The Mendip Hills AONB Partnership

What Does The Mendip Hills AONB Partnership Do?

The Mendip Hills AONB Partnership brings together organisations and interests and provides a strategic and co-ordinated lead to the protection and enhancement of the AONB.

The AONB Partnership provides effective long-term management to keep the Mendip Hills AONB special.

The Value of AONB Partnerships’ report by Land Use Consultants was commissioned by the National Association for AONBs (NAAONB). The NAAONB is using this document to support discussions with Government regarding future funding for AONBs. Value of AONB Partnerships’ Report (PDF Download 470KB).

In June 2015 the NAAONB and National Parks England published ‘So much more than the view’ (PDF Download 6MB) highlighting the wide range of benefits AONBs and NPs provide to society.

Staff Unit

The work of the AONB Partnership is supported by the employment of a small AONB Staff Unit, which is based at Charterhouse Centre. The work of the unit is guided by national AONB Core Functions. The primary purpose of the AONB Staff Unit is:

To provide a strategic, independent unit dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of the Mendip Hills AONB.

To co-ordinate and drive the implementation of the AONB Management Plan.

Who’s in the unit?

AONB ManagerJim Hardcastle
AONB Project Development OfficerTim Haselden
AONB Planning Liaison OfficerCindy Carter (Part-Time)
AONB Volunteer Coordinator (Tues/Wed)Sammy Fraser (Part-Time)
AONB Support & Communications OfficerSarah Catling (Part-Time)

Core Functions

a) Developing reviewing, preparing and publishing the AONB vision and the AONB Management Plan

b) Raising awareness of the AONB, and promoting the AONB vision and the management plan to help distinguish the AONB from adjacent countryside

c) Advising upon, facilitating and coordinating implementation by others of the Management Plan

d) Advising Local Authorities on their activities within  AONBs, to encourage them to go beyond normal levels of service to attain the highest possible standards in countryside management

e) Monitoring and reporting on progress against AONB Management Plan targets

f) Monitoring AONB landscape condition

g) Accessing resources for management activities

h) Working with and contributing to the NAAONB activities. Participating in and promoting joint working between AONBs and across protected landscapes family.

i) Providing a management role to co-ordinate AONB protection through the actions of the AONB unit, the AONB partnership and other partners at a local and strategic level.

j) Developing an involvement by the community in the management of the AONB

k)  Providing  landscape related planning advice

The specialist staff unit aims to:



Things happen, translating vision and national policy into local action.


With local communities to foster their skills, knowledge, and energy.



Value for money by securing additional funding, resources and project partners.


Innovative approaches to deliver real results through genuine collaboration.


Sustainable rural growth, levering in a variety of income to protect and enhance the natural environment for the benefit of society and the economy.

The Mendip Hills AONB Partnership Committee

A key item for the Partnership meetings is the Partnerships Annual Delivery Plan.

The Partnership through the Mendip Hills AONB Unit coordinates a number of working groups to advise and develop initiatives in the AONB. Currently, there is Mendip Rocks! and the Mendip Hills Fund Advisory Panel.

AONB staff also contribute to the work of the West of England Local Nature Partnership and Somerset Local Nature Partnership both of which are currently considering locally determined Nature Improvement Areas (NIA) that include a potential Mendip Hills NIA.

Partnership Documents

Management Plan 2014-19 (PDF Download 7MB)

Communication Plan 2014-18 (PDF Download 450KB)

Terms of Reference 2018-21 (PDF Download 139KB)

Business Plan 2018-21 (PDF Download 485KB)

NAAONB Documents

National Grid Press Release

NAAONB Communication Strategy 2014-19 (PDF Download 550KB)


Last Partnership Committee Meeting held on Thursday 22nd November 2018

Venue: Blagdon Village Club, High Street, Blagdon. BS40 7TA

Agenda (PDF Download 12KB)

Meeting Papers

Meeting Minutes


  • June (PDF Download 856KB)
  • March (PDF Download 742KB)



If you would like a copy of previous minutes please contact us.