In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that LOs consider:
– The relevant guidance from Exmoor National Park around visiting the park
– The policies and processes of your own LO around trips and visits.
We would also like to highlight some of the temporary programme changes the DofE have introduced which include the option to run expeditions in your local area and allow pupils to return home overnight.
There were a number of issues last season of littering and gates being left open which allowed livestock to escape and caused significant problems. Several farmers and landowners have expressed their frustrations and we would appreciate your support on your forthcoming visit to Exmoor to avoid further complaints.
To try and reduce problems and frustrated landowners and farmers, please note the following:
– Pass through gates as a team (most issues happen when groups are strung out and the last person doesn’t know whether to close the gate or leave it open). The advice from Exmoor National Park is when moving from farmland to moorland, always close the gate and in general, unless a gate is securely tied open, please close it.
– Ensure gates are securely closed rather simply being left to swing shut; they don’t always catch and can swing open.
– Dispose of litter in the correct manner; if rubbish bins are full find an alternative bin to dispose of rubbish rather than leaving rubbish next to the bin.
The DofE benefits from goodwill within the Exmoor area and we want this to continue.
Please ensure that participants representing your organisation and the DofE do strictly adhere to the Countryside Code. Issues where DofE groups are identified to be leaving gates open or leaving litter, will be followed up and may result in qualifying expedition being reviewed.
The Exmoor Expedition Network Area includes non-wild country and some areas of open access land (considered suitable for Bronze and Silver levels of the Award). After consultation with the Exmoor National Park the DofE expedition area boundary has been redefined.
Like all expedition areas, Exmoor contains hazards and points to be aware of when walking in the area. The list below has been collated with help of the Exmoor National Park and DofE Assessors with local knowledge of the area:
- Great Bradley stepping stones are not passable if the water level is high (there is a bridge upstream at Withypool).
- The coastal path near Porlock now floods – groups need to ensure they follow the diversion signs to the south of the flooded marsh.
- Beware of the sheer drop next to the coastal paths which is unguarded.
- Near Lynton, the Sillery Sands footpath is no longer safe as the ladder has been washed away preventing easy access to the beach.
- Everywhere on Exmoor is privately owned, other than the open access areas, therefore groups need to stick to marked footpaths.
- Groups need to ensure that when using a car park which isn’t public (i.e. pub car park) they should seek permission from the owner.
- Groups and Leaders should not block gateways, a common issue in the Brendon Valley between Robbers Bridge and Hillsford Bridge
- If in open country, groups should bear in mind that unexploded shells and mineshafts are potential hazards.
- Due to hazards mainly appearing as a result of adverse weather conditions it is also worth checking the Exmoor National Park website for up to date information on landslides, high winds and other general information.