Keeping Exmoor alive
When the trustees of the Exmoor Society’s Pinnacle Award met to choose a winner for the latest contest they found it impossible to decide between three outstanding young people.
Trustee Jackie Smith explains: “Because the final selection was so difficult we were thrilled that it was possible to increase the funding for this, the Society’s Diamond Jubilee year. We were able to choose three winners rather than one and also give each successful candidate £3,000 rather than the usual £1,000, to help with their start-up or development plans.”
Like many young people from the area Polly Goodman had to look outside the National Park for her first job, securing a highflying appointment in London.
Now she has returned to Exmoor, saying: “I realised that city life is not for me. A share in the Pinnacle Award will help me to follow my dream.”
The dream revolves around the potential she has identified for keeping goats, in order to introduce their meat to the area.
Polly explains: “I see this as a niche marketing opportunity. The real strength of the plan is that goats can thrive on much of the less-favoured hill land of Exmoor. I have made a clear business decision to return to Exmoor where, as my flock grows, I will need to work with other local business, including vets, butchers, abbattoirs, food outlets and restaurants.”
Philip Stephens, like so many other young people from Exmoor, had to look for inspiration away from the family farm where his brother will take over in due course. As a skilled welder, he started off using old horseshoes to make decorative hand-crafted garden furniture. He has now identified scope for manufacturing truck canopies and other bespoke accessories for farm and truck vehicles, in particular working with lightweight aluminium rather than heavier metals.
He is now providing a service to the local working community, with scope to improve safety for his clients and is planning in the near future to take on an apprentice.
Camilla Waterer has also returned to Exmoor after university. The Pinnacle Award trustees described her as having the personality and drive to become a real entrepreneur in the tourism business on Exmoor.
Camilla’s plan is to offer horse drawn carriage rides and picnics on the high moor in summer and to wives of guns on some of the big Exmoor shoots in winter, using Fell ponies, which are stronger than their Exmoor counterparts. Exmoor Society chairman Rachel Thomas says: “As a conservation body we recognise the importance of providing opportunities for young people to remain on the moor when they enter the world of work. This is the very essence of keeping Exmoor alive as a national park.” Closing date for the next Pinnacle Award is 30 June 2019. Application details at exmoorsociety.com.
An award scheme to encourage young Exmoor entrepreneurs has named three winners, writesPHILIP DALLING