This once-enjoyable route across the roof of Exmoor has become so badly damaged it is virtually impassable, leaving a nearby nature site vulnerable – but we know what needs to be done to fix it.
Remote and wild
The Chains is the name given to the north western plateau of Exmoor, an area that lies above 1,500 feet. A remote upland bridleway route runs the length of the Chains from Exe Head in the east to Wood Barrow in the west, boasting stunning panoramic views – it is about as remote and wild as you can get on Exmoor. But walkers and riders spend more time looking at where to put their feet and hooves – trying to avoid sinking into a boggy quagmire!
At times, Exmoor National Park Authority have actually had to stop horse riders from using the path, because there was a serious danger of becoming stuck in the thick mud. This has a knock-on effect too – walkers and riders have diverted away from the path into a nearby SSSI which has become eroded too as a result.
WATCH: ‘Mend Exmoor’ on BMCTV
A successful experiment
There’s a positive side – it’s clear exactly what needs to be done to help people make the most of this route. Last year, some experimental soil inversion work was carried out by the National Park Authority, to see if the bridleway could be repaired using the natural materials on site. This technique would significantly improve the health of the pathway, without the need for imported materials. The experimental section worked so well that it was barely visible just a few months later, so we know there’s a method that works really well for this environment.
We need your help to allow us to continue this important repair work along a two kilometre section of the Chains – we have a specialist, local contractor but we need him there for weeks to make a real difference. Can you help us fund this very effective natural repair work?
Donate today and protect The Chains for the future.
Donate here to help us raise £20,000 for the Chains. You can make a donation of any size - choose 'Donate what you want' - or select one of the other amounts. If you want to donate directly to the National Appeal, you can do so here.
All online donations are currently via PayPal - if you would prefer not to use this method or would like to make a large donation (£500~), please contact the team directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. All money raised goes via the BMC's charity, the Access and Conservation Trust.