The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan deems National Parks one of the most outstanding environmental achievements this century. It’s thanks to the determination and foresight of those who fought for their establishment that the UK today boasts 15 National Parks, 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and 4,000km of National Trails.
But however beautiful and well-loved these places are, there are now much bigger global threats at stake and none more important than climate change.
The world’s top experts estimate the worst effects can be avoided by keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees. And we, along with many others, have joined the UK government in declaring a climate emergency to help meet this target. In August 2021, Exmoor National Park Authority members agreed an action plan to work towards the Authority being carbon neutral by 2030.
Our national parks are not vast open wildernesses like the Amazon rainforest or Yellowstone National Park, whose very existence brings about natural climate solutions. But they are places where the balance between nature and people is championed making them working models for a sustainable future, were new ideas can be kindled and inspiration sought.
Here are some ways Exmoor National Park is combating climate change along with simple steps everyone can take, both at home and away.
By acting together, we can make a difference.
What we’re doing
What you can do
Plastic Free Exmoor
Single-use plastics have no place in our National Parks. We’re working with Surfers Against Sewerage to limit them through the Plastic Free Communities campaign.
Pick up a leaflet in our National Park Centres.
Less food miles means a lower carbon footprint and often avoids packaging, as it’s not needed to protect and keep food fresh. It supports our local communities too.
Careful management of our woodlands improves resilience towards tree diseases and climate change, while also boosting the habitat for birds, butterflies and bees.
Leave no trace
Respect nature and take everything home with you. Left litter, including dog mess left in plastic bags, is hazardous to wildlife, and glass bottles, cigarette ends and disposable BBQs can start wildfires.
As the planning authority for the national park, we actively encourage buildings that use renewable energy and sustainable water sources, while protecting precious habitats. We’ve also taken steps to improve the energy efficiency of our own building, through better insulation and heating systems.
Get a refill
Carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go. Our National Park Centres in Lynmouth, Dunster and Dulverton will be glad to give you a free refill or ask a friendly local business. Reusable coffee cups are also useful if you’re buying a hot drink.
Working with landowners and volunteers to tackle invasive species, champion nature-friendly farming and promote traditional skills like hedge-laying contributes to healthy ecosystems that store more carbon. It’s estimated 1 million tonnes are stored in Exmoor’s hedgerows and free-standing trees alone.
Go by foot, pedal or paddle
Try and plan at least one day of your trip without the car. Take a walk in the countryside, enjoy a picnic, rent a bike or kayak, or try horse-riding. It could be the start of an exciting microadventure…
Peatlands are the UK’s single most important carbon store on land, containing 20 times more carbon than all UK forests. Nearly 2,500 hectares of peat bog have so far been restored through the Exmoor Mires Partnership.
Join a beach clean, help with conservation work or check out our Wild Watch programme. Connecting with nature feels great and helps give something back for future generations.
Contact email@example.com or see our website to find out more.
We’re working with South West Water to influence how land is managed and improve the health of our rivers. Cleaner water is better for wildlife and needs less treatment to make it drinkable, lowering the carbon footprint.
Turn down the heating and put on an extra layer, only use hot water when necessary and measure out the cups when you boil water.
On Exmoor there is a plentiful supply of sustainable wood, so lighting the log burner may be a greener and more cosy option than gas or oil heating. When you get home look into solar and wind power, air source heat pumps and improved insulation.
Many of our local farmers are small-scale producers championing sustainable approaches that work in harmony with nature. You’ll find grass-fed beef and lamb, organic fruit and vegetables, homemade jams and chutneys and deliciously sweet local honey among the many local delicacies.
Be inspired by Victorian waterpower
Pay a visit to the Glen Lyn Gorge and Cliff Railway in Lynmouth and be inspired by how the Victorians harnessed waterpower. Today the hydroelectric plant powers the whole village!
Staying at our Pinkery Centre for Outdoor Learning is a truly off-grid experience. Nestled high on Exmoor’s north-western plateau, the centre relies on spring-fed water, a wind-turbine and a cutting-edge photovoltaic solar roof. It’s a living working example of how even a 200 year-old-building can be made more sustainable.
Enjoy a staycation
Love Exmoor? There are 14 other UK national parks to choose from, so why not switch your next holiday abroad for one in the UK? Tools like carbonfootprint.com can help you make an informed choice about how best to travel.
- Health and Wellbeing
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