Saving the Splendour of Exmoor
Devon Life|September 2020
Saving the Splendour of Exmoor
The splendour of Exmoor National Park may appear timeless and untroubled,but a new book reveals the long and often bitter struggle conservationists faced to save the landscape from the twin threats of afforestation and the plough
The arrival of summer and the gradual relaxation of lockdown brought visitors flocking back to Exmoor to enjoy once again its spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and a sense of isolation far different and much more acceptable than that imposed by the Covid-19 virus.

Yet few of the thousands who hurried to make or renew acquaintance with the National Park after many weeks of frustrating close confinement would have realised just how difficult and prolonged was the struggle to preserve Exmoor for their enjoyment. Now the Exmoor Society, which has fought heroically to preserve the moor since its foundation in 1958, has published a new account of the turbulent but ultimately fulfilling chapters not only of its own history but also that of the wider conservation movement.

The author of Saving the Splendour is journalist Philip Dalling, who for many years covered the life and times of Exmoor in a monthly column for Devon Life, entitled Man on the Moor.

Devon can claim just a third of the National Park’s area, compared to neighbouring Somerset, but the county punches well above its weight. The North Devon portion contains the grandest coastal scenery and, in Lynton and Lynmouth, the largest settlement.

And above all, North Devon has an incontestable claim to have inspired the successful campaign to save Exmoor’s iconic central plateau, The Chains, a struggle which led directly to the foundation of the Exmoor Society in 1958.


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September 2020