“On our tours, we have a picnic at was probably the Doone settlement in the ancient beech woods,” says Jennie. “A mutton pasty is included as mentioned in the book! No cider though. Although much is consumed during the book!”
She continues: “We visit Cloud Farm, the Culm Valley, the Blackmore memorial stone erected on the book’s centenary, the waterslide where John Ridd loach fished and met Lorna and, of course, Oare Church. The shooting of a young man in a church in Chagford, Devon may have inspired the famous scene. Blackmore’s grandfather preached there.”
Adds Malcolm: “The Doone valley marks the boundary of Somerset and Devon. Both counties claim Lorna and Blackmore for their own. Exeter Cathedral has a memorial. The Doones and Ridds definitely existed. As did Faggus the highwayman and Mother Meldrum, a witch, lived at the Valley of the Rocks near Lynton. The book weaves veins of fact and fiction. But the locations and landscape are the same. We still have the enclosed valleys and bleak dreary moors and rills running into rivulets running to brooks.”
Events during 2019 include an exhibition in Dulverton Heritage Centre. Exhibition designer Sue Baker first came to Exmoor to study its ponies for a zoological doctorate. “My favourite location must be Landacre Bridge over the River Barle on Withypool Common where Jeremy Stickles is attacked by the Doones.
“Creating the exhibition has thrown up some unusual challenges, particularly making the figures for the diorama. I never expected buying body parts online! I had to source John Ridd’s body from Carlisle and his head from France! The Cumbrian body was dark grey. I will never forget the face of the owner of our local car body shop when I took the headless John mannequin in for a re-spray!”
In addition, the Exmoor White Horse Inn, a fifteenth century coach inn on the River Exe in Exford, exhibits the work of landlord and renowned local photographer, Peter Hendrie.
The 150th anniversary of Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor is being marked across Exmoor with a series of events throughout the year. essence info
Websites: www.visit-exmoor.co.uk www.exmoor-whitehorse.co.uk www.wildaboutexmoor.com locandaontheweir.co.uk