Fast-flowing river and expansive hillsides in the heart of Exmoor
EXMOOR, A LAND of exposed, weather-beaten heights and deep combes, has been shaped by nature and people for centuries. Designated a National Park in 1954, it straddles the county boundary between Somerset and Devon, with the larger part of the moor being in Somerset. The River Exe rises on the Exe Plain at the heart of Exmoor, meandering its way through Somerset and Devon before finding the sea on the East Devon coast. The higher-reaches of the young river, just outside Winsford, are fastflowing and flanked by trees – a haven for birds including Pied Flycatcher and Redstart.
The rock-strewn river bed is a favourite haunt of Dipper, where they can scuttle under the water and find a reliable supply of caddis fly etc on which to feed. Other wildlife is abundant: the river supports Otters, though it’s a rare treat to see them, and Exmoor’s wild Red Deer, our largest land mammal, may be present on the steep hillsides flanking the valley. They will see you before you see them. Stags often sport a head of mighty antlers which are shed every year and re-grown in time for the autumn rut. They are delight to watch so keep a look out for them.