At Exmoor Associates, our land is managed with an emphasis on conservation and the environment. Land we own, both along and around the railway formations, provides an important habitat for a wide variety of wild and plant life. Our river banks provide hunting ground for otters, and bats are often seen circling the trees. From insects and small mammals through to a wide variety of wild flowers in the lower meadows, we’re keen to see the continued care and protection of their environment.

Silver-wash Fritillary Butterfly
Argynnis paphia, or the “Silver-wash Fritillary” Butterfly, seen in July beside the trackbed at Collard Bridge.

Our management approach enhances biodiversity on our land and aims to optimise the potential for wildlife wherever practical. This has included practices such as hedge laying, coppicing and dead hedging, creation of log piles, maintenance of Devon banks and investment in the management of dominant plant growth such as Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. We aim to minimise the use of methods such as burning and offsite disposal, and to only use these where other methods are not possible or deemed inappropriate. We have also worked in partnership with others locally to reduce fly tipping, and we have removed litter from river banks, hedges and fields.

Northleigh Trackbed
The banks beside the trackbed at Northleigh in August.

Conservation also extend beyond the natural habitats on our land – we also care for the historic railway infrastructure, and conserve (or in some cases restore) this to prevent any further deterioration. Our conservation and land management work is mainly carried out on site by volunteers, while areas of woodland are regularly inspected and carefully maintained by local tree specialists. If you would be interested in occasionally spending time in the tranquility of the Yeo valley, working with us to further these aims, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’re just visiting, do take time to stop by at Snapper Halt in the Yeo valley. Make sure you jot a note in our book (in the shelter), if you spot any interesting wildlife, and take a read of what others have seen!