Mosaic Champions lead pack ponies on Exmoor's annual Perambulation route

Joint release with Exmoor National Park Authority

Young Champions from the Campaign for National Parks’ Exmoor Mosaic team joined the traditional annual Exmoor Perambulation at the weekend, but with a twist – Exmoor ponies carried their supplies.

The eight Mosaic Champions joined forces with former Mosaic Exmoor project officer Barney Simmons, new project officer Robin Winkley and National Park Authority learning and outreach officer Dave Gurnett to lead two ponies on a two-day 14 mile trek.

The youngsters started at Sherdon Drive, Landacre Bridge, near Withypool on Friday (19th) and crossed the river Barle. They then travelled to Pickedstone Lanes to the top of the Exe Cleave and on to Westermill for the first night camp.

On Saturday (20th) – Perambulation day – they followed the route up to Sparcombe Water to Lark Barrow Corner and Alderman’s Barrow before going to Ley Hill, Halse Combe and Horner.

The Exmoor Perambulation is a traditional 31 mile long-distance circular walk dating back over 725 years. Scores of people from around the country come together to trade the boundary of the old Royal Forest of Exmoor and pas through some unique areas of Exmoor National Park not normally accessible to the public.

The Perambulation was decreed by Plantagenet King Edward I in 1279 when he ordered the Sheriff of Somerset to observe the perambulations of the forest of Somerset.

Lucy McQuillan, Campaign for National Parks Mosaic project manager, said the Mosaic Champions had learnt a lot from the two day pony trek: “They have been working closely with the Exmoor Pony Centre and National Park staff on planning and logistics of the trek – making sure they have a place to camp, sufficient food and know how much the ponies can carry!”

Robin Winkley, Exmoor Mosaic Youth project officer, added: “This was a fantastic development opportunity for eight of our Mosaic Champions, who can learn or build on their navigation skills as the two day journey included two river crossings and lots of hills. It has also given them a really good experience of working with animals.” 

Commenting on the venture, Dave Gurnett said: “Everyone really enjoyed the experience and probably now better understand something of the physical challenge involved in covering large areas of moorland with pack animals. By the second day the group had gelled and gave an image of what it might have been like when packhorse was the main means of carrying goods.

“As expected everyone was shattered by four o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, but there was never any doubt that they would succeed and that’s what it’s all about.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors
The Mosaic project for young people (16-25 year olds) is run by the Campaign for National Parks in partnership with the YHA and the Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities.
The Campaign for National Parks is a national charity dedicated to campaigning to protect and promote all the National Parks of England and Wales. It is supported by the Big Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities programme.

Further information about our work can be obtained from Tony McDougal, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager – tonym@cnp.org.uk