Travelling down the B3224 from home to Exmoor I have favourite points to stop and sample the tranquillity and natural beauty, just a little way from the road. Spectacular views across to Minehead Bay and then the high bare shoulder of Hurlstone Point which looks over Porlock Vale and Bossington.
Very recently I parked up near to Cloutsham to walk below Dunkery Hill. The morning sun was throwing shadows across the red-rust wintry colours of the bracken. This area has special qualities for me. The peacefulness of the wilderness and general ‘getting away from it all’ feeling I soak up here. On this day I enjoyed hearing my first Cuckoo this year. Also Stonechat picking their way across the gorse and bracken to feed and a Skylark somewhere high above me in song-flight. Unusually, no deer on the slopes at all but several pretty Exmoor Hornies with their new lambs following on.
Walking down to Cloutsham Gate I found the deer. Forty plus, most of them sitting around in two adjoining farm pastures. By now there were many walkers in the area so the tranquillity and rich spring grass here was their option. Returning to my car I found a few Exmoor Ponies had come along and with them a very new foal. Very wobbly on long gangly legs. They moved away cautiously, the foal keeping close and suckling Mum often. It could only be a few days old.
On a day trip I try to cram in sections of the designated walks around Exford which generally include the circular trip from the bridge through Court Farm and also the Edgecott area. I was very impressed that day with the many patches of bluebells growing wild and when driving home via Wheddon Cross, the bright green new leaves showing through high beech hedgerows.
Sherryl Woods …………….10 May 2016