Exmoor National Park Centre at Dulverton scoops Gold at Tourism Awards

The Exmoor National Park Centre at Dulverton has been awarded Gold in the Visitor Information Service of the Year category at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards 2023/24.

Exmoor National Park Centre staff receive Gold Award

The Centre provides visitors and residents with inspiration and information to explore Exmoor and the local area, featuring interactive displays, local films and, up to date information. It's run by a small, dedicated team of experienced and knowledgeable staff, led by Centre Manager Anne Brice, who are affectionately known as ‘Exmoor Experts’. They offer bespoke advice and guidance, as well as leaflets, maps, publications, and details of local events and activities. The Centre also sells a range of books, maps, guides, and locally produced goods.

In their application the team highlighted their focus on customer service: ‘Listening attentively to enquiries, given everyone’s needs are different’, and described how they combine their wealth of Exmoor knowledge with an ‘ever so important smile and warm approach’ which has earned top marks from user feedback.

Dan James, Rural Enterprise Manager at Exmoor National Park, who oversees the Centres, said: “We are delighted that our fantastic staff have been recognised with this award. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication, striving to provide the best possible service. We are very proud of our Centre and the role it plays in promoting Exmoor as a wonderful place to explore and telling the story of our National Park and the need to care for this special landscape.”

The Dulverton Centre is one of the three Exmoor National Park Centres, along with Dunster and Lynmouth, which have previously won Silver and Gold respectively and gone on to take Bronze and Gold at the South West Tourism Awards.

Further details of the Exmoor National Park Centres, and their current opening times, can be found at https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/national-park-centres.

The award follows a decision taken by Exmoor National Park Authority to relocate the Centre into the Authority’s head office at Exmoor House in Dulverton following the 2024 season, as part of cost-saving measures required to address the real terms reduction of funding for the National Park.

Dan James continued “We understand that this proposal has caused some disappointment. Our Members were clear in their deliberations that this was a decision necessitated by a continued decline in funding, and in no way reflected the value of the service, which is recognised in this award. Nobody wants to take a decision like this, but with core funding being reduced by over 50% in real terms we can no longer do everything in the same way.

“However, I am pleased that rather than lose the service, the Authority has been able to propose a relocation. This allows significant cost savings to be realised, while maintaining face to face information provision for users of the National Park within Dulverton, the southern gateway to Exmoor.

“We hope to work closely with the community and stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition. This award recognises the fantastic customer service offered and we believe that this is far more valuable in supporting people to discover and explore all that Exmoor has to offer than the physical space utilised.”

The Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards ceremony took place on the 30 November at the Bristol Hotel to celebrate the achievements and excellence of the tourism industry in the region.

Other Exmoor based winners included: Porlock visitor Centre (Silver - Visitor Information Service), The Royal Oak Inn, Luxborough (Bronze – Pub of the year) and Bossington Hall (Gold - Bed and Breakfast / Guesthouse of the year).

For more information, visit www.somersettourismawards.org.uk

Published: 5 December 2023