Pictures: Royal visitors drop in on Exmoor anniversary celebration
- Credit: Archant
Royals visitors dropped in at a Big Picnic at Simonsbath today (July 17) to help celebrate a very special anniversary.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined a celebration of all things Exmoor to mark the 70th anniversary of the formation of national parks in the UK.
It was also a double occasion as Her Royal Highness Camilla celebrated her 72nd birthday today.
The special event was limited to 500 tickets and featured the food, drink, crafts and traditional skills that make up Exmoor, as well as some of its native breeds.
The royal couple toured a variety of stalls, sampled produce, met local schoolchildren and took the time to speak to a great many people and well wishers.
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Sarah Bryan, chief executive of Exmoor National Park, said Prince Charles had been very relaxed and very interested in the connection between sustainable farming and nature.
She said: "We had a bit of a time table but he spent a lot longer here than we were planning, but I think he really enjoyed himself - he said he loved Exmoor and had been looking forward to the visit."
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Dan James, events manager for the day on behalf of the national park, accompanied Prince Charles for the whole visit.
He said: "It was absolutely fantastic to see the passion that both of the royal couple had for the national park and also the passion that those attending had, celebrating all that is special about Exmoor.
"We had many conversations and what most struck me was his genuine interest in rural life."
Prince Charles clearly enjoyed sampling some of the local produce, including game, real ale and cider, while the duchess spent a long time speaking to the children from Exford First School and insisted on hearing every poem they had written for the day.
She also warmly welcomed an impromptu selfie photograph with a child in the crowd on her way into the event.
The couple cut a special Exmoor anniversary cake to cap off their visit, which lasted around two hours.
North Devon produce got on the royal radar too and the honey from Quince Honey Farm certainly made an impression with his royal highness.
Verity Hanson who was on the stall for the South Molton attraction said: "He was not meant to come over here but he actually made a beeline for it."
A little later mid visit when Charles asked for a cup of tea, he sent one of his staff back to the stall to specifically request ask for some of the Quince Exmoor heather honey to put in his cuppa.
Verity said: "I quite like the fact that he requested honey in his tea, that's pretty cool.
"Camilla also came over afterwards and was saying she had 10 hives herself and likes to give the honey away to charity - but then she said she liked to keep some for herself too!"