exmoor XC Chase starts from the show field at Brendon Barton, Brendon, near Lynton and spans some 15 miles, with an optional shorter route if desired. Cost £20 per pony and rider combination.

For more details please telephone 01598741201 and see www.facebook.com/TheExmoorXCChase.

Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival visit www.ExmoorPonyClub.co.uk

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Celebrating our internationally important bogs


July 2015 sees the unique role of bogs celebrated globally and Exmoor National Park is marking the occasion with a special boggy event.

Dam-building on a bog at Exmoor National Park

The UK has 20% of the world’s blanket bog with Exmoor fortunate to have some of this rare and fascinating habitat.  This landscape is often considered to be the UK’s equivalent of Brazil’s exotic rainforest; it is a huge store of carbon dioxide and home to numerous endangered species and even a carnivorous plant, the sundew.

International celebrations occur as far afield as Estonia, Ireland and America. Exmoor will be at the heart of this year’s celebrations with its unique Bogtastic event on Wednesday 29 July, 10am – 4pm, based in and around Simonsbath.

This  ‘drop in’ event is FREE and features all sorts of activities – the Bogstacle course, stream dipping, bog safaris, the opportunity to visit one of the South West’s last remaining operational water powered sawmills and lots more all-weather fun indoors and outdoors. (Yes there are toilets, food and parking.)

“Exmoor’s bogs give us so much to celebrate – from wonderful habitat and carbon storage to the water that ultimately ends up in our taps. Bogtastic is a great opportunity stop and think about the significance of bogs for all of us!” –  said Morag Angus, project manager, Exmoor Mires Project.

Patrick Watts-Mabbott, Exmoor National Park volunteer and outreach officer commented: “Bogtastic will have something for everyone, from bats to boggy walks. Entry is free and there is a travel bursary available for community groups.’

For further information on Bogtastic please contact 01598 752509 or visit http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/ or the Facebook page www.tinyurl.com/Bogtastic15 AND LOOK OUR FOR#Bogtastic15 on Twitter.

Bogtastic is financially supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, South West Water and the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund through the Heart of Exmoor Scheme.


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Rare butterfly returns to Exmoor’s moorland

Heath Fritillary (click to enlarge)  photo by Jason Ball

Heath Fritillary (click to enlarge) photo by Jason Ball (copyright 2015)

Butterfly Conservation has announced a boost for the population of one of the UK’s rarest butterflies following the successful introduction of the Heath Fritillary to a new site within Exmoor National Park. Butterfly Conservation and the National Trust have worked closely with the Park Authority to introduce the Heath Fritillary into newly created coppiced clearings at Hawkcombe near Porlock, Somerset.

Following extensive work by the Park Authority to create suitable coppice clearings within their woodland at Hawkcombe Wood, the right habitats have now been created and it is hoped the diminutive fritillary will thrive on the site following the introduction. The butterfly is already found in a nearby heathland combe on the National Trust’s Holincote Estate at Halse Combe, around 3km from the introduction site.

The Heath Fritillary is one of the UK’s rarest and most threatened butterflies and is restricted to just four locations in the UK – Exmoor on the Devon and Somerset border, the Tamar Valley on the Devon and Cornwall border, the Blean Woods in Kent and the South Essex Woodlands.

Historically, the butterfly has been referred to as the ‘Woodman’s Follower’ as it is linked to the traditional coppice management of woodlands, following the cycle of cutting around a wood.

Jenny Plackett, Butterfly Conservation’s Two Moors Threatened Butterflies Project Officer, said: “I am really delighted that the butterflies have bred at the new site and made it through their first year. More colonies in Exmoor will undoubtedly make the population here stronger and we are hopeful that the butterfly will spread into new sites from Hawkcombe.”

Some 37 Heath Fritillary adult butterflies were introduced into the coppice clearings in Hawkcombe last June and have bred successfully. Searches for Heath Fritillary caterpillars at Hawkcombe in April revealed at least eight had survived through the winter. Volunteers have recently recorded more than 20 adults flying in the area.

On Exmoor, the Heath Fritillary uses sunny, warm and sheltered heathland combes, where it breeds on Common Cow-wheat found growing in association with young Bilberry plants. Both of these plants are found in abundance in the newly cleared areas at Hawkcombe.

Although the butterfly is stable on Exmoor, there are just 10 colonies remaining so there is urgent need to maintain existing habitat and where possible create additional suitable habitat patches for colonisation.

Exmoor National Park have been carrying out management in Hawkcombe Wood in recent years to try to create suitable habitat for the butterfly by coppicing oak woodland where the ground flora is suitable, and widening the rides to improve connectivity between the clearings. Further work is planned over the coming years to ensure a continued supply of suitable habitat.

It is hoped that the butterfly will eventually find its way into nearby historically occupied habitat at Shillet Combe and Bagley Combe.

Butterfly Conservation is the UK charity dedicated to halting the rapid decline of butterflies and moths and protecting our environment. We run conservation programmes for more than 100 threatened species and manage over 30 nature reserves. www.butterfly-conservation.org

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