Exmoor National Park includes some of Devon and Somerset’s finest landscapes, celebrated for the natural beauty and tranquility the area offers. The contrasting elements of woodland, open moorland, mires, rivers and farmland combine to create the unique and distinguished landscape scenery, enhanced by the ever changing weather and seasonal conditions. Exmoor is a truly fascinating landscape with a rich and diverse history of land use with many visible remnant features offering subtle clues and insights of landscapes past and contribute to the scenic beauty and diversity of the idyllic rural scene.
The local topography enriches the landscape character of Exmoor, where gently rolling open hills often crowned with heather descend into deep secluded wooded valleys or combes as they are known locally. The ancient landform has been carved by many rivers and streams, Exmoor’s northern edge is defined by spectacular high coastal cliffs which create a dramatic frontier between land and sea.
The long history of human influence, underlying geology and climate have all played an important role in forming the complex patchwork of interrelated habitats and landforms visible today. The rich landscape pattern of fields, roads, settlements, buildings, earthworks and other historic landscape features tells a story of man's continuous influence on the land, from the early Neolithic over 6000 years ago to the present day. Exmoor is relatively undeveloped with many charming settlements displaying a rich variety of architecture, use of regional materials and local character.
The Exmoor landscape provides many benefits, which includes space for recreation, water and carbon storage, rich historic and cultural associations as well as providing important habitat for a multitude of plants and wildlife, including the iconic red deer. Exmoor is not an untouched wilderness, but is the product of traditional land uses where the occupation of farming and grazing of sheep, cattle and the famous Exmoor ponies plays an important role in maintaining the distinctive character and diversity of Exmoor’s upland landscape.