A Pony On Exmoor National Park by Sam Vernon

A Pony On Exmoor National Park by Sam Vernon

Everything You Need To Know About Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park, nestled in the picturesque countryside of South West England, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. From its rolling hills and rugged coastline to its rich history and diverse wildlife, Exmoor offers a plethora of activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Discover the top things to do in the park, including hiking trails, wildlife watching, and exploring historic sites. Learn about the famous Exmoor ponies, dark skies, and culinary delights that make this park truly unique.

Find out how you can visit Exmoor, whether by public transportation, car rental, or guided tours. And finally, uncover the answer to the age-old question: Is Exmoor National Park larger than Dartmoor National Park?

Join us as we delve into everything you need to know about Exmoor National Park.

Key Takeaways:

Experience the stunning landscape and diverse wildlife of Exmoor National Park, known for its rolling hills, rugged coastline, and iconic Exmoor ponies.

Explore the park’s rich history through historic sites, museums, and attractions like Lorna Doone and its famous dark skies, perfect for stargazing.

Conveniently located in Southwest England, Exmoor National Park can be easily accessed by public transportation, car rental, or guided tours.

What is Exmoor National Park?

Exmoor National Park, located in Somerset and Devon, is renowned for its diverse and breathtaking landscape, which includes rolling hills, valleys, and a rugged coastline, making it a haven for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

The park’s rich history dates back to the Doomsday book in 1086, highlighting its long-standing significance. Geographically, Exmoor boasts an area of 267 square miles, featuring stunning cliffs along the coast and the picturesque River Exe winding through the park. Conservation efforts are at the core of Exmoor’s ethos, with its designation as a national park in 1954 protecting its precious flora and fauna. Visitors can engage in various activities, from peaceful walks to birdwatching, immersing themselves in the natural beauty that inspired the works of poets like Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Exmoor National Park is located in South West England, covering parts of Somerset and Devon.

Exmoor National Park spans across the counties of Somerset and Devon in South West England.

Exmoor National Park, covering an area of approximately 267 square miles, is bordered by the Bristol Channel to the north and the rolling hills of Devon to the south. Its diverse landscape includes dramatic cliffs, valleys, and open moorland.

Visitors can easily access the park via public transport, with regular bus services operating to towns like Minehead and Porlock. Car hire services are widely available for those who prefer to explore at their own pace. Nearby picturesque towns such as Lynmouth offer charming accommodation and local dining options for visitors.

Guided tours are a popular way for visitors to delve deeper into the park’s rich history and natural beauty.

How big is Exmoor National Park?

Covering an area of 267 square miles, Exmoor National Park is a significant conservation area in the UK.

Exmoor National Park boasts a diverse landscape, including moorland, woodland, and coastline, making it a hub for biodiversity. With over 700 km of footpaths and bridleways, it offers ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore its beauty. The park’s conservation efforts are remarkable, with designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves protecting its unique ecosystems. Compared to Dartmoor National Park, which spans 954 square kilometres, Exmoor’s size may seem modest, but its rich variety of habitats ensure it remains a vital sanctuary for wildlife in the UK.

What is the Landscape Like in Exmoor National Park?

The landscape of Exmoor National Park is a tapestry of rolling hills, deeply cut valleys, and a dramatic coastline, featuring landmarks such as Great Hangman and Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor, as well as the serene Wimbleball Lake.

Rolling Hills and Valleys

The rolling hills and valleys of Exmoor are crisscrossed by the River Exe, creating a picturesque setting that supports a variety of wildlife.

Exmoor National Park, nestled in southwest England, boasts a diverse landscape featuring heather-clad moors, ancient woodlands, and dramatic coastal cliffs. The River Exe, meandering through the park, plays a crucial role in shaping this unique terrain. As it flows, the river carves through valleys, creating lush habitats for flora and fauna. The juxtaposition of steep valleys and rolling hillsides provides a rich tapestry of ecosystems, from high-altitude meadows to dense forests.

Rugged Coastline

Exmoor National Park’s rugged coastline is a highlight for many visitors, featuring dramatic cliffs and scenic walking routes like the South West Coast Path, with the charming village of Lynmouth serving as a popular stop.

The coastline of Exmoor National Park offers a diverse landscape, blending towering cliffs with peaceful sandy beaches that stretch along the shore. Visitors can marvel at the rugged beauty of the cliffs, which provide stunning views of the sea below, while exploring the intricate network of coastal paths that wind their way through the picturesque scenery.

One of the must-experience activities is hiking along the South West Coast Path, a renowned trail that meanders along the coast, offering breathtaking vistas and opportunities for wildlife spotting. With each step, hikers can immerse themselves in the natural splendour of the surroundings, feeling the refreshing sea breeze against their skin.

What are the Top Things to do in Exmoor National Park?

