Wandering Around Exmoor

I’ve spent most of the last week in Dulverton, near the border of Devon and Somerset in western England. As I mentioned in the last post I’ve been ill, and just now coming out of it, so I haven’t been able to wander as I would have liked. It’s also been pretty cold and snowy, which I have been assured is absolutely peculiar for this time of year. Luckily, the frost has started to thaw, and everything is still ridiculously green beneath all the snow.

Not my photo, sadly. Still, Exmoor ponies!!

One of the absolute necessities of the trip was to see an Exmoor pony. They’re a herd of semi-domesticated and vaguely prehistoric-looking shaggy ponies that live up on the moors. We managed to track a few down, nibbling on the greenery underneath the snow.

The moors themselves are pretty fascinating–they’re a high plain with poor soils, so there isn’t much up there besides heather and a few roads. I’d love to come back over the summer to wander around and find a few of the hillforts and other ruins around.

We came down out of the moors to the north coast to check out Linton and Linmouth, Porlock, Minehead, and Dunster. Dunster is an adorable little medieval town that has a nice, newish castle and a tower-folly on the Bristol channel. People were out and about even though it was a bank holiday, and some of the shops were actually open. We refrained from going into any pubs though–the day before we had a trial run at a local pub and I had an Exmoor Beast, a fairly terrible high-alcohol holiday ale and I just wasn’t up for another drink yet. Still, Dunster was nice, if a bit twee. There’s a cute dovecote, a water wheel that still grinds flower and a church with a 500-year-old rood that survived the reformation. And a pet cemetery!

The fog was thick up on the moor and in the valleys, but broke around the coast and I got a few rays of sunshine–not that you can tell from the photographs.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

One thought on “Wandering Around Exmoor”

  1. Hmm, I’ve met Exmoor Beast and found it more than drinkable—though sanity might suggest no more than one or two—so I wonder if you just got a bad pint. The moors are marvellously achronological; under the heather and scrub it doesn’t matter whether something is thirty years old or three thousand, it looks about the same…

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