We like a bit of free grub here. The Exmoor Centre has an abundance of goodies to harvest.
Mushrooms are a favourite and are great for all sorts of campfire recipes, well worth booking yourself on one of The National Trusts Fungii Forays held at a few of their estates in the autumn months: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/heddon-valley/things-to-see-and-do/events/ Not far from the bunkhouse you’ll find huge puffball mushrooms amongst other tasty treats, please be very careful with identification though, most tasty mushrooms have an evil near identical brother that can make you proper poorly.
Within the centres grounds we have Rowan Berries to Harvest, raw they are not edible but cooked these make good Jams and are reputed to be excellent for digestion and the lungs.
Exmoor’s bridleways provide a rich hunting ground for blackberries, this year we are tackling some blackberry infused whisky as well as the usual mountain of blackberry and apple pies we have to wade through each autumn.
Here are a few pictures of the neighbours we have at The Exmoor Centre. Red deer are often passing the bunkhouse, they spend their time between the open moor to the south of us and the steep wooded valleys to … Continue reading →
We don’t do Technology at The Exmoor Centre. Phones don’t work, Game Consoles and MP3 players soon run out of charge, there is no internet connection. What we do have is far better, just look at the expressions…
Wild swimming and larking about in the splash-pool upstream of the centre is a favourite, you soon get used to the chilly water. Night swimming is even better for the brave, lying in the natural hydro-therapy spa that is the white water of hoaroak water and stagazing is an experience you’ll never forget.
The zipline isn’t a permanent feature of the site, but its very popular when it is brought out to play.
The winter is the best time to be at the centre, being in a steep sided valley high on the moor we get morning frosts for 7months of the year! We don’t let bad weather get in the way of the fun though, just stoke up the woodburner and get out and play. Drying out and warming up over toasted marshmallows around the fire is part of the experience.
There is hardly a better place in Europe to stargaze than at The Exmoor Centre, we are within the Exmoor Dark Skies reserve and on clear nights the night sky is staggering. The photo above was taken in early August 2012, using a slow shutter speed of several minutes star trails form around the Pole Star, the big beech tree is lit up purely from candlelight in the bunkhouse!
You simply won’t believe how busy the night sky is, satellites race overhead, lapping the world at a staggering rate. When we took the photo above we could often see four satellites at a time passing over. Even though we were a week or so earlier than the peak of the Perseid meteor shower we were seeing shooting stars regularly that night.
For more information on Exmoor’s Dark Sky Reserve status look here:
Outside the bunkhouse there is a brick built BBQ and eating area with picnic tables, this links through to the main campfire area.
At the back of the centre there is ample undercover drying space, sadly much used given Exmoor’s climate!
The main site area itself is fenced and provides a good level camping area and is ideal for games and team building activities. We have recently installed a gate giving easy access to the river as it is often used as a natural fridge or more often it seems for water-fights!
The outer site area provides additional wild camping areas and steep woodland that again can be used for team building activities, this outer area opens direct onto the moor giving access to one of the most remote and untouched valleys on Exmoor. We have recently added a temporary nature watching hide at the top of the site, this it is hoped will become a permanent feature when we have decided if its location is right.
The site is approximately a km from the nearest houses and has some of the darkest night skies in the world making stargazing an unforgettable experience for those more used to town life.
The bunkhouse has two bunkrooms of 6 and 8 bunks with an extra 2 camp beds in the living area. We have a filtered spring water supply and hot water via an instantaneous gas heater if required. A wood burning stove provides ample heat and has a built in oven. The kitchen also has a gas stove with 4 burner hob and oven. The wash area has two basins and two WC cubicles one with a shower. General Lighting and 12v power is provided by batteries charged by a solar panel. Additional 240v power is available via a diesel generator for extra lighting and other electrical needs if required.