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Pressures and Landuse Conflict in a Exmoor National Park.

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Introduction

PRESSURES AND LANDUSE CONFLICT IN A BRITISH NATIONAL PARK. EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK. THE PHYSICAL ENVIROMENT. Exmoor is situated on sedimentary rocks from the middle and lower Devonian period which was 410 - 360 million years ago. The lower Devonian period produced rocks such as sandstones and siltstones these are found along the coast to the east of Ilfracombe and stretch approximately 10 km inland. The middle Devonian rocks such as slates and limestones lie beneath the rest of Exmoor. These rocks were produced when mud or sand were deposited layer onto layer in the shallow waters of rivers, lakes or the sea. Over time these layers hardened into rocks and eventually were crushed between two crustal plates that were moving from the North and South. ...read more.

Middle

In the east of the park are the Brendon Hills, to the north these hills are wooded but in the south they are cultivated producing enclosed fields surrounded by beach hedges. This landscape reaches all across the south western slopes of the moor and supports some dairy farming whilst the rest of the farming on the moor is beef cattle and sheep. IMPACTS OF TOURISM AND RECREATION. The impact of tourism and recreation on Exmoor hasn't been as great as it has been on other National Parks due to its location. Exmoor isn't close to large towns or dense populations and as a result doesn't attract the high numbers of visitors that other parks attract but still has problems due to over use. ...read more.

Conclusion

The footpaths begin to suffer from erosion as the high number of visitors pass over them especially as it's a wet time of year. Riding is also a popular recreational activity on the moor especially at Dunkery Beacon which is the highest point on the moor. A horse's hoof has 19 times the impact of a walker's foot and so 1 horse has the same impact as 38 walkers. The paths at Dunkery Beacon can be used by as many as 100 horses per day which is the equivalent of 3800 walkers going over the paths every day. This type of erosion over a period of 5 years can change a 50cm path or sheep track into a 500cm wide gullied erosion scar. ...read more.

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