Our Work

The Work of the Mendip Hills AONB Unit

News from Last Month

Young Rangers Camp

We hosted our Young Rangers camp; a very tiring but fun weekend with a 6 mile hike, cooking on the BBQ, followed by a bat walk and moth monitoring. A big thank you to all our volunteers and Advanced Young Rangers who helped out.

Recruitment for a Project Development Officer

The closing date for applications was 13 July and we received a strong field of 23 applicants. This role is crucial for delivering projects that fulfill the AONBs statutory management plan and for raising non-governmental funds.

Interviews will take place on 1st August.

What’s coming up?

National AONB Conference
The theme for this conference that brings all the AONBs together is “Shaping the Long View”. With the recent well-publicised review of AONBs and National Parks we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to set in place an approach to our landscapes for the next 70 years. Julian Glover who is leading the government’s review will be attending the conference. Cllr Nigel Taylor, Chairman of the Mendip Hills AONB Partnership and Jim Hardcastle AONB Manager will be attending.

Mendip Hills Fund

Announcements have been sent out publicising the fund will be open for applications in September and October. We hope to have nearly £10,000, raised from visitor-giving schemes, to distribute for local projects that conserve and enhance the landscape and community.

For further details click 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