Exmoor National Park offers a plethora of activities for visitors, from hiking and wildlife watching to exploring historic sites and indulging in outdoor adventures, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Hiking and Walking Trails

Hiking and walking enthusiasts will find a variety of trails in Exmoor National Park, including the renowned South West Coast Path and the ancient Tarr Steps.

Exmoor National Park offers a diverse range of terrain to explore, catering to both beginner and experienced hikers. The South West Coast Path, stretching along the stunning coastline, provides breathtaking views of the sea cliffs and picturesque beaches. On the other hand, the Tarr Steps trail immerses hikers in ancient history as they traverse the iconic clapper bridge over the River Barle.

Wildlife Watching

Wildlife watching is a highlight of any visit to Exmoor, with opportunities to see the famous Exmoor ponies, red deer, and the rare Heath Fritillary butterflies.

Along with these iconic species, Exmoor National Park boasts a diverse array of wildlife, ranging from elusive otters along the rivers to majestic buzzards soaring in the skies. The park’s varied habitats, including ancient woodlands, heathlands, and coastal cliffs, provide homes for a rich tapestry of creatures.

For those keen on birdwatching, the heathlands in late spring are a prime location to spot the elusive Dartford warbler, while the coastal areas offer glimpses of seabirds such as puffins and gannets.

During the rutting season in autumn, the red deer can be observed in their full glory as they compete for dominance in the valleys and moorlands.

Historic Sites and Museums

Exmoor is rich in history, with several historic sites and museums, including the Lynmouth Centre, which offers insights into the area’s cultural heritage.

Visitors to Exmoor National Park are immersed in a journey back in time as they explore the rich tapestry of historical sites and museums dotting the landscape. The Lynmouth Centre, for instance, showcases the heritage of this picturesque region, offering glimpses into the local traditions and stories that have shaped Exmoor’s identity.

Another notable location is the intriguing Dunster Castle, a medieval fortress with breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside. It provides visitors with a glimpse into the lives of the families who once called it home, along with beautifully preserved gardens and architecture.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities in Exmoor are abundant, with options like kayaking on Wimbleball Lake, fishing in the River Exe, and adventure sports at Calvert Exmoor.

For those seeking a thrilling experience, mountain biking trails in the Doone Valley offer a challenging adventure amidst breathtaking landscapes. Alternatively, head to Porlock Weir for some relaxing sailing sessions on the tranquil waters of the Bristol Channel. Hikers can explore the stunning Exmoor National Park, where picturesque trails lead to hidden waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints. At the Tarr Steps, visitors can enjoy a leisurely picnic by the ancient stone bridge before embarking on a scenic walk along the River Barle.

Where Can You See Exmoor Ponies in the National Park?

Exmoor ponies can be seen grazing freely across the moorlands of Exmoor National Park, particularly in areas such as Dunkery Beacon and Winsford Hill.

If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures, heading to locations like Porlock Hill and Haddon Hill also increases your chances of encountering Exmoor ponies in their natural habitat. The best times to spot them are usually during the early morning or late afternoon when they are more active.

Conservation efforts play a crucial role in safeguarding the future of Exmoor ponies, with organisations like the Exmoor Pony Society working tirelessly to protect and promote these unique animals. These conservation initiatives aim to preserve the breed’s genetic diversity and ensure a sustainable future for these iconic ponies.

What is Exmoor National Park Famous For?

Exmoor National Park is famous for its unique Exmoor ponies, stunning dark skies perfect for stargazing, and a rich culinary tradition that draws food enthusiasts from around the region.

Exmoor Ponies

Exmoor ponies are one of the oldest and most recognisable breeds of wild ponies in the UK, roaming freely within the park’s moorlands and heathlands.

These hardy creatures have a rich history dating back for centuries, with their origins deeply intertwined with the rugged landscape they call home. Native to the Exmoor region in South West England, Exmoor ponies have adapted to thrive in the challenging conditions of the area.

Their distinctive appearance, with a sturdy build, dense coat, and a lovely ‘mealy’ muzzle, sets them apart from other pony breeds. While their exact ancestry is a subject of debate among experts, one thing is certain – their resilience and unique qualities make them a cherished symbol of the region.

Lorna Doone

The novel ‘Lorna Doone’ by R.D. Blackmore, set in Exmoor National Park, has immortalised the area’s rugged beauty and historical intrigue.

Blackmore’s masterpiece unfolds against the stunning backdrop of Exmoor National Park, a sprawling landscape characterised by sweeping moorlands, steep valleys, and charming villages. The story is intricately woven with the natural elements of the park, showcasing its dense forests, serene rivers, and picturesque hills. Many key events in the novel, such as the infamous Doone Valley where the notorious Doone clan resides, are directly inspired by Exmoor’s geographical features.

Dark Skies

Exmoor National Park is recognised as an International Dark Sky Reserve, offering some of the best stargazing opportunities in the UK.

