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White Rock Cottage and the old Simonsbath School: Heritage Open Day tours

Exmoor National Park will be opening White Rock Cottage and the old Simonsbath School buildings as part of Heritage Open Day on Friday 8 September from 10am to 4pm. Conservation manager Rob Wilson-North says: “Everyone is welcome to come along to learn more about the Simonsbath Programme Steering Group’s plans for the buildings, see how these remarkable buildings tell the story of a unique landscape at the heart of Exmoor National Park and find out more about the people in the past who shaped the Exmoor we see today.

“There will be tours of the building site and part of the unfinished Picturesque gardens as well as a small exhibition.”

White Rock Cottage was built in 1820 and stands at the heart of the tiny village of Simonsbath on the top of Exmoor at the centre of what was, until 1819, 20,000 acres of barren moorland. It was built in the Scottish style and became home to workers engaged in making a great Georgian estate out of nothing but the wild moor, and who were also busy working on one of the last and largest land reclamations in England. White Rock Cottage and a small subterranean building also formed part of an unfinished Picturesque valley garden which is now overgrown.

In 1857 Simonsbath school was set up to teach the children of Exmoor farmers, and the old schoolroom forms part of the group of buildings. Sadly the village school closed in 1970. The buildings are now in a very sorry state after years of neglect. They are scaffolded, sheeted and only partially roofed. Plans are being developed to breathe new life into them.

For further information please contact Rob Wilson-North, 01398 322280, rwilson-north@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or visit  

https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/white-rock-cottage-simonsbath-school

Notes:

This site is currently scaffolded and uneven underfoot. For tours of the building you should wear stout shoes or boots. Hard hats will be provided and must be worn. Tours of the immediate setting of the buildings will introduce the Picturesque designed landscape and this involves some rough ground underfoot.

Additional information

Simonsbath village is very small but has a pub and hotel where refreshments may be purchased.

Directions

The site adjoins Ashcombe carpark. This is the only public carpark in Simonsbath village; it is signed off the main road leading from the village towards Exford. If you are approaching from the south (South Molton), turn right at the T junction in the village, towards Exford, and the carpark is on the left. If you are approaching from the east (Exford and Dulverton), the carpark is on the right some 100 metres after the church. The carpark National Grid Reference is SS 7736 3941. Please note that there is no mobile phone reception in Simonsbath village.

Published: 5 September 2017

Contact the press office:

Clare O-Connor
T: 01398 322244
E: CKOConnor@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk