RSP Member - Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park was designated in 1954 , in recognition of its significance and value at a national level and is one of a family of 15 National Parks in the UK. The National Park designation reflected its ‘spectacular coastline, fine heather, bracken and grass moorland, beautiful valleys, antiquities in great profusion….notable wildlife…and its first rate country for motoring and for walking and riding’ (1947 Hobhouse Report). Exmoor was designated as Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, is home to the highest cliffs in the country and home to the Exmoor ponies (one of the oldest horse breeds in the country) and the largest hers of Red deer in England. It is a living landscape with a population of some 10,000 people and welcomes over 2m visitors each year.

Exmoor National Park Authority has the following two statutory purposes:

  • To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area
  • To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities by the public

The National Park Authority plays a lead role in co-ordinating action to achieve these purposes , and while doing so, must  seek to foster the social and economic well-being of the National Parks’ communities.

The Authority is the Planning Authority for the National Park and has delegated powers from the Highways Authority’s to manage the extensive Rights of Way network across the moor.  Other services include Rangers, suitable tourism and rural economy work, education, interpretation, outreach and natural and historic environment conservation. The Authority works with, and provides support and advice to  land managers, users, businesses and communities, to look after and engage people with the special qualities of the area.

The 2018 – 2023 Partnership Plan for Exmoor focuses on 3 key ambitions around People, Place, and Prosperity:

  • Exmoor for all –Where everyone feels welcome
  • Inspiring landscapes – Diverse and beautiful, rich in wildlife and history
  • Working landscapes – Thriving communities and a vibrant rural economy.


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