Exmoor moorland

Exmoor National Park was designated in recognition of the outstanding beauty, wildness and tranquillity of the moorlands which dominate its landscape. The moors and heaths are at the heart of the National Park; wide open areas, overlooking the whole of West Somerset, North Devon and the Bristol Channel coast.   While they appear to be wild untamed landscapes, they are in fact the result of thousands of years of management by people and their grazing animals.

What are Moorlands ?

Moorland is the name given to areas usually dominated by shrubs such as Bell Heather, Ling and Gorse or various rough grasses and sedges. On Exmoor Moorlands include upland heath type habitats as well as the often wetter and more peaty mires. They usually occur on the poorer, peaty soils on the higher parts of Exmoor.  Moorlands are usually unenclosed and offer great opportunities for recreation. Most of Exmoor's moorland is designated as "Access Land".
Moorland or heath landscape accounts for a quarter of the area of Exmoor National Park, 18,300 hectares of land lying between 305 m (1000 ft) and 519 m (1700 ft) above sea level. The central moorland lies largely within the parish of Exmoor, the former Royal Hunting Forest area, protected from Norman times until the 19th century. This is surrounded by a fringe of commons and coastal heaths each linked historically to the villages surrounding the moor.

Moorlands  -  an historic perspective

From a historic perspective the relatively low levels of ploughing over the moorlands has resulted in the survival of archaeological monuments from the earliest prehistoric periods. These form a rare and nationally significant resource. They include; Neolithic/early Bronze Age standing stones and stone settings, Bronze Age settlements (hut circles and enclosures), field systems, barrow groups and Iron Age hillforts and enclosures. More recently medieval farming has shaped the moorlands and there are many sites which illuminate the farming practices and economies at that time. More recently still the Parliamentary Inclosures and the Reclamation of The Royal Forest of Exmoor from the mid 19th century led to landscape scale changes. The last 200 years have seen a major reduction of the moorland area, as the heaths and bogs were converted to more agriculturally productive grassland and forestry.

Here are some upcoming events that have a moorland theme or take place on moorland. Or you can browse all events here

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Goppin' Challenge 2017

Combe Sydenham Country Park
6th May 2017 9:00am
The Goppin Challenge is a Royal Marines designed Obstacle Course Race intent on ...
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Exmoor Equitrek 2017

Brendon Common
7th May 2017 9:30am-5:00pm

Point-To-Point Racing

Holnicote Estate, Porlock
7th May 2017 2:00pm

Mining and Mystery at Wheal Eliza - A Guided Walk

Ashcombe car park, Simonsbath. Grid Ref. 775394
10th May 2017 11:00am-1:00pm

Spring Gala

Woody Bay Station
13th May 2017 10:00am - 14th May 2017 5:00pm

Point-To-Point Racing

Holnicote Estate, Holnicote, Porlock, Exmoor, W. Somerset
13th May 2017 2:00pm