Our Work

The Work of the Mendip Hills AONB Unit

News from Last Month

Management Plan Review
What’s your view of the Mendip Hills AONB? The existing statutory management plan for the AONB is being reviewed prior to the preparation of a draft plan for the next five years.  Interested people are being encouraged to complete the survey with views on how we move forward. If you would like to complete a quesionnaire please click here.  Deadline for completion is 30th September.


Planning Matters
In the last four weeks we have received six planning consultations.  Our Landscape Planning Officer and the Partnership’s Vice Chair, along with our planning volunteer, visited different sites on Tuesday 18th September to discuss current pressures.

Mendip Hills Fund
All our businesses and event organisers who have supported the Mendip Hills Fund have been sent a Certificate of Appreciation stating the amount they have donated over the last 12 months. The fund has over £10,000 to award this year and the deadline for applications is 31st October.  To apply click here.

Outstanding Week
Did you know? There are 34 AONBs, visited by 156m people every year who spend £2billion supporting the rural economy and use the 21,000kms of rights of way? All the AONBs celebrated Outstanding Week between 15th – 23rd September to raise awareness of how vital these protected areas are.

What’s coming up?

Mendip Ploughing Match
The AONB Partnership is sponsoring the drystone walling competition at this year’s Mendip Ploughing Match on 26th September.  This is part of a broader plan to encourage more people to learn the skill of walling.

Government Review
The government’s review of AONBs and National Parks will ask for formal written evidence in October.  Prior to that Lord Ewen Cameron, a review panel member is visiting the AONB Unit for informal discussions.  The AONB Partnership has also been consulted on each of the review items which will form the basis of a draft written response to be discussed at the November Partnership meeting.

Mendip Rocks!
The finale of the Mendip Rocks! programme of events, ‘Geo Resources in our Lives’ will be on Sunday 28th October in the Wells & Mendip Musuem 09:30 -16:30. Speakers will include academics from a number of universities who will reveal how unique and important the geology of the Mendip Hills are. Tickets cost £15, all the details are here.

Mendip Way Project

The Mendip Way is a 50 mile long-distance footpath crossing the Mendip Hills from Uphill to Frome that is sometimes referred to in two sections:

The West Mendip Way that is largely in the Mendip Hills AONB starts near the Bristol Channel at Uphill and climbs the Mendip Hills escarpment onto the Mendip plateau and across the top of Cheddar Gorge and down to Wells.

The East Mendip Way continues from Wells to Frome passing to the north of Shepton Mallet and close to some of the limestone quarries.

Mendip Way Map

The AONB Unit is working with partnership with the Mendip Society, Rotary Club and Mendip Ramblers to enhance the Mendip Way through route improvements, improved information, signage and promotion.

Completed Works:

  • The whole route has been waymarked with new signs.
  • A comprehensive route survey has been carried out identify additional signage and access furniture requirements.
  • Full route guide with description and directions in 2 versions eastwards and westwards) have been written.
  • GPX data has been gathered for use in downlaodable route guides.

Next steps:

  • New Mendip Way pages on the AONB website including downloadable route guides and further information for visitors.
  • Marketing of the route.
  • Carry out further route improvements through volunteer task programmes.

Supporting local tourism businesses – raising the profile of the Mendip Way and enhancing the experience for walkers on the route will attract more visitors to the area and encourage longer length of stay. The project will aim to improve the tourism offer and support rural economic growth. Ideas to be explored with businesses include:

• Using the website to link the route to attractions, accommodation and local food providers.
• Networking accommodation providers to offer luggage transfer and other visitor services
• Offering bespoke Mendip Way holidays offering guided walks and other activities.
• Promoting family friendly accommodation and activities for family members not walking the full route

Mendip Rocks! 2018

The eighth Mendip Rocks! festival started on 7 July and will run until the end of October.  Our annual season of events celebrates the 450 million year geological history of the Mendip Hills and is provided by the AONB Unit, Somerset Earth Science Centre and The Mendip Society.

This seasons 30+ events include: cave visits, guided walks, tours of working and disused quarries, arts workshops, geological field visits and much more.  There is something for all the family to get involved in.  To view the full programme click here. (PDF Download 7MB).

To book on to any of the events please visit our events page.


Discovering Black Down

This was a three year project (2013-2016) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project was designed to raise awareness of the wildlife and archaeological value of the Black Down and Burrington Commons through activities, events and training.

In recent years erosion and damage to specific features and the site in general has occurred through a combination of recreational use, sensitive site conditions and weather.
The legacy of Discovering Black Down will be to ensure local community and user group volunteers continue to play an active role in the care and conservation of this area’s heritage.

The project has now come to a close but the web site Discovering Black Down will remain available.

Download the Discovering Black Down app for maps, memories and lots more