Friday, 28 March 2014

Exmoor and Somerset are always open for business

There has been much media coverage of the very unfortunate flooding on the Somerset Levels, and you might be forgiven for thinking that the whole county was under water. This, of course, is not the case.

 Without wishing to make light of the very real problems and hardships faced by people who did get flooded out, the Levels form a small proportion of the county of Somerset, and only part of the Levels has suffered from floods (which is something to be thankful for). It has been heartwarming to see how local communities, and the farming community nationwide, pulled together to help.

The latest initiative is headed up by the Porlock Visitor Centre and FLAG (Flooding on the
At Porlock Visitor Centre. Photo by Maureen Harvey
Levels Action Group). Fifty or so tourism businesses on Exmoor – including us at Exmoor House - have got together to offer free two-night breaks (and other goodies such as visits to attractions) to some of the people directly affected by the floods. You can hear more on
Emma Britton’s BBC Somerset show of 26th March (5 more days from today to listen to it) and watch out for other media reports.

Meanwhile, the other 97% of Somerset remained open for business throughout all the extreme weather. With motorways and other main road networks unaffected, visitors have been able to travel to and around the area as normal. 

But where were the visitors? Normally, Snowdrop Valley, here at Wheddon Cross, is buzzing in February. This year, only a fraction of the people we might expect came to see the snowdrops – which were looking wonderful - very disheartening for the many people in the village who work hard to make the event a success.  

Businesses throughout Somerset and the South West have been spreading the word via social media that it’s business as usuaI. If you take a look at the @SouthWestUK twitter stream or search for the hashtag #openforbusiness then you’ll see what I mean.  

On the plus side, from a tourism point of view, the whole sad affair has at least let people know that Somerset exists – too often the county is unjustly ignored in favour of Devon and Cornwall. Believe me when I say that Somerset has an incredible amount to offer, and that Exmoor is always a wonderful place to visit – come and see for yourself!

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