Fingle Woods goes to Exmoor

I went up to Exmoor yesterday to give a talk to the NT Ranger community in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Wiltshire at their annual conference on our Fingle Woods partnership with the Woodland Trust. There was a great turnout – over 100 people. They seemed to like the Fingle Woods story along with the opportunities and lessons it offers to others.

In essence we need to think big for nature, we need to dream, we need new ways of doing things and we need to work in partnership. If we can do that we can make even more of a difference and build on the amazing work that is already going on.

Dunkery 5
Here is Phil Collins – the General Manager on Exmoor talking about the amazing Holnicote Estate

Dunkery 4And here is Alex Raeder who leads on the natural environment for the NT in the South West

Dunkery 1
On the way home I went up to Dunkery Beacon – a fantastic view down to Minehead and across to Wales

Dunkery 2
The National Trust owns over 5000ha on Exmoor centred around the Holnicote Estate

Dunkery 3
Good to see the heather and gorse still in flower

Thanks for inviting me and I hope some of it was useful!





High Moor – Exmoor

Spent Saturday up on the high moor on Exmoor looking at some of the National Trust’s land there. We own a lot of Exmoor – over 11,000 acres – here are a few pictures.

High 1Dunkery Beacon – the highest point

High 2
There is a panoramic sign there – good to see Dartmoor mentioned – one a clear day you can see Yes Tor and Cawsand Beacon (now called Cosdon Hill)

High 3
Rushes, heather and grasses

High 4
A single hawthorn with the sun breaking through the mist on Winsford Hill

High 5
An Exmoor pony in the mist

High 6
Dew on the grass

Remembering a friend

Yesterday I was up on Exmoor at our Holnicote Estate to remember a colleague and friend who died unexpectedly a few months ago. Andy Mayled was the General Manager for the National Trust in Somerset. Around 90 colleagues, friends and members of his family gathered to celebrate his life and remember his achievements. Our Regional Director Mark Harold gave a short speech highlighting many of Andy’s successes from his 30 year career with the National Trust. The overall conclusion was that he was a thoroughly good chap, with a great sense of humour who had made a real difference in conserving nature and outdoor places.

Andy and I regularly ‘chewed the cud’ over various things – how to raise the profile of the outdoors and nature and we compared notes on managing land in our respective National Parks. I remember well spending a day (albeit a very rainy one) in the Plym Valley on Dartmoor a few years ago a couple of days before my wife died unexpectedly – Andy was a good friend to me after that and the cruel irony was that I had planned to spend a day with Andy on Exmoor a couple of days after he died.

After the gathering yesterday I went to a few of the iconic places that Andy looked after to reflect and remember. Here are a few photos from the day.

Down to PorlockDown to Porlock

Up to Dunkery BeaconAcross to Horner Woods and Dunkery Beacon – the National Trust owns practically all of that landscape (and much more on Exmoor)

Horner WoodsDown into Horner Woods

From Dunkery to MineheadThe amazing view from Dunkery Beacon across to Minehead

Trig point to Dartmoor

The trig point at the Beacon pointing back to Dartmoor (Cawsand Beacon is now called Cosdon Hill – a place our 10 Tors teams went last weekend)

The BeaconSome young people I met enjoying the view at Dunkery Beacon

HighlandA highland cow chilling out

Like so many others I will miss Andy