Exmoor was once known as a forest without trees – it was owned by The Crown, and was famous for being rather wild, open moors, devoid of trees! Events that connect with Exmoor’s Treeless Forest explore what it was, and look at the changes to the landscape over centuries.
During quite recent history it was sold off, and became the focus of a Victorian entrepreneur’s great ambitions. The transformation of the tiny village of Simonsbath and attempt to tame the moors of the former forest offers a fascinating history. Volunteers are helping us to take care of Simonsbath Sawmill, research local archives and to assist in the interpretation of royal forest heritage.
The Moorland Heritage Officer, working closely with the Moorland Education Officer, will develop a programme of activities to raise awareness and understanding of the former Royal Forest and to conserve its heritage features. Much of the moorland of the former Royal Forest is now in public ownership and, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Simonsbath sawmill - part of a complex of estate buildings erected by the estate that purchased the Royal Forest from the Crown in 1818 - has been restored and will provide a base for activity. A budget of £11,750 will be available to support this work.