By Lucy Green, Exmoor Character Cottages
During the summer of 2019, photographer Julia Amies-Green and I started work on a project we’d long talked of, a book of Exmoor walks. Julia has an enviable library of images that bring this beautiful national park to life as no other map or guide can. She’s been walking Exmoor, photographing its landscape and wildlife for two decades. A book seemed the perfect way to share her images.
As you’ll see from the resulting Little Book of Walks, Julia has a unique way of capturing Exmoor’s essence in her photographs. You can feel the spongy grass beneath your feet, imagine the cool mist on your skin, taste snowflakes on your tongue, and let your imagination float away to the gurgling of streams and waterfalls – just by looking at her work. Having first collaborated in 2018, I wanted to share as many of her wonderful images with other people as possible. These are photographs to be savoured and shared, and I think the finished book of 12 self-guided tours achieves that beautifully.
The initial intention was to self-publish it and give to my guests at my four self-catering cottages in Minehead and Dunster. During the Autumn and Winter of 2019, my friend Josh and I walked the intended routes most weekends, checking the directions, sussing out logistics and sampling local tea rooms and pubs – purely for research purposes of course! If I already thought I loved Exmoor, I fell totally under its spell during this time. During the research phase I uncovered information on ancient and modern history, geography, geology and nature, and the day trips revealed windswept coastline, lush fields, picturesque villages and mossy woods. For me, this book really is a love story.
The walks are organised as one per month, printed as a leaflet in our folder so walkers can take one or two with them on day trips. We have given you the distance, level of difficulty and details on parking, toilets, dog friendliness and accessibility. Unlike some of the maps we relied on, they’re laminated to protect them from the Exmoor weather – something we encountered on the Horner Woods walk where we got lashed by torrential rain and spattered in mud. Drying off in front of a roaring fire at the nearby tearoom is a cherished memory.
So, here are our chosen dozen. We hope you’ll get to experience one or two of them, and that some of the magic of Exmoor, encapsulated in Julia’s wonderful photographs, will conjure up happy, treasured memories for you too.
January – Dunkery Beacon – the highest point on Exmoor
February – A spring spectacle in Snowdrop Valley
March – Romance and drama in Lorna Doone Country
April – The awe-inspiring Valley of Rocks
May – A sub-tropical experience in Dunster Castle’s gardens
June – Walking in the footsteps of poets in Porlock Weir
July – Panoramic views of Somerset, Devon and Wales from the South West Coast Path
August – Coastal panoramas at Bossington
September – Picture perfect thatched cottages in Selworthy Green
October – Ancient oaks and lime green lichen in Horner Woods
November – 4000-year old ancient clapper bridge at Tarr Steps
December – Christmas spirit in the medieval village of Dunster
Follow us on Facebook to see Julia’s photographs from the Little Book of Walks: Exmoor Character Cottages