Unearthing the hidden history of Burrington Commons

Monday 15th December 2014

The Mendip Hills AONB’s Discovering Black Down Project is starting to research the history of land use of Burrington Commons, from modern times all the way back to prehistory and is seeking personal stories and information from the Commoners or those who farmed the land. The project is also inviting people to get involved and learn how to undertake historical research.

Burrington Commons, an ancient landscape, has fascinating evidence of human activity dating back over thousands of years with many stories to tell. Historical features that can still be clearly seen include Aveline’s Hole, the oldest cemetery in the UK dating back over 10,000 years; Burrington Camp, an Iron Age hill enclosure; and ancient field systems. It also became a busy industrial area a few centuries later with limestone quarries and calamine and lead workings.

‘The research will include investigative site visits to the Commons, and visits to local museums, libraries and heritage centres in Bristol and Taunton, which we hope will piece together the heritage of this fascinating landscape’, explained Robin Thornes.

On Wednesday 14 January from 10.30am to 1.30pm there is an opportunity to join a short walk to find out more about the project, explore the fascinating history of the commons and learn how the project will try to unearth hidden stories that have yet to be told. Meet at 10.30am in The Square, Burrington.

Once the research has been completed it will be made available on the Discovering Black Down Project website and there will be a celebratory guided walk to reveal the fascinating history of this very special landscape.

If you or someone you used to farm the land or have Commoner’s rights or if you would like to join the project team and learn historical research methods please get in touch via the Discovering Black Down web site or Ruth Worsley, 01761 232898