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.
This 3 year project (2013-2016) funded by Heritage Lottery Fund is raising 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 across the site has occurred through a combination of recreational use and weather. Alongside the Discovering Black Down Project, work to restore and repair badly eroded paths across the Commons has been undertaken.
Between April 2015 and March 2016:
- 266 people attended fourteen events, including history walks, bat walks, a photography course and a range of wildlife themed family fun days
- The Burrington Ham Nature Explorer Log Book was printed. This exciting and colourful educational resource was produced so that the legacy of the project will allow schools to continue to use Burrington Ham as an educational resource. Both hard copies and downloadable versions are available on the Discovering Black Down website.
- 14 unemployed youths from Wells, Glastonbury, Frome, Street and Shepton Mallet were recruited and trained on an accredited conservation course in partnership with Somerset Rural Youth Project.
- One Mountain Biking with Respect guided mountain bike ride was run to explain the issues of erosion by bikes to local riders.
- The Dormouse survey continued on Burrington Ham and further coppicing of the woodland for dormouse habitat improvement undertaken.
- Mendip Hills AONB volunteers carried out two days’ work to litter pick Burrington Combe and control scrub at Burrington camp.
- The Starfish research project was successfully completed.
- The pupils of Blagdon Primary School worked with a film company to produce a short film on the history of the Decoy Town on Black Down.
- Over 70 people attended the world premiere of the film in Blagdon Village Hall followed by 40 people attending a talk on the history of WWII on Black Down a week later.
- Various groups have taken part in guided walks to discover the secrets uncovered by the project including schools, scout groups and local history societies.
- A series of information sheets have been produced and are available free of charge on the website.
- The Local History project was also successfully completed.
- A dedicated team of volunteers undertook research into a variety of topics on the Hidden History of Burrington Ham. The resulting information sheets and a guided walk leaflet can be downloaded from the Discovering Black Down Website.
- Two students on work experience placement form Bath Spa University carried out a footpath condition survey.
- A photography course was attended by seven photographers to learn all about the techniques for photographing nature and the landscape. Those who attended the course also entered the Photographic Competition, providing pictures for the 2016 Discovering Black Down Calendar. Over 45 entries were eventually reduced to the 12 successful images.
- With the invaluable help of the Bristol Orienteering Klub, a new permanent orienteering course was installed on Burrington Ham. The new orienteering map is available to download for free from the website.
Full Annual Review 2015-2016 (PDF download 2.5MB)