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News and events from Somerset and Exmoor

May 17, 2018 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

SWAN-CAM! The Bishop’s Palace & Gardensin Wells, has announced that Wynn, the female mute swan who recently lost her long-term mate Bryn, has hatched a clutch of cygnets. It is thought there are now five cygnets, with a further egg still to hatch. Swan fans have been glued to ‘Swan Cam’, the Palace’s 24-hour, infra-red camera which is trained on the nest, in the hope of being amongst the first to see the new cygnets. Viewers from around the globe have been sending their good wishes to the Palace and to Wynn, who was widowed back in mid-April when her partner Bryn passed away due to old age. Wynn had already laid six eggs and was sitting on the nest by this stage. The first two cygnets will be named Meghan and Harry whilst the annual cygnet naming competition to name the rest of the cygnets, will be held as usual by the Palace over the next few weeks. Entries are invited by email, social media or in person at the Palace Shop and the deadline is Thursday 24th May at 12pm. Swan Cam can be viewed on the Palace’s website,

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall has been awarded the prestigious Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge, reserved for educational establishments providing the highest quality learning opportunities in conjunction with the National Curriculum, for its hands on and interactive education programme. Noah’s Ark opened its doors in 1999 as a small petting zoo and now includes big zoo animals such as African elephants, lions, tigers and giraffes. For more information, see

Dates for the diary:

Exmoor Coast & Moor Outdoor May Festival
Walks, workshops, open gardens, history tours and family activities – the Exmoor Coast and Moor Outdoor May Festival has something for everyone. Held at numerous locations throughout the month, features include a Family Butterfly Stroll at Heddon Valley, the wacky Watchet Wheelbarrow Race (with fancy dress!) and a charity Duck Race at Porlock, there’s plenty for everyone to do and enjoy. Further details here:

Wildlife Week – 26th May – 3rd June 2018, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Cheddar Gorge and Caves, The Cliffs, Cheddar, BS27 3QF
Cheddar Gorge wants you to go wild for wildlife this May half term! They’re ready to put the spotlight on all the wonderful plants and animals that we have in the UK and all the simple things you can do to help support British wildlife. Vistors can say ‘hey’ to the birds of prey from North Somerset Birds of Prey Centre and Secret World Wildlife Rescue. Marvel at the magnificence of a live bee hive from Burnham District Bee Keeping Society. Discuss hedgehogs with Hedgehog Rescue or the greater and lesser horseshoe bats that live within our caves with a specialist – who knows, you may even spot one of them on our Bat Walk at Twilight each Sunday! Go on a Ramble with a Ranger from The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team, walk with the resident conservationist and learn about Wild Foods and foraging safely with accomplished chef and expert, Claudio Bincoletto. For more information, click here:

B&B of the week

The Old Rectory Coach House, Sampford Brett, Williton, Somerset, TA4 4LA
This property comprises two cosy, warm and comfortable apartments in a beautifully restored coach house within the spacious grounds of the Old Rectory. There are superb walks and bike rides nearby and a large garden and swimming pool. Sampford Brett is a quintessential English village with a stream meandering besides the road, an excellent base for exploring Exmoor and the Quantock Hills and two miles from the coast. Both properties sleep four. Pets are welcome.

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