Over 200 people attended our Outstanding Week events!
September has always been an outstanding month in our countryside with harvests being brought safely home, trees and meadows taking on their autumnal colours, skies offering a full palette of hues, musky bonfires lingering in the evening air and a welcoming calmness for visitors.
The Mendip Hills are part of the AONB family, a series of special landscapes protected for you. What makes them special to you?
• The distinctive limestone ridge with windswept plateau?
• The views out towards Exmoor, Quantock, the Somerset Levels and Chew Valley?
• The sparsely populated plateau with the dark skies and a sense of tranquillity?
• The diverse and visible geology making it one of the best areas in the country to appreciate the relationships between geology, landscape and natural history?
• The caves for their wildlife, geological, archaeological importance ?
• The Cheddar, Chew Valley and Blagdon lakes providing important habitats?
• The Chew Valley -a rich farmed landscape with fields divided by hedges?
• The dry stone walls that criss-cross the plateau farmland grazed by sheep, beef and dairy cattle?
• The steep south-facing slopes of flower rich limestone grasslands?
• The ancient woodland combes on the north and south slopes?
• The evidence of human settlement dating back 500,000 years? Henge monuments, barrows and hillforts through to World War 2 sites are prominent features on the plateau as are remnants of Roman and Victorian lead mining.
This is a landscape enjoyed by large numbers of people for a wide range of interests and outdoor pursuits including caving, climbing , cycling and quieter activities including bird watching and walking due to areas of tranquillity.
Jill Smith from the National Association of AONBs explains;
“Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are some of the most beautiful, cherished and outstanding landscapes in the UK. They are vibrant and dynamic and offer a wealth of opportunities for people to enjoy our countryside.
“Outstanding Week shows people how to get involved and get out into our AONBs’ outstanding landscapes to enjoy country shows, dark sky discovery nights, walking festivals, archaeology walks, wood fairs, foraging and local food festivals, wildlife walks, coastal and marine days, thatching courses, drystone walling competitions, charcoal making, bioblitz, inspiration through art and music and many, many other activities. Whether you are looking for an outstanding view, intending to reward yourself with a cream tea or trying to kick start a new health and wellbeing regime, you can’t fail to have a great time in one of our 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are Landscapes for Life in so many different ways”.