Exmoor Local Access Forum
Chair: Alison Kent (Independent Member of the Forum)
The Exmoor Local Access Forum is an independent statutory advisory body set up by Exmoor National Park Authority in 2002 under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. It held its first meeting in February 2003. The Forum's purpose is to advise the National Park Authority, Natural England, the two local highway authorities covering the area and other statutory bodies about improvement of public access to land for open-air recreation and enjoyment. In providing advice, the Forum must have regard to the needs of land management and conservation of the natural beauty of the landscape. The Forum meets twice a year and its membership includes two representatives of the Authority.
|Alison Kent (Chair)|
Alison Kent worked as a Ranger for Exmoor National Park Authority for 15 years with specialist knowledge of Rights of Way and access issues. Alison is also a member of Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management. Alison joined the Local Access Forum in 2009.
Alison likes walking with her dog as a companion on long distance paths and National Trails throughout the UK. Alison is keen to see that everyone has an opportunity to experience and enjoy the special qualities that Exmoor has to offer.
Annie moved to Exmoor in 2004. After a career in the city, including many years in New York, she now works as a garden designer. She lives, farms and manages woodland near Dulverton and is passionate about maintaining the unspoilt nature of the Exmoor landscape. All of her land management has environmental protection and enhancement at the fore.
Chris grew up on an Exmoor farm and rode the moor extensively. He now lives in the same house in the Porlock Vale. He is a Past Chairman of the West Somerset & Exmoor Bridleways Association. He used to lead 3 day stay away rides across the moor. He is now a sheep farmer, a Commoner on Dunkery, a Trustee of the Exmoor Society, and leads walks across the high moor.
Ed lives in the centre of the Exmoor Forest at Simonsbath, where he helps run the family farm and the Exmoor Forest Inn. These two ventures give him a unique insight in being able to represent the interests of visitors accessing Exmoor for leisure and recreation and the interests of farmers and landowners in the National Park. Ed has a special interest in the Exmoor Forest, where his family have been tenant farmers of the Exmoor National Park Authority and as organic farmers have been involved in various ecological projects.
|George Curry||George has lived and worked in North Devon for 50 years. He and his wife, Sara, would spend every weekend walking and wildlife watching on Exmoor and so, on retiring from his role as CEO of a training and employment charity, they moved to Barbrook. His work with long-term unemployed, many with mental health problems, made him aware of the therapeutic benefits of walking in the countryside. George therefore has a special interest in access to Exmoor for disadvantaged individuals. He has a deep interest in climate change and sits as an advisor on the Barnstaple Town Council Climate Emergency Working Group. George is currently involved in setting up a similar group in Lynton.|
|Graham Lavender (Vice-Chair)|
Graham represents users of rights of way with a specific interest in the conservation and enjoyment of the rich flora of Exmoor. His interest in plants includes promoting education and understanding by leading several guided botanical walks on Exmoor each year. Graham also volunteers, surveys rights of way with his wife and reports any broken furniture or issues discovered along the route.
Kate walks and regularly horse rides on Exmoor. The family farm has rights of way passing through the land, so she represents the interests of those landowners with rights of way and the users of the rights of way.
Laura has lived at Tarr Steps on Exmoor for twenty years and she and her husband who was brought up on Exmoor have a farm and woodland that is traversed by the Two Moors Way and a bridleway. Living next to a prime tourist attraction gives her some insight into the issues that need to be addressed to improve the experience of visitors and maintain the beauty and ecology of the area.
Peter grew up on 1500-acre farm in Oxfordshire and his first job was with an Agricultural Engineers in West Somerset. Peter has a love for the great outdoors from hill walking, cycling and mountain biking on Exmoor and the Quantocks. He has competed in the Exmoor Ironman 70.3 five times. Peter is also an instructor for the Dave Thorpe Honda Adventure Centre which runs motorcycle training and rides over Exmoor weekly, during the season.
Peter joined the Exmoor Land Access Forum to encourage and develop the use and enjoyment of our beautiful moor for everyone. Peter is also the Rights of Way officer for a local motorcycle group
Robert is a retired Chartered Surveyor and moved to Exmoor 12 years ago. Robert is a horse rider and joined the Forum three years ago with a view to learning more about Exmoor and to continue his longstanding interest in preserving public rights of way and rights over Access Land. Robert has enjoyed discussing access with other like-minded members.
|Robin Milton||Robin has been an Exmoor National Park Authority Member since 2010 initially as a Secretary of State appointee and now as a Parish appointee. Robin is an Exmoor farmer with land both in and out of the National Park as well as moorland grazing on both Withypool and Anstey commons keeping sheep, cattle and Exmoor ponies. |
As a landowner, Robin has experience of having rights of way, open access and has a permitted path that carries part of the Two Moors Way route on his farm. Also, Robin has been involved with the NFU and CLA, which has been a useful experience in terms of rights of way and access.
Rupert moved from a farm in Northamptonshire, where his father established and managed a model farm since WW2 to work as a management trainee in the timber industry in London’s East End. Moving to Dorset in the late 70’s to found his own business manufacturing commercial lighting, a business in which Rupert is heavily involved with to this present day.
A lifelong shooter, he purchased the Lillycombe Estate and Culbone Stables Inn near Porlock in early 2018. Rupert is passionate about the health and well-being of the English countryside and those that earn their living from it.
Simon has been a farm manager for the last 28 years working on many different types of farm in the UK. Simon has always worked in areas with public access and is keen to see access and farming working happily together. Simon is particularly interested in educating others about countryside issues and food production. Currently Simon manages the Lee Abbey Estate at Lynton. Previously, Simon was the Chair of the Essex LAF when it was set up in the early 2000s.
|Susan Warren||Susan has been a Secretary of State appointed Member of Exmoor National Park Authority since 2020. She has 30 years of experience as a senior executive, non-executive director and consultant across the charitable, public and private sectors. She works across a wide range of interrelated contexts and issues in the arenas of nature conservation, sustainability, community development, and health and wellbeing. This has included the development and delivery of a wide range of programmes, in both rural and urban settings, which have sought to increase access to, and enjoyment of, both natural and cultural heritage. Alongside this, her research experience is centred on nature connection and behaviour change for sustainability, working both with the general public and environmental educators. |
In her free time, Susan is Co-Director of Joyful Nature, a voluntary enterprise, which encourages and supports easy and accessible ways for people to connect with nature, in particular women and members of the LGBTQI+ community. She has a great love of the natural world, and enjoys walking, cycling and sea swimming.
Penny has been a member of Exmoor National Park Authority for some years and became one of the Member appointees to the LAF in 2022. Penny has lived on Exmoor for many years and is a partner with her family on our award-winning organic farm tenanted for 3 generations from the National Trust. The farm is home to Belted Galloway and Aberdeen Angus cattle, a sheep flock and 10 free roaming Exmoor ponies (supporting Moorland Mousie) on Selworthy Beacon the highest place on the farm - the farm practices Pasture for Life Principles and Methods whilst following Organic standards.
Penny is also a Parish Councillor and has ridden, cycled, walked Exmoor and even rowed the Porlock Vale area. Her love for her farm where the countryside meets the sea is very much evident.
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