Spring on Exmoor

Spring on Exmoor

As the weather begins to warm Exmoor bursts into life.

Look out for ‘mad March hares’ this is actually courting behaviour involving boxing with the unreceptive females fending off passionate males. Hares are much longer-limbed and swifter than rabbits and have characteristic black ear tips. They use their powerful hind legs to escape predators by outrunning their enemies and have been known to reach speeds of 72kph (45mph). Introduced by the Romans, hares have declined due to changes in farming practices but look out for them on farmland and moorland areas on Exmoor.

This is an exciting time of the year when our summer visitors return from the south to breed.  They spend summer here and then they, and their new young, return south in autumn. The chiffchaff is one of the earliest migrants to arrive on Exmoor in March so listen for its characteristic call. Swallows, martins and swifts can all be seen soaring in the sky and other migrants to look out for include warblers, flycatchers, whinchats, wheatears, tree pipits, nightjars and the charismatic cuckoo.

Bluebells are a timeless example of the antiquity of our ancient woods.  The best time to see them is in late April and May.  They prefer moist, shady and stable conditions so woodlands are ideal but in westerly parts of Britain such as Exmoor they can be found in all sorts of habitats such as hedgerows or bracken slopes. Some estimates suggest the UK has up to half of the world's total bluebell population.

May sees the peak of birdsong as our resident blackbirds, robins, song thrushes, and wrens who sing all year round are joined by an influx of warblers and migrants to give rise to the dawn chorus. It is only ever the male birds which sing (females may call, and make alarm calls, but never sing) and they do it for two main reasons: firstly to establish and defend a territory and secondly to attract a mate.

Spring Highlights on Exmoor

Moonrise from Heddon's Mouth Jon Spurr


While the nights are still long but the evenings are getting warmer Spring is a great time for stargazing. Visit the Exmoor Stargazers website to get some great ideas about where to go and what to look out for!

Exmoor Beech leaves

Exmoor Beech trees in leaf

Exmoor's Beech trees turn a lovely colour in Spring. Find out more about where to enjoy Exmoor's woodland here:


One of our 2017 WildWatch species. Adults arrive in late March or April and depart in July or August, with young birds leaving a month or so later.
Read more

Spring Walks on Exmoor

Spring is a great time for walking on Exmoor, here are some of our favourites:

Burridge Woods

Burridge Woods is a 22 hectare broadleaf woodland situated on a steep hillside above the River Barle near Dulverton. Full details here:

Hawkcombe Woods

Hawkcombe Wood is made up of mostly sessile oak trees with smaller amounts of ash, beech, birch and hazel. Look out for lichens, woodland birds, ancient pollarded trees, butterflies, industrial archaeology. Full details here:

Watersmeet and the Cleeves

This 5 mile (8km) walk provides spectacular views over a deep, wooded valley to Lynmouth, the Bristol Channel to Wales. Down in the valley the route follows tumbling, rock-strewn rivers with mossy rocks, ferns and rare plants. Full details here:

See our walking map for more suggested walking routes

Explore Exmoor Spring Images

Here are some upcoming Spring events on Exmoor. Or you can browse all events here

Needle Felting Workshop
Thu 30th Mar 1pm - 5pm

Spring flowers trail
Sat 1st Apr - Thur 13th Apr 

Sea Glass Jewellery Workshop
Thu 6th Apr 2pm - 4pm

Combe Martin Seashore Safari
Fri 7th Apr 10am - 12noon

Discover Porlock Marsh Guided Walk
Fri 7th Apr 10:30am - 12:30pm

Coffee, Cake and Clean Up
Sat 8th Apr 10am - 1pm

Exmoor Pony Centre: April Activity Day
Sun 9th Apr 11am - 3pm

The Haddon Hill Big Adventure
Wed 12th Apr 10am - 4pm

Hidden Dunster Guided Walk
Wed 12th Apr 11am

Dulverton Heritage Tour - Guided Walk
Wed 12th Apr 3pm - 4pm

Exmoor Watercolour Workshop
Thu 13th Apr 2pm - 4pm

Hornets, “Gentle Giants”
Thu 13th Apr 7:30pm

Stained Glass Workshop
Fri 14th Apr 10:30am - 12:30pm

Watersmeet Easter Egg Hunt
Fri 14th - Sun 17th Apr 11am - 3pm

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Easter Sunday Funday
Sun 16th Apr 10am - 4.30pm

