Volunteers, farmers, funders and supporters joined the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership to celebrate the success of the Heart of Exmoor Scheme last week. Pupils from Dunster School provided a special highlight with a reading of moorland-inspired poetry.
Over the past 5 years, this Heritage Lottery Funded programme has championed Exmoor National Park’s moorland heritage and invested £1.2 million in Exmoor’s landscape and community.
Arabella Amory, who chairs the Partnership on behalf of The Exmoor Society said:
“There are so many people we have to thank – the successful 5 years is due to the enormous generosity and commitment of the Heritage Lottery Fund and we are very grateful, without them none of this would have been possible. They have been generous and encouraging and, above all, understanding and flexible – thanks go to the HLF and to all members of the partnership who contributed match funding, both in kind and with funds. Thank you, too, to the thousands of volunteers who have helped with so many of the projects.”
“The Scheme has been run by a tiny but dynamic team – Jason Ball, David Rolls and Faye Balmond, who have punched way above their weight exceeding their targets every quarter – so a huge ‘thank you’ to them. For me it has been a pleasure to have been part of such a successful project.”
Jason Ball, the Scheme Manager said: “The celebration was our chance to show our gratitude to everyone who supported the projects. People, participation and a fantastic sense of partnership were crucial to our collective achievements.”
“Thanks to everyone involved we’ve helped thousands of people to enjoy and appreciate the moorland’s natural and cultural heritage, and support the people who take care of this precious landscape – the farmers and commoners, landowners, rangers and volunteers – to help conserve it for future generations.”
An army of people have worked as a team with the staff – not just from the Landscape Partnership but also supporters from all walks of life – the farming community, local businesses, researchers, ecologists, archaeologists, students and the retired – all sharing their enthusiasm for the moorland.
The scheme has invested £1.2 million in Exmoor’s moorland landscape and the local community, including £100,000 in landscape grants, £16,000 in Exmoor Pony Grants and £11,000 for Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The Moorland Partnership has supported 3 apprenticeships, employed 3 farmers as Moorkeepers, helped more than 560 trainees add to their moorland management skills, supported over 7,000 school visits and attracted over 14,000 visitors.
The Heart of Exmoor programmes excelled at achieving goals but the most lasting impact of this Heritage Lottery Funded scheme is undoubtedly the partnership work and participation by all involved.
The scheme is run by the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership comprising 12 organisations with Exmoor National Park Authority as lead partner and Arabella Amory from The Exmoor Society chairing the group. Programmes were supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Exmoor National Park Authority, Leader 4 Torridge and North Devon, Western Somerset Local Action and local partners and funders.