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Exmoor 'Pony Whisperer' calls for action to protect breed

Dawn Westcott amongst her Exmoor Pony herd. Credit: Nick Westcott

A woman known as the Exmoor Pony whisperer is calling for more action to protect what is an endangered breed.

Dawn Westcott says anyone can learn the techniques she has developed to build a bond with these wild animals.

She told our reporter Bob Cruwys something of her methods.

Dawn runs The Moorland Exmoor Foal Project with her husband Nick and believes the techniques she's developed can help protect this endangered Exmoor icon.

Dawn Westcott is known as the Exmoor Pony whisperer. Credit: Nick Westcott


Rare butterfly coming back to the West

The Heath Fritillary is one of the rarest butterflies in the country. Credit: Iain Leach

One of the UK's rarest butterflies is making a comeback thanks to a new site in Exmoor National Park.

The Heath Fritillary has multiplied in numbers, thanks to work by the Park Authority to create suitable coppice clearings in nearby areas

Exmoor explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes halfway through gruelling Sahara desert race

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is on day three of a six-day race through the Sahara Desert.

It's the formidable Marathon des Sables - a 156-mile run across the desert in 50 degree heat.

The 71 year old explorer from Exmoor wants to become the oldest Brit to complete the run.

He's raising £2.5 million for Marie Curie. The charity provides support for people living with a terminal illness.


Competition launched to design new flag for Exmoor

Exmoor will get its first ever flag designed by a member of the public Credit: ITV News West Country

A competition is being launched to to create a new flag for Exmoor. People are being encouraged to submit their designs for a flag to represent the national park.

The winning design will be chosen by a public vote. It'll mark the sixtieth anniversary of the foundation of Exmoor National Park.

Olympians head for Exmoor event

Zara Phillips has entered for Treborough Hill Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Olympians Mary King and Zara Phillips are among the early entries for Treborough Hill’s British Eventing competition on Exmoor from 21st-22nd June.

They have both entered the BE100 class at Treborough Hill near Watchet.

Mary King has entered on Hoodunit and King Dan, while Zara Phillips has pinned her hopes on Rum Expectations.

Treborough Hill’s cross country course is designed by London 2012 Olympic course builder, Adrian Ditcham.

Event Organiser, Sarah Weatherlake, says: “Treborough Hill is only in its third year of running BE competitions. To have riders of Mary and Zara’s calibre attend is just fantastic, and will hopefully encourage others to come and compete too!

Mary King will have two horses at Treborough Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"With a new Novice track, 2014 is a very exciting year for Treborough Hill.”

It is still possible for competitors to enter this event, and access to Treborough Hill is free to spectators.

Extension to route across Exmoor officially opens

An extension to the Coleridge Way across Exmoor will be officially opened later today.

The route celebrates the work of Westcountry poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who drew inspiration from the diverse landscape, breathtaking views and rugged terrain. It's now 51 miles long and signposted with a quill logo.

Exmoor Ranger Adam Vasey tells us more:

Exmoor gets £100k from government for storm repairs

Tarr Steps is a prehistoric clapper bridge across the River Barle in the Exmoor National Park. Credit: Suzy Harrison/Press Association Images

Exmoor National Park has received almost £100 thousand for repairs.

The money from Defra will go towards restoring footpaths, bridleways and bridges damaged during the wettest winter on record.

The announcement was made by Environment minister Lord de Mauley, who said the parks are the "jewels in the crown" of the country's environment.

The famous Tarr Steps in Exmoor is just one of the attractions to benefit.

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