A narrow strip of level moorland, covered with furze and rich in deposits of peat, coal and amber, stretches inland, from the edge of the sheer cliffs which line the coast, to the foot of the mountains.
Its territories, far from the centres of European civilization and consisting largely of mountain, moorland and forest, were bounded on the north by the Minho, on the south by the Mondego.
The Exmoor is a horned breed of Devonshire moorland, one of the few remaining remnants of direct descent from the old forest breeds of England.
On the west side these extend from Blacklow Hill to Axe Edge; on the east, from Derwent Edge to near Derby; outlying masses form the rough moorland on Kinder Scout and the picturesque tors near Stanton-by-Youlgreave.
In Great Britain in the breeding-season it seems to affect exclusively hilly and moorland districts from Herefordshire northward, in which it partly or wholly replaces the common linnet, but is very much more local in its distribution, and, except in the British Islands and some parts of Scandinavia, it only appears as an irregular visitant in winter.