Exmoor and its Wildlife

In 1954 the Exmoor region, because of its outstanding natural beauty, was designated a National Park. Some two-thirds of the Park is in West Somerset and the remainder in North Devon. The total area is 265 square miles or 170,000 acres.

This comprises about 40,000 acres of open moorland, 17,000 acres of woodland and the balance is largely farmland and village. One of the great delights of Exmoor is its rushing waters, channelled through 300 miles of major rivers and streams and many hundreds of miles of smaller tributaries. There are 30 miles of glorious coastline varying from regularly inundated marshland just below sea level at Porlock to sea cliffs over 800 feet high.

Most of the moorland area is over 1000 feet high, much of it above 1500 feet with Dunkery Beacon being the highest point at 1704 feet. Much of the underlying rock is old red sandstone of the Devonian era; there are small outcrops of limestone and some Recent alluvium deposits.We are therefore fortunate in having a variety of habitats within Exmoor area which in turn give rise to a great number of different plants, insects, birds and animals. All this is a heritage for each of us to observe and to enjoy, but not to disturb or destroy. Then all who come may discover the glories and enjoy Exmoor.

Adapted from ‘Exmoor’s Wildlife’ N.V. Allen