Keep­ing Ex­moor alive

Devon Life - - Exmoor -

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 ex­moor­so­ci­

Con­tact: dalling.philip@hot­

An award scheme to en­cour­age young Ex­moor en­trepreneurs has named three win­ners, writesPHILIP DALLING

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