A Moor for all Seasons
The countryside puts on a show throughout the seasons. Come in the spring and you’ll walk
through woodland glades carpeted in bluebells.
Purple is the colour of summer on the moors – and it’s a vibrant, singing purple that
leaves other heather moorlands in the shade. Exmoor’s exceptional oakwoods are at their
atmospheric best in the golden autumn months. Winter, too, can be a magical time – especially
at the ‘Dulverton by Starlight’ and ‘Dunster by Candlelight’celebrations in
December and Porlock’s Late Night Christmas Shopping.
The Exmoor area is a wonderful place in summer, and hugely popular at that time of the year. But, as
its real enthusiasts can tell you, it is actually a moor for all seasons, a place where there is
always something fascinating on the go, whether at the opening of spring, through the crisp days of
autumn or in the depths of a sharp, invigorating winter. Come to Exmoor at these times of the year
and you will discover something really special, a place where it seems only natural to celebrate to
the hilt the particular magic of the seasons.
In springtime, with primroses in all the hedge banks and bluebells beginning to show under the
breaking leaves of the woods, the North Devon and Exmoor Walking and Cycling Festival opens up both
coast and countryside to anyone with energy and a love of the outdoors. Easter brings treasure hunts at
Dunster Castle and around the Wellington Monument, with chocolate eggs for prizes, while in May the
twin pleasures of local food and music are celebrated around the eastern hills, with the Exmoor Folk
Festival at Brendon village and the Quantock Food Festival.
After the end of the high holiday season, do the moor and its people close down and go to sleep till the
following summer? Not likely. When the heather is purple and the trees are beginning to turn red and gold,
that’s when the fun begins!
Autumn is the busiest time for festivals and jolifications on Exmoor. Lovers of the Great Outdoors can join
one of the walks in the coast woods, guided by a knowledgeable National Trust ranger, or wander the eastern
margins of the region during the Quantock Fringes Walking Festival. Foodies are spoiled for choice between
October’s Exmoor Food Festival and Porlock Food Fayre, while apples – the West Country’s
fruit of choice – are celebrated in all their glory, from chutney to cider, at Apple Days held at such
delightful locations as Cleeve Abbey near Watchet. Add the colourful displays of Dulverton Carnival, spooky
Halloween business at Dunster Castle, the stirring music always on offer at the Two Moors Festival –
it’s easy to see why autumn is many people’s favourite season on Exmoor.
||As for winter: Exmoor and its neighbouring regions spring some wonderful surprises for visitors in
this uncrowded, away-from-it-all season of the year.
Bridgwater Fireworks and Carnival kick things off in early November with a riotous night-time blast of
music, lights and fantastical floats – you have to see it to believe it! And if you miss the fun in
Bridgwater, you can catch up with it in North Petherton a day or so later.
Exmoor is a place where it seems only natural to celebrate the particular magic of the seasons.There’s
a Christmas Fair at the National Trust’s Arlington Court to the west of the moor, and in the south
a big Exmoor Producers Christmas Fair at Dulverton where you can buy the ‘best of the west’
for your festive table. Torchlight walks through the woods at Dulverton and Dunster offer a magical
midwinter experience, while the medieval village of Dunster ‘comes alive’ with soft light during
the annual ‘Dunster By Candlelight’ festival, a memorably beautiful experience. The themed
Watchet Christmas late night event along with Porlock’s Late Night Shopping Special round off the
year in true Exmoor style.
No winter in Exmoor, however harsh and long, would be properly ‘put to bed’ without a February
walk down Snowdrop Valley. Near Wheddon Cross, under the mighty shadow of Dunkery Beacon, you can see the
countless tiny white snowdrops on their mossy banks – welcome signs that spring is once more just
around the corner.