Exmoor: The Making of an English Upland

Exmoor Front Cover
Edited by: 
Mary Siraut
First Published: 
2 March, 2009

Long admired by poets and artists, Exmoor calls to mind wild moors, rugged landscapes and, of course, Lorna Doone. Home to a wide variety of distinctive flora and fauna including adders, nightjars and the famous Exmoor pony, it is difficult to believe that the scenery we see today is the result of millennia of human intervention. Since prehistoric times, Exmoor has provided a home and a livelihood for a small but significant population, which has proved to be innovative and resilient in the face of isolation, poor soil and a tough climate.

Based on research in 11 Exmoor parishes straddling both Devon and Somerset, Exmoor: the Making of an English Upland looks at the history of landscape and community from prehistoric times to the present day. The book explores the patterns of settlement - how were Exmoor's farms and villages developed or abandoned over time? Who lived here and how did they survive? Hill farming and the wool and cloth industries are at the fore of the story, while the influence of national events such as the Civil War and the effects of 19th-century enclosure are also considered.

Including an in depth look at sources for the origins of Exmoor place names, population and migration, and deserted farmsteads, the book is illustrated with many new images and reconstruction drawings. Exmoor: the Making of an English Upland is a 'must read' for anyone interested in the area and a timely addition to the history of English uplands.

'This book is a fascinating exploration of the difficult, but ultimately beautiful, landscape I am proud to call home.'   Ranulph Fiennes