Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Tourist association and council work together to save Exmoor Food Festival

THE future of the Exmoor Food Festival has been secured thanks to an alliance between the Exmoor Tourist Association and West Somerset Council.
The food festival was started in 2002 with support from the South West Regional Development Agency and aimed to help local businesses suffering as a result of the economic crisis caused by foot and mouth disease.
Somerset Food Links then took it on for five years and turned it into a hugely successfully event which attracted thousands of visitors to the area outside of the traditional tourism season.
Tourist association chairman Antony Brunt said: “When we heard they were looking for local people to develop it further, we were delighted to be in a position to help.
“It is an event which, in partnership with the council, we would like to develop in future years to increase visitor numbers.”
District council’s Exmoor Events manager Jill Homewood has worked with Food Links over the past few years and will ensure a smooth transition to the new organisers.
This year’s festival will run from October 4 to 12 and is timed to help local accommodation providers, food producers, and restaurants reap the benefits of a longer tourism season.
Firm festival favourites such as the Porlock Food Fayre, Lyn Food Fest, Breakfast at the Heart of Exmoor, Styles Ice Cream open day and Exmoor Dinners at Ranscombe Farm Restaurant are all back on the menu this year.
New events will include Wild Food at Wimbleball, Porlock Tea Party, Moroccan evening in the Creamery, Minehead, Alta Lyn Alpaca open day, jazz and local food evening at North Walk House, Lynton, and gourmet dinners with top tips from the chef at the Yarn Market Hotel, in Dunster.
Council economic development and tourism portfolio holder Councillor Michael Downes said: “We are delighted that the Exmoor Tourist Association is helping to take on the running and development of this festival, which is a favourite with local and visiting food fans.
“Attracting out-of-season visitors to Exmoor brings economic benefits not just to the businesses directly involved, but to the economy as a whole.”
Programmes for the Exmoor Food Festival, which runs from October 4 to 12, are available at Tourist Information Centres, and more information can be obtained by logging onto or or by telephoning 01643 821425.
  • Our photographs show Exmoor Food Festival veterans (TOP) Keith Wicks, of the Whortleberry Tea Rooms, Porlock, and (BELOW) Derek de Maid, of Brendon Hill Crafts, which started on the Brendon Hills before relocating close to Barnstaple. Photos submitted.

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