No 405 – Walking with the Lone Ranger

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Well not strictly true. We didn’t meet THE Lone Ranger, we met A Ranger, who was on his own, so technically he was ‘alone’ Ranger 🙂

Anyway, pun aside, Richard Eales is a Ranger for Exmoor National Park and we decided to spend some time with him and a few others for a morning on Exmoor tracking and learning more about the wild Deer on the Park during August 2016.

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Although a simple thing to do, it was fascinating way to spend a few hours with someone who has a great understanding and passion for the animals.

The conversation and questions from those attending ebbed and flowed regarding the habits, the relationship with local farmers, the ticks and to some extent, the financial benefits they bring to the area in the form of tourists.

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We also arrived at the source of the River Exe and heard more about the ‘rewetting’ of the marsh land, which had been drained and cultivated for agricultural use after the war years. Although there was great concern about the deer never returning to the area this has proved to be false and the herds have returned once the site work was completed.

Rewetting

From what we saw, it appeared to involve damming the streams with hazel hurdles and straw bales, in a series of small terraces, all of which staggers the flow of the water and more importantly the silt. The effect this has on the quality of the water as it makes its way to the river is two fold. During heavy rain the river is slower to rise and when it does it contains much less silt and is therefore of better quality for wildlife and humanity on the floodplains alike.

It was my first time in Exmoor and it is certainly more diverse than its well known brother Dartmoor. Well worth a visit and in our few days there we met many overseas visitors enjoying the landscape.

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During our time in the area I became aware of a nice coast to coast walk The Two Moors Way, which takes in Dartmoor (wild camping allowed) and Exmoor (not approved). In total it appears to be about 100 miles and strikes me as a nice solo lightweight bivi and tarp adventure.

Looking at my calendar, I may be able to do this for a week at the beginning of October. And if I do, it’ll also make a great mini podcast series and video.

Its about time I did one that wasn’t based in Scotland and you never know, it might involve a little sunshine too 🙂

Please sign up for our newsletter and make some contributions and suggestions as to which UK small cottage enterprises, or interesting people I should visit and talk to.

The suggestions are coming in thick and fast.

Many thanks and enjoy 😉

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