Open Day at Simonsbath Sawmill
Mon 17th Apr 10am - 4pm

Lynton and Valley of Rocks - An Historic Tour
Tue 18th Apr 10am - 12:30pm

Heddon History Trail
Tue 18th - Sun 30th Apr 10:30am - 3:30pm

Mineral Line Ralegh’s Cross Short Walk
Wed 19th Apr 9:45am - 1:45pm

Lynmouth Boat Trip
Wed 19th Apr 11:45am - 1pm

Gem Stone Jewellery Making
Thu 20th Apr 2pm - 4pm

Discover Bossington Guided Walk
Fri 21st Apr 10:30am - 12:30pm

Discovering Dunster's Hidden History
Sun 23rd Apr 2:30pm - 5pm

Dulverton Heritage Tour
Sun 23rd Apr 3pm - 4pm

Ilkerton Ridge and the Cuckoo
Mon 24th Apr 2pm - 4:30pm

Needle Felting Workshop
Thu 27th Apr 1pm - 5pm

Lynmouth Flood Walk
Thu 27th Apr 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Wildflower Trail
Sat 29th Apr - Sun 14th May 10:30am - 3:30pm

Edge of Exmoor Artists Exhibition
Sun 30th Apr - Sat 6th May

Mini Coracle Build & Race
Mon 1st May 11am - 2pm

Simonsbath Festival 
Mon 1st May - 23rd June

In the Footsteps of Rachel Reckitt, Sculptor, Engraver & Welder - A Guided Walk
Tue 2nd May 10am - 1pm

Annual Stallion Parade
Wed 3rd May 10:30am - 12:30pm

Lynmouth Boat Trip
Wed 3rd May 12:15pm - 1:30pm

Dulverton Heritage Tour
Wed 3rd May 3pm

Sea Glass Jewellery Workshop
Thu 4th May 2pm - 4pm

Discover Porlock Guided Walk
Fri 5th May 10:30am - 12:30pm

Mining and Mystery at Wheal Eliza
Wed 10th May 11am - 1pm

Exmoor Watercolour Workshop
Thu 11th May 2pm - 4pm

Lynmouth Flood Walk
Thu 11th May 2:30pm - 3:30pm

A Seated Historic Tour of Dulverton
Thu 11th May 4pm - 5pm

Stained Glass Workshop
Fri 12th May 10:30am - 12:30pm

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Spring Gala
Sat 13th & Sun 14th May  

National Mills Weekend - Simonsbath Sawmill
Sat 13th & Sun 14th May 10am - 4pm

Open Day at Simonsbath Sawmill
Mon 15th May 10am - 4pm

Wildflowers of Watersmeet Woodlands
Tue 16th May 10:30am - 4pm

Hidden Dunster Guided Walk
Wed 17th May 11am

Natural History Walk
Thu 18th May 2pm - 4pm

Discover Bossington Guided Walk
Fri 19th May 10:30am - 12:30pm

Porlock Open Gardens
Sat 20th & Sun 21st May 2pm - 6pm

Ralegh’s Cross Long Walk
Sun 21st May 9:45am - 3:45pm

Lynmouth Boat Trip
Mon 22nd May 3:15 - 4:30pm

Lynton and Valley of Rocks - An Historic Tour
Tue 23rd May 10am - 12:30pm

Needle Felting Workshop
Thu 25th May 1pm - 5pm

Lynmouth Flood Walk
Thu 25th May 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Dulverton Heritage Tour
Thu 25th May 3pm

In Search of John Knight's Lost Mansion and Gardens - A Guided Walk
Fri 26th May 1:30pm - 4pm

Family Butterfly Trail
Sat 27th May - Sun 4th Jun 10:30am - 3:30pm

St Mary's Church, Nettlecome Fete
Sat 27th May 2:30pm - 5pm

Bulworthy Project Barbecue Café Evening
Sat 27th May 6pm - 11pm

Big Breakfast
Sun 28th May 8am - 11am

Porlock Duck Race
Sun 28th May 1pm - 4:30pm

Fun Day with Teddy Bear Parachute Jump
Mon 29th May 11am

Tarr Steps Discovery Day
Tue 30th May 11am - 3pm

Spring on Exmoor,  recording made by Martin Prothero for the Lynmouth Pavilion Project and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (best enjoyed through headphones). Click here to listen to all