To ensure that the natural beauty of the Blackdown Hills continues to be appreciated and nurtured, we:
- Communicate the value of the landscape, biodiversity and history of the Blackdown Hills
- Provide opportunities for people to learn about and visit the Blackdown Hills AONB
- Help people access the area to improve their health and wellbeing
- Involve and support the people and organisations who are helping to look after this protected landscape
- Encourage sustainable forms of social and economic development.
As we go about our work we consider the needs of agriculture, forestry, and other rural industries, along with the economic and social needs of local communities.
The Blackdown Hills AONB is looked after by Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership, and a team of staff based in Hemyock. While the team is itself small, our work is amplified by collaborating with a network of organisations, businesses, farmers, landowners and local communities who care for the countryside and heritage of the area.
Our work is enhanced through a range of projects which focus on the cultural and natural heritage of the Blackdown Hills AONB, working alongside local and national organisations and involving local communities
Start Date: 01/07/2019 End Date: 01/07/2024
In 2019, Blackdown Hills AONB, along with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) across the country, signed up to the Colchester Declaration. This is an ambitious plan to recover nature in and beyond protected landscapes, build climate resilience and enhance engagement with people.
Start Date: 01/01/2020 End Date: 01/01/2023
Somerset Nature Connections is a partnership project between Somerset Wildlife Trust and the three Somerset Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The project aims to help individuals and groups to connect with nature to benefit their physical and mental health, to reduce some of the barriers which prevent people from accessing natural spaces, and develop a network of skilled volunteers who can support communities for the longer term.
Start Date: 01/06/2018 End Date: 01/06/2021
Following a successful partnership bid to Natural England, a new training and collaboration network has been set up for farmers and other land managers within the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This is known as the Blackdown Hills Farming and Woodland Group.
Start Date: 12/04/2019 End Date: 30/04/2020
The purpose of the Discovering Dunkeswell Abbey project was to raise the profile of Dunkeswell Abbey which has a rich cultural and historic interest. The project helped the local community connect with and understand the site through an archaeology programme, multi-generational engagement activities and on-site interpretation material.
Start Date: 01/12/2018 End Date: 01/03/2020
Working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Devon County Council's Flood and Coastal Risk Team, East Devon AONB Partnership, Westcountry Rivers Trust and FWAG South West, a two-year project is underway to tackle flooding and water quality in these two sub-catchments.
Start Date: 01/04/2018 End Date: 31/03/2019
This project, funded by Historic England, shines a spotlight on the important field boundaries and linear landscape features of the Blackdown Hills AONB and highlights the important role they play in the landscape, their heritage value and the benefits that they provide to people.
Start Date: 31/01/2018 End Date: 31/01/2019
The white-clawed crayfish – the UK's only native crayfish – is under threat. The River Culm, in the Blackdown Hills AONB, is one of only two sites in Devon where the endangered, white-clawed crayfish remains. In January 2018, we embarked on the Culm Community Crayfish project with a view to helping communities around the River Culm learn about, survey and look after this endangered species.
Start Date: 19/10/2018 End Date: 19/10/2018
The Catchment Communities Conference, on Friday 19 October 2018, brought together community representatives, land owners and managers, and practitioners from the East Devon Catchment Partnership with a view to working together for the future health of the river catchments of the Axe (including Yarty), Otter, Culm and Clyst.
Start Date: 09/11/2017 End Date: 18/11/2017
Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project enabled us to find out more about the natural heritage of the Blackdown Hills, to raise awareness of the area’s natural heritage and to help local communities to build the skills and the confidence to set up their own nature projects.
Start Date: 01/09/2014 End Date: 01/06/2015
For centuries, the sounds, sweat and smoke of iron-working were part of life in the Blackdown Hills. The rich iron-working past of The Blackdown Hills was rooted in this area’s geology and, in turn, the iron-working industry has left its mark on the landscape. The aim of the Metal Makers project was to bring to life and increase understanding of the ancient iron-working heritage of the Blackdown Hills.