This prestigious designation ensures minimal light pollution, making it a haven for astronomers, astrophotographers, and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or a novice, Exmoor’s expansive and unspoilt dark skies provide a mesmerising celestial spectacle.

To make the most of your experience, the best times for stargazing in the park are during new moon phases when the skies are at their darkest and stars shine brightly. Popular stargazing locations within the park include Holdstone Hill, County Gate, and Webber’s Post, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the night sky.

Culinary Delights

Exmoor’s culinary scene is a delight for food lovers, featuring local produce, traditional recipes, and farm-to-table dining experiences that showcase the region’s agricultural heritage.

One of the standout dishes in Exmoor is the savoury Exmoor Venison, sourced directly from the local deer population that roam the moors. The famous Exmoor Cream Teas, served with freshly baked scones, clotted cream, and homemade jam, are a must-try for visitors looking to indulge in a sweet treat. Visitors can explore quaint village pubs like The Stags Head Inn, known for its hearty Sunday roasts and locally brewed ales, to savour authentic flavours of the region.

Is Exmoor National Park larger than Dartmoor National Park?

Dartmoor National Park, covering an area of 368 square miles, is larger than Exmoor National Park, which spans 267 square miles.

Regarding geography, Dartmoor boasts a rugged landscape dominated by granite tors, open moorlands, and ancient wooded valleys. In contrast, Exmoor showcases dramatic cliffs, lush valleys, and picturesque coastal scenery. Both parks offer a diverse range of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and horse riding. Dartmoor is known for its historic sites like ancient stone circles and prehistoric remains, while Exmoor is famed for its diverse wildlife including red deer and Exmoor ponies. Dartmoor has a higher elevation with its highest point being High Willhays at 2,038 feet, while Exmoor’s Dunkery Beacon stands at 1,705 feet.

How Can You Visit Exmoor National Park?

Visiting Exmoor National Park is convenient and accessible, whether you choose to travel by public transport, hire a car, or join one of the many guided tours that offer in-depth explorations of the park.

Public Transport

Public transport options, including buses and trains, provide easy access to Exmoor National Park from nearby towns and cities.

  1. For those coming from the bustling city of London, taking a train from Paddington Station to Taunton can be a convenient and scenic journey.
  2. From Taunton, buses often run to various points within the park, allowing visitors to explore its natural beauty at their own pace.

When planning a trip to Exmoor National Park using public transport, it’s advisable to check for any schedule changes or disruptions ahead of time to avoid any inconvenience. Considering purchasing a combination ticket that includes both train and bus fares can save time and money during your visit.

Car Hire

Hiring a car offers visitors the flexibility to explore Exmoor National Park at their own pace and visit less accessible areas.

With a hire car, you can easily venture off the beaten track and discover hidden gems that are not reachable by public transport. This allows you to create your own itinerary and make spontaneous stops along the way to truly immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of the park. Hiring a car eliminates the constraints of fixed schedules, giving you the freedom to start and end your exploration whenever you please. There are several reputable car hire services in the Exmoor region, offering a wide range of vehicle options to suit your needs and preferences.

Guided Tours

Guided tours offer an in-depth exploration of Exmoor National Park, with knowledgeable guides providing insights into its history, wildlife, and landscape.

Experiencing Exmoor National Park through a guided tour can enhance your understanding of this diverse environment. You can choose from various types of tours to suit your interests such as scenic walking tours, thrilling wildlife adventures, or enriching historical experiences.

  • Walking tours let you immerse yourself in the natural beauty, while
  • Wildlife tours offer encounters with the park’s fascinating animals.
  • Historical tours help you delve into the rich heritage and stories of the area, making your visit both educational and memorable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Exmoor National Park?

Exmoor National Park is a protected area located in the southwest of England. It covers an area of 267 square miles and is known for its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife.

Where is Exmoor National Park located?

Exmoor National Park is located in the counties of Devon and Somerset in the southwest of England. It is easily accessible by car and public transportation.

How big is Exmoor National Park?

Exmoor National Park covers an area of 267 square miles, making it the smallest national park in England. Despite its size, it is home to a wide variety of landscapes and wildlife.

What are some things to do in Exmoor National Park?

Exmoor National Park offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, horseback riding, cycling, and wildlife watching. There are also many historic sites and charming villages to explore in the area.

Where can I see Exmoor ponies in the national park?

The Exmoor ponies, a breed native to the area, can be seen roaming freely in certain areas of the national park. Some popular spots to see them include Winsford Hill, Tarr Steps, and Molland Common.

What is Exmoor National Park famous for?

Exmoor National Park is known for its rugged moorland, beautiful coastline, and diverse wildlife. It is also famous for being the inspiration for the setting of the classic novel “Lorna Doone” by R.D. Blackmore.