The Exmoor Society has had some extraordinary successes since it was founded in 1958. It has worked to conserve the National Park and produced some of the seminal research and publications that form the evidence base for the continuing protection of Exmoor. We also work to develop livelihoods in the Park, helping to keep it vibrant and alive. To this end in 2012, we established the prestigious Pinnacle Award for young entrepreneurs with a new business idea and rewarding innovative ways of working in the National Park.
Here are some of our major achievements:
1958: Following the campaign against the plan to afforest a large part of the moor, The Exmoor Society was established at a meeting at Simonsbath House. Major John Colman-Cooke became the first chairman.
1960: The battle to stop 50,000 acres of Exmoor being planted with conifers is won. As the government offers grants to plough up moorland, the Society begins it series of publications with its research into moorland loss.
1962: The Lyn and Exmoor Museum opens to celebrate the life and past of Exmoor.
1967: The Society raises the fund for the National Trust to purchase Heddon’s Mouth and Woody Bay and runs a successful campaign against a proposed reservoir between Lanacre and Cow Castle.
1975: The Society’s work on moorland loss is accepted as government policy. Land critical to the National Park status is to be mapped and ‘conserved for all time’.
1980s: Agreements between governments and farmers to integrate farming, forestry and conservations start to be monitored and the Society becomes involved in planning decisions with the National Park.
1995: The Society successfully opposes the plans for a timeshare complex and gold course at Whitechapel Moor.
1996: The Exmoor Photographic Archive is set up to conserve the pictorial record of Exmoor’s past.
2004: The publication of the Society’s report Moorlands at a Crossroads puts the conservation of Exmoor’s moorlands on the national agenda.
2007: The play Tracks and Traces is performed in over forty schools and introduces 4,000 children to Exmoor.
2009: The development of wind farms on the edges of national parks is successfully opposed.
2012: The Pinnacle Youth Award for young entrepreneurs is set up by the Society to encourage the development of new local businesses.
2014: The Society moves to its new headquarters in the High Street in Dulverton and engages an archivist to organise and catalogue the archive of the history of Exmoor National Park.
2016: A second archive project is launched and the Society commissions a moorland update report Exmoor’s Moorland – where next? The Malcolm MacEwen Trust becomes the Malcolm MacEwen Conservation Research Fund under the ‘umbrella’ of The Exmoor Society.
2018: The Society celebrates its 60th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year, and commissions a ground-breaking report Towards a Register of Exmoor’s Natural Capital.