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Exmoor's rights of way show resilience to Winter storms

97% of public paths on Exmoor were judged through a nationally recognised methodology to be ‘open and easy to use’ this year, according to the National Park Authority’s latest annual rights of way report.

The top result comes despite the storms of late February leaving a trail of destruction across the Exmoor rights of way network.  Our Field Services Team cleared a record 330 trees over 8 weeks and the storm also caused longer-term damage to several major routes including the South West Coast Path and Coleridge Way. As well as paths being blocked by fallen trees, in many cases path surfaces were badly damaged by lifting root balls. The major surface issues were resolved with support from our great local contractors and all paths reopened within 10 weeks.

Nevertheless, the investments we have made in bridges, drainage, staff skills and equipment over many years allowed us to respond and keep the network open and safe for all users to enjoy.

Sue Applegate, Rights of Way & Access Officer at Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “We were extremely grateful to members of the public for taking the time to send in their reports. The great collaborative effort between all our partners including the National Trust, local landowners and communities was fantastic to see and crucial to getting paths reopened quickly.”

A fundraiser was also run by the South West Coast Path Association to assist with our costs.

Ranger and Field Services teams together cut back a record 201km of vegetation, cleared a total 485 fallen trees (compared to 187 trees last year), and made and installed 577 signs, 233 signposts, 116 gates and 2 footbridges. They successfully resolved 950 faults and surveyed 35 per cent of Exmoor’s 1000km rights of way network. Volunteers generously donated 426 hours of their time to support rangers with path surveys.

The report includes work by the National Park to prepare for changes to the South West Coast Path on Exmoor at six separate sites, as part of a nationwide effort to establish the ‘England Coast Path’ as the longest unbroken coastal path in the world.

Dan Barnett, Exmoor National Park Authoritys Access & Recreation Manager, said:

“Despite the challenges of climate change and ever decreasing public funding our staff and communities have worked hard to maintain a first-class public path network, which underpins our economy and way of life on Exmoor and pays for itself many times over in return. The network provides a world class asset for our enjoyment and physical and mental health that is free to use for everyone.”


Rights of way hard hit by storm damage

The storms of late February have left a trail of destruction across Exmoor’s 1,300km network of public paths, with more than 330 trees cleared so far and longer-term damage to several major routes. Along with tree blockages some paths have been torn out by lifting root balls. Damage has occurred across the whole National Park but the coast is worst hit. Read more.


Exmoor's rights of way maintained in peak condition

98% of public paths on Exmoor were judged through a nationally recognised methodology to be ‘open and easy to use’ this year, according to the National Park Authority’s latest annual rights of way report.

The top result comes despite increased use in and out of the lockdowns and the warmer wetter summers contributing to an increased growing season. It is 8% higher than the previous year’s score, making it the highest on record. Read more.


Today (19th October 2020), as #ExmoorDay is celebrated, Exmoor National Park Authority and Lyn Community Development Trust have released a new film on social media celebrating the reinstatement of Woodside Bridge in the East Lyn Valley earlier this spring following a successful community-led campaign to raise £65K.
Read more


Rights of Way & Access Annual Report 2019/20

Our Rights of Way and Access Annual Report for 2019-20 highlights the work carried out by Exmoor National Park Authority to maintain and improve the public access network across the National park over this 12 month period from April 2019 to March 2020. To read the report click here.


Lynmouth's Woodside Bridge was successfully returned to its rightful place yesterday, following a £65K fundraising drive led by the community.
7 May 2020
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Contractors working with Exmoor National Park Authority will early next week begin site preparations ready for the replacement of Woodside Bridge near Lynmouth at the end of the month.
9 April 2020
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Useful Links


Changes to the Path Network: Public Path Orders

Path Closures

External Recreational Events Calendar 

Somerset County Council Interactive Map:

Devon County Council: Interactive Map of Rights of Way