Exmoor’s Magnificent Seven

I consider myself lucky to live on the Somerset Levels.  It has a wide expanse of bird-watching opportunities and just now Starling Roost and Murmurations.  However, my regular visits to Exmoor are for a complete change in landscape.  High sea cliffs, wild moors, steep wooded valleys.

Last Sunday, as most everywhere in the UK, it was a damp overcast morning.  On my drive down to Exford I picked up the latest Exmoor magazine to read over coffee at The White Horse Inn, in advance of the Sunday Carvery.  The bar woodburning fire adds to the comfort and atmosphere and set me up for the afternoon.  I usually visit Exmoor with a ‘wish-list’ dictated by the seasons.  Still damp out there so not good for bird-watching, I travelled from Exford to park at Dunkery Hill and walk to the Beacon where a few ponies grazed the lower slopes on the Cloutsham side.  Outstanding views all the way and even better on a clear day.

From here I drove down through Webbers Post to Horner, stopping to view the sheer beauty of the woodland colours.  From copper, red and bronze to mahogany, henna and back.  Apparently these colours have been in the green leaves all the time but from our view because of the different leaf content in the spring/summer.  It’s all to do with sugar’s and chlorophyll but I am no expert so I won’t try to enlarge on that!

Turning left at the bottom of the hill towards Horner and looking to the right, are the Magnificent Seven, a group of seven beech trees and on my list for the day.  There are several professional photographs of these trees in the hotel dining room and I have a few amateur copies of my own.  My favourite, I took one Boxing Day when the trees looked stunning set against the surrounding deep snow and I will feature this in my next blog.  Today, the trees were looking good in a frame of berries growing in the hedgerow.  From here I took a short walk along Horner Water which was flowing fast from recent rain and not ideal for a Dipper opportunity.  Dipper sighting is always on my list but all in all and as ever, a very enjoyable visit.

Sherryl Woods ……December 2015

Written by Peter