My last visit to Exmoor was just before Xmas and I had an hour or so to spare for a stroll after lunch at the Exmoor White Horse Inn. Walking around the Exford area is always a pleasure so I went across the bridge turning right onto the B3224, the road to Simonsbath. Just round the corner after the stables on the right and well before the kennels is a marked public footpath with wooden steps rising from grass verge. This follows on as a narrow fenced-off track with a couple of gates at the division of the two pastures where it can be muddy where the horses pass through. Continue along where over time I have seen a surprising amount of wildlife by looking and listening and with a little patience. Today many small birds were out in the winter sun, moving amongst the beech and hazel braches. Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinches, Robins and Blackbirds. Several pheasants in the field below to the right and a Sparrowhawk flew off a fence post near to me. I caught the scent of a fox which might have passed through earlier. Signs of a well-worn animal track visible in several places crossing the walkway obviously a fox’s ‘run’. On the right among the gnarled roots and high bank there are rabbit holes and there are often rabbits in the fields. I have seen grey squirrels here, the beech nuts underfoot are an attraction. What I find a fascination is to look back behind me where the beech and hawthorn lean over the track to appear as a tunnel.
I came to a little wooden footbridge with two steps up and down with a view way down below to the River Exe. Fast flowing today so no chance of seeing a Dipper feeding on this occasion. It’s a steep decent then down to the water with a long wooden footbridge and sign to Edgcot. This will bring you back to Exford following the public footpath. On this occasion I wished to spend some time in the tunnel area bird-watching where I was lucky with a pretty little Wren and then Redwing and Fieldfare.
Happy New Year to all.
Sherryl Woods ………………………..2 January 2015
Peter, Linda and all the staff at The Exmoor White Horse Inn make New Year such a memorable occasion for all its guests, many have decided to rebook before it’s too late! Don’t be one of those people who leaves it too late and is disappointed, just pick-up the phone and give us a call on 01643 831 229
New Year Breaks 2015
2 Nights £300
3 Nights £450
My most recent visit to Exmoor I turned right after Wheddon Cross, signposted Dunkery Beacon, following through Dunkery Gate on to Webbers Post. Being a clear, crisp morning there were good views across the deep valley to Cloutsham and Horner Wood. In the distance individual trees stand out from their neighbours at this time of year, in various shades from green through to rust and gold. There were a few Exmoor ponies around but no deer to see here. However I was pleased to note several birds when walking around the nearby wood. Long-tailed tits, Coal Tits and also Goldcrest very vocal and moving around the trees. Blackbirds feasting off Hawthorn and Holly berries and several Robins in the lower branches.
Going back uphill I stopped to look with my binoculars for deer and spotted just one hind running to the left, disappearing over the brow. A hunt was in progress in the area so a ‘no show’ was not surprising. I parked and walked up to Dunkery Beacon. It was bracingly breezy with clear views in all directions and up at the top a trig point shows the distances to several points of interest. 37 miles to Yes Tor, Dartmoor and 18 ½ miles to Cardiff Airport and many more. Dunkery Beacon itself was erected in 1935 and holds a plaque explaining it’s history. Walking back down several Stonechat flew amongst the withered heather. Snow Bunting have been recorded as seen in the area but I was not that lucky. A Sparrowhawk flying low to the ground explained the lack of birdlife here.
On then to Exford, passing dense canopies of beech trees and hedges locked above the road, creating the effect of a giant polytunnel. In my rear-view mirror, disturbed beech leaves circled back down to the ground in my wake. At the White Horse Inn the log fire and sumptuous Xmas decorations were welcoming, as was a good lunch before returning home.
Sherryl Woods ………………………..7 December 2014
The open moorland can be very dramatic on Exmoor during the winter months, especially after a dusting of snow which gives the impression like a 3D image … Of course you can always snuggle up by the fire with a delicious Hot Chocolate or a sumptuous Malt from our famous malt corner, what better to spend a late afternoon?
Towards the end of January we often see the tell tale signs that Spring is not long away with the first show of Snowdrops along our hedgerows and in particular throughout Snowdrop Valley . Although the days are short, a lot can be achieved throughout this period…we particularly like the woodland walks where the penetrating light lets you explore more in depth, and takes on a particular surreal feel at this time of year.
As always we’ve an array of Winter Warmer offers to tempt you to see Exmoor in its winter beauty . For more details just call and speak to one of our reception team…
Winter Breaks on Exmoor – Contact The Exmoor White Horse Inn on 01643 831229