Mendip Hills Fund

The Work of the Fund

The Mendip Hills Fund is a community fund set up to conserve and enhance the environment, communities and economy of the Mendip Hills.

It is a partnership between the Mendip Hills AONB Partnership and the Somerset Community Foundation. It is supported by local businesses who have a badge box, visitor-giving schemes and event organisers.

Could your business help by having a badge box on the counter or in reception? Visitors make a donation for each badge and the money goes to the Mendip Hills Fund.

The fund gave £11,000 to local projects last year that help make the area look better and support community groups. An incredible £3,100 has been raised through badge box donations!

For APPLICATIONS or to make a DONATION please go to the Somerset Community Foundation website, call 01749 344949 or visit the Just Giving page.


2017 Project Updates

Somerset Wildlife Trust

One of the roles of the fund is ensure people get a better understanding of the area and in turn help to protect it.  We’re really pleased that the Somerset Wildlife Trust received a grant for this new panel at Mascall’s Wood Nature Reserve, an ancient woodland and part of the ‘complex’ of nature reserves around Cheddar Gorge.


East Harptree C of E VC Primary School

Once a week, reception children from Hedgehogs class enjoy walking to forest school in the local woods. We have lots of fun in all weather; wearing our waterproofs and playing in the mud.

Our favourite activities include den building; making art and crafts using natural materials and outdoor cooking.

We love getting muddy and playing in the leaves; making things with sticks and playing with our friends. We look forward to going to Forest School every Friday because we always have lots of fun and we love getting muddy.

The kind donation from the Mendip Hills Fund was gratefully received and used towards the purchases of: waterproof suits and gloves; first aid equipment; shelters and cooking equipment. We have loved going to forest school this year!


Blagdon Orchard Group

The history of Blagdon’s orchards has been captured in one book thanks to a grant from the Mendip Hills Fund.

‘Of Apples & Orchards’ has been written by the Blagdon Orchard Group and collects the history of apple growing and cider production in the area alongside interesting folklore and recipes.

Suzanne Wynn, chair of Blagdon Orchard Group, was delighted with the publication of the book. She said the process of producing the book was just as important as the final product as it brought different people and groups together in the community around a common theme. Supporting cultural heritage projects is one aim of the Mendip Hills Fund.

The Mendip Hills Fund is a grant scheme supported by visitor-giving donations and then distributed to projects that improve the environment and community of the area. The AONB Unit and Somerset Community Foundation administer the fund that has given out £15,000 in the last few years. The fund will be open for applications in September.

‘Of Apples & Orchards’ is £9.95 from


Forest School at Blagdon Primary School

What a success our first Forest School at Tania’s Wood has been.  Our Year 1 is a split cohort, so the opportunity for them to come together as a Year group has been invaluable.

One might argue, “What is the point of taking children all the way to Tania’s Wood?”

Well, the benefits have certainly been felt back in school.  Next year, they will be brought together as Year 2s. Having the opportunity to work together as a team means that bonds have already formed and next year feels less daunting to them.

They have been able to practise skills in real life settings that we just cannot show them in the playground. The variety of wildlife, flora and fauna, whilst encouraged, does not exist in the playground.

The activities they do have meaning in the setting.  It has improved social skills as they come together to work on challenging projects.  Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn and question is evident.  The understanding of risk that the children have has increased – they talk about risk and assess situations more readily.

As they explore and discover they begin to lead their own learning – which can only be a good thing as we strive to produce citizens of the future who can be the best they can be.

Well done to our Year 1s!

How to Apply for a Grant

All applications are required to be completed online through the Somerset Community Foundation website. The application form will only be available to access during the application window from 1 September to 31 October each year

If you would like more information on what the application requires please click here for a copy. (PDF Download 318KB).  Please note that this is for information purposes only and you will still need to complete your application using the online system.

A copy of the guidance notes for applications can also be found here. (PDF Download 352KB)

The area covered by the Fund

For a more detailed map of the area please click here.

2018 Grants Awarded

  • Stoke St. Michael War Memorial Hall – to make a redundant piece of land more environmentally friendly. £1768
  • Osprey Outdoors – to teach vocational skills through conservation work to long term unemployed. £1000
  • Mendip Mountain Bikers group – to improve trail signage in Rowberrow Forest. £1000
  • Darshill & Bowlish Conservation Society – for their local heritage project. £500
  • Cheddar Community Partnership – for an interpretation panel by the Island Beds in the gorge. £800
  • Cheddar First School – for improvements to their forest school. £2000
  • Chewton Mendip Primary – for equipment to improve and maintain the school outside space. £548
  • Priddy & St Lawrence Schools – to develop their forest school sites. £2000
  • Strawberry Line East group – to buy scythes for maintaining wildlife areas. £732
  • Rickford Community Association – for buying new fruit trees. £619

2017 Grants Awarded

  • East Harptree School Environment Club – equipment; waterproofs, rucksacks, bow saws, waterproof note books, identification books, nets, cameras, clip boards, storage boxes, steel flasks, plastic ID trays, head torches £1288
  • Blagdon Orchard Group – design of a book to celebrate their community orchard. £500
  • St Andrews Church, Blagdon – architects fees for restoration of Grade II Listed lychgate £500
  • Blagdon Primary School – weekly forest school activities £700
  • Osprey Outdoors – conservation volunteering for mental health service users, drug and alcohol rehabilitation clients, long term unemployed £1973
  • Somerset Wildlife Trust – interpretation board for Mascall’s Wood Cheddar £500

How the money is raised

Our Badges

A new Barn owl is now available for a minimum donation of £2 each.

If you are a local business and would like to display one of the boxes to help raise funds please get in touch with us. Email us Mendip Hills AONB or ring 01761 462338

If you are a collector of pin badges and not in the area we can post badges to you and would ask for a donation to the Mendip Hills Fund via the Just Giving page of £2 per badge. Contact us with your postal address


Visitor Giving Scheme  a scheme to raise income for the Mendip Hills Fund through voluntary contributions from visitors, take a look at out Visitor Giving Information Guide for more details.

Current Members

Bath and West Country Walks
Gorge View Cottage
Mendip Outdoor Pursuits
Petruth Paddocks

Event Organisers – donations made from event entries helping to raise income for the Mendip Hills Fund.

Current Regular Supporters

Butcombe Trail Ultra Marathon, Town and Country Harriers
The Big Cheese, Cheddar Running Club
Great Weston Ride
Mendip Muddle, Weston Athletic Club
Mendip Marauder, Albion Running

If you are a local business or an event organiser and would like more information on how to support the fund please contact Jim Hardcastle or Sarah Catling.