Among the array of wildlife and diverse habitats of Exmoor National Park are the semi-feral ponies that roam its moorland, the red deer in its woodland, as well as many bats, birds and butterflies.
Covering a total of 267 square miles, the national park contains a variety of unique landscapes that include high cliffs that plunge into the Bristol Channel, moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland, much of which has been shaped by man and nature over the millennia. The hilltops and upland are covered by moors of grass and heather and by peat-bogs, cut through by steep-sided, wooded valleys. The moorland areas are of importance due to the wildlife they support – which includes Dartford warblers, whinchats, stonechats, and heath fritillary butterflies.
The wooded valleys contain mainly ancient, semi-natural oak woods that support birdlife such as pied flycatcher and redstart, which are both in sharp decline elsewhere. The cool, shady and damp woods with their clear-running streams offer ideal conditions for lichens, ferns and mosses to flourish.
Wild red deer are found right across the area and are relatively easy to see in the wild, and Exmoor is home to all native British bat species. Exmoor’s enclosed farmland has been managed traditionally for generations with cattle and sheep, however some of the rarest species – such as waxcap fungi are – found on the unimproved grassy slopes. Ancient trees, unique whitebeams, orchards and beautiful old parkland are additional components of this with rich and diverse landscape.
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