Sunday, 10 May 2015

Exmoor yields its wonders - Day 2 Horner Wood NNR

LAST weekend we visited the truly magical Exmoor National Park, staying in the hamlet of Rockford, with the constant sound of the river rushing past the front door. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was the wonderful Horner Wood, which forms part of a National Nature Reserve.

Ordnance survey map of walk in Horner Exmoor

On our second full day we took in this fabulous NNR, which is in fact a mixture of woodland and open heathland.  There was a fair amount of up and down walking, but it felt easier to be on foot compared to a few groups who had taken to their bikes!

There was interesting sights and views at every turn.  I was keen to see and capture a redstart, but wow was it tricky.  The little blighters sing from way up in the trees and in the closing canopy were quite hard to find, let alone photograph.  A couple of males had a spat while I was tracking them down, which helped.

In some areas, Exmoor ponies are free to roam - here a mother and foal took a moment to inspect us:

This large iridescent beetle (one of a number) crossed our path - I think that it is a violet oil beetle (maybe a female loaded with eggs).

Also two dor beetles (one in hot pursuit of the other - the male behind) were in the same woodland opening.

Due to the overnight rain, and the only partially sunny conditions, the ground flora was damp and "withdrawn" - the wood sorrel and lesser celandines drooped, only the violets seem to be perky!:

From the heathland area, looking north out to sea, the views were spectacular - a point to point race can be seen in the first image:

Looking back over the wooded valley:

An unusually big bracket fungus in the woodland

Driving back to our accommodation the weather broke - it was both violent and spectacular.  We pulled over and I took a few shots between the bursts driving rain and strong winds.

And one more image which I couldn't resist of this chap at Watersmeet - everything, and I mean everything, was interesting to him...


  1. I haven't been down that way for many years, but still rate Exmoor as the prettiest of all our National Parks. Your photos capture much of that beauty.

  2. Thanks for your kind comments as ever. yes it was stunning and the inn was good too!

  3. Beautiful photos! I love that shot of the Exmoor Ponies, they're so sweet. I haven't been back to Exmoor for so long, it's a lovely part of the country. Lovely post - Tasha


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