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The Exmoor Research Fund

The Exmoor Society assists research in any field that may contribute to the conservation and enhancement of the special qualities of Exmoor National Park. Our aim is to prioritise forward looking work which must align with the Exmoor Society’s purposes.

Exmoor National Park is a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland, shaped by people and nature over thousands of years.??It supports a great diversity of wildlife including herds of wild red deer, rich lichen communities, rare butterflies, bats, and other species uncommon in southern Britain. Salmon return to its rivers and the same spawning grounds from which they hatched. The landscape tells the story of how people have lived in, exploited and enjoyed Exmoor over the last 8000 years. Burial mounds on high ridges, unique and ancient patterns of standing stones, cliff top Roman forts, preserved medieval villages and Victorian industrial engineering are all there to be investigated. Farming is a major economic activity, adapting to new environmental policy objectives in the light of climate change. Similarly, tourism and recreation as people increasingly attend to the importance of maintaining their mental and physical health.

Your research will be conducted on Exmoor, or more broadly if you can show that your work is relevant to Exmoor. The Society is open to support research in any field of study. The subject could be novel or may expand on existing knowledge. Having an academic qualification is not a prerequisite, only your enthusiasm and, crucially, evidence of competence to undertake your task to completion. The Society will also suggest research topics which it currently considers to be of particular importance.

Funding will be made exclusively to individuals, not institutions, to meet relatively minor personal expenditures, including where the contractual terms of main grant income or other source of finance for the research preclude it. For example: accommodation and subsistence costs of field trips for data collection; payment of laboratory fees; costs of conference attendance to present findings; publication costs; ‘seed corn’ for working up a full grant application.

Other support is available from the Exmoor Society. The Society maintains its own Resource Centre and archive at its Dulverton offices, which is open for public use at designated times. Available for consultation and mentoring, its Trustees and membership embodies a wide range of expertise including ecology, conservation, farming, history and archaeology, environmental management and agricultural economics. There are active links with Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA), Exmoor Hill Farming Network, National Trust among others. Both independently and as research co-sponsors, the Society has a track record of publication over many years, e.g. Moorlands at the Crossroads and Towards a Register of Exmoor’s Natural Capital. It hosts an annual Spring Conference in association with ENPA which is devoted to a topic of current importance. Opportunities are available to showcase research findings.