Free Things to do in & around Exmoor
during the Summer Holidays
Get Close to an Exmoor Pony
Meet Exmoor’s most famous wildlife inhabitants at the Exmoor Pony Centre near Dulverton which runs Free Open Days every Thursday in August 12 – 3pm. These events are held in all weathers and under cover if necessary. Booking is not required and entrance to the Centre is free. There are small charges for extra individual activities. Look out too for the Exmoor Pony Festival (5 – 20th August) with lots of extra pony-themed events happening across the moors.
From Blue Anchor to Kilve and Watchet, St Audries Bay to Quantoxhead, keen eyes and patient fingers regularly discover reptile remains, ammonites, belemnites and unusual shells along this Jurassic and Triassic coast. Try to visit on a falling tide and, even better after a storm, where powerful waves stir up the sand and gravel and new fossil material is freshly uncovered. There’s always somewhere nearby to have a well-deserved ice-cream afterwards too.
Tell a Story - Digital Story Walk Trails
Place the location in your device (mobile phone, iPad), journey to the start, then begin to read out loud the unfolding story to friends and family. The intriguing tales will reveal each new location after every chapter, eventually finishing with a secret hidden journal for you to sign and then replace. There are beautiful Story Walk trails all over Exmoor including in Dunster, Dulverton, Minehead, Holford, Porlock Weir, Heddon and Nutcombe Bottom.
Tick the List
Everyone loves ticking off things on a ‘to do’ list and it’s much more fun when that list is jam packed full of great ideas. Download the free booklet ‘101 Things to do this Summer’ from South West Lakes Trust and see how many you can complete. From the simple ‘Run up and roll down a big hill’ to the the more adventurous ‘Build a den’, there’s something for everyone to achieve. ‘Skip along a nature trail’ ‘Make a daisy chain’ and ‘Have an outdoor picnic’ are three of our favourites.
Evening Deer Search
On a still August evening, lace up your walking boots, pack your binoculars and get ready to do a little sleuthing. Join an Exmoor National Park Ranger for an evening deer search to try and locate these wonderful, if elusive, animals. Meet at Ashcombe Car Park in Simonsbath a 6:30pm and be prepared for around a 2hour/3 mile walk. 8, 15, 22, 25 August. More info from Exmoor National Park.
Listen to the Band
Every summer Ilfracombe presents a series of free Sunday afternoon performances 2-4pm on The Bandstand in Runnymede Gardens on The Seafront. There is some seating although some prefer to sit on the grass. Bands range from Jazz to brass and youth bands including Ilfracombe's own District Youth Band - Blazing Sounds, who also play on the bandstand on Thursday evenings during the school summer holidays.
Tour a working Sawmill
Simonsbath Sawmill is an historic, water-powered sawmill and estate workshops right beside the river. It is maintained in working condition and is open to the public on at least the third Monday of every month, from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, when volunteers will be there to show people around, so this summer the dates are 17 July and 21 August. Tours are free
Join in the Festival Fun
Come and join in two fun-filled days on 12 – 13 August at Minehead Harbour Fest. Based on the water and around Minehead Harbour, there will be street entertainment; kayak racing; raft racing; live bands; art, craft & charity stalls; children's entertainment (Saturday); hog roast; local food. Join Channel Adventure: for free taster sessions including Kayaking, Paddleboarding and much more (Minimum age 8 years).
See England’s Tallest Tree
Standing 61.3m high the splendid Douglas Fir, England’s tallest tree, can be found on the Tall Trees Trail on The Dunster Estate. The estate, owned and managed by the crown is just over a mile from Dunster village and offers a pretty network of waymarked trails for walking and cycling and outdoor picnics. The Tall Trees Trail is shady, smooth and wide and suitable for buggies and wheelchairs too.
Inspired by the National Trust’s '50 Things to do before you are 11 ¾ ‘campaign, National Trust Rangers have lined up some fun outdoor activities that will encourage children to get out and about and enjoying nature in the Heddon Valley in North Devon. No need to book – just turn up to a Heddon Valley Fun Day on either 2nd or 16th August 11am – 3pm More information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/heddon-valley
For more places to stay and enjoy Exmoor for longer see Accommodation here