There are several routes up to Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor’s highest point. A favoured walk up of mine is to approach from the Cloutsham area near Bagley Coombe. Yesterday I followed Dickie’s Path where the little wooden signpost indicates 1 ½ miles to Dunkery. The stoney track goes down to where shallow water crosses the path.
I often see Jays and Thrushes in the Rowan trees here, the red berries are the attraction. An Exmoor Pony was drinking from the little stream then proceeded to graze nearby joining two others and two foals. The path then rises to the left and levels out and offers great views all around. An OS map is useful in picking out the contours of the landscape and local landmarks.
This wide open heathland of heather and gorse is ideal for spotting the pretty Stonechat and Whinchat. Buzzards and Raven were taking advantage of the thermals in the sun. The path now levels, passing a mini forest of short hawthorn trees to the left and to the right looking up the hill with binoculars I picked out a couple of groups of red deer grazing. I have to get the correct perspective when scanning the vastness of the landscape hoping to spot the deer. Once I have found one then more come into view.
The path now heads down to a steeper wooded coombe and again with water to cross and then left again to rise steeply. Looking back, the tops of the beech trees just passed are hiding the view of my start point. From here the path is straight again and any route to the right and up the hill will lead to Dunkery Beacon though the actual monument is not quite visible until I climb higher following a sheep track or walkers trail.
I can see a much larger herd of deer in the distance so walk further along the same path to get a closer look before they see me. For some time I can sit and watch the deer, all hinds, grazing and progressing down and then realise a group of walkers are way back behind them but descending my way. Rather than disturb the deer further by climbing the hill, I make my way back slowly and spend some time taking in the view across Porlock Bay before finding the pony group again.
As usual a well earned stop at The Exmoor White Horse Inn is always welcome
Sherryl Woods………………………………8 September 2014
Summer is still with us here on Exmoor – just!
And so is our Summer Sizzler Offer!
Book now to make the most of our Summer Sizzler 2014,
Not only enjoy our discounted prices but
take advantage of Free Strawberries and Cream on arrival
plus a Free Exmoor Cream Tea.
The Summer Sizzler has never before been offered in September
but must end September 30th so book now to avoid disappointment
Some dates are already nearly full!
Tel 01643 831229
or email enquires @exmoor-whitehorse.co.uk
It’s been a while since we last sent you out any information regarding our lovely Inn.
Things have been quite hectic with one thing or another over the last few months, however we’ve been secretly developing our new Website which we hope you will like and find easy to navigate.
For years we have been giving out questionnaires asking our customer for general feedback. Much has been taken on board and adopted – so again we’re canvasing you our customers for your opinion on our new website design and general layout.
We have never being shy in trying to move the Inn forward however we always endeavour to retain the character and tradition of The White Horse as this is what makes it so special or many of you.
After Twenty-Five Years, (the longest serving owners in over five hundred years) we still get excited as we try to move The Exmoor White Horse Inn in a forward direction – So please feel free to comment and send us your feedback…it would be most welcome.
Peter & Linda
There is an advancing purple hue across much of Exmoor at this time which I very much look forward to. For a couple of months the Bell Heather’s magnetic colour advances over the drier stony ground. The ‘Bog Heather’ prefers the damp peaty ground as it’s nickname suggests. It’s flowers a lighter lilac and clustered together at the end of the stem. Of the several species of heather to be found on Exmoor these are the best known to me and I admire the contrast of colours when heather is alongside the golden gorse and rich green bracken.
Burning and grazing have been best known methods of keeping the heather in prime growth over the years. It’s amazing how this plant can withstand the harshest of winter conditions. Frost, snow and biting winds then rises from a brown carpet gradually to an olive green hue in May. By early summer the Red Deer and Exmoor Ponies find the young shoots to graze and by August the massed blooms paint the moorland, hills and coast. I like to travel from Dunkery to the Great Hangman area near Coombe Martin for some of the best views of sweeps of regal colour.
Whilst pleasing to the eye, heather is also sourced by bee-keepers locally and is a very satisfying way of buying honey with many outlets throughout the area. Some being an ‘honesty box’ by the roadside.
As usual stopped off at The Exmoor White Horse Inn for a bite to eat and drink
Sherryl Woods 3 August 2014