Cathy Powell and Rod Smith
Hi, we are Cathy and Rod, we run Exmoor Experience, incorporating both Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre and Exmoor Riding plus our Tea Gardens and Bed & Breakfast in this unique historic setting of our 15th century National Trust, open-hall Manor House of 1436, pre-dating most properties in this beautiful hidden valley of Porlock Vale, within the Holnicote Estate.
Ever since early childhood I have always been passionate about the environment, conservation and the inter-relationships between animals, birds and their natural habitats. After my degree I became a teacher and have taught every age group from toddler to adult, in several countries around the world; worked as a secretary in several locations; gave wildlife painting and illustration exhibitions in the Caribbean; became an environmental journalist for a while, writing in newspapers and magazines; and worked as a book-keeper 'under-cover' in Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East! In 1994 I discovered Exmoor, and decided this was my forever home, where I could now follow my passion!
Rod, who joined me in 2007, also has worked in many different sectors from accounting, to farming, social services and peripatetic teaching of African drumming in the Midlands, and now uses his many transferable skills when training the birds, and managing the Centre.
Visitors come from all over the world to take part in our Experiences, having welcomed people from every continent, and currently from over 30 countries! We believe in reconnecting with nature, and being at one with our natural environment, embracing the concept of anenergy connected holistic lifestyle.
Our Centre is world renowned and we have one of the finest collections of flown owls in the world, run the 15th Century Farmhouse B&B, and a small individualised riding centre, where the horses are barefoot, managed holistically, and work softly connecting through energy and using gentle horsemanship training.
These techniques are similarly applied to the training of our birds, and we welcome you, our visitors, to our Centre to share, watch, fly and to engage with our core objectives -
a trust and respect between the environment we live in and the animals and birds that we look after in a gentle and sustainable manner.
Our over-riding message to all our visitors, and especially to younger folk, is
"follow your passion and you will succeed - some day! Time is irrelevant - Passion is key"