Let’s all do our bit to take care of the Blackdown Hills
Do you live in or near the Blackdown Hills AONB? Are you a regular visitor?
We’d like you invite you to make a pledge to show how much you love the beautiful Blackdown Hills.
Whether you only have ten minutes to spare or you’d like to make a bigger commitment, here’s how you could help look after Blackdown Hills AONB:
- Provide and maintain habitats for wildlife.
- Volunteer your time to conserve the area’s rich historic, cultural and natural heritage.
- Learn about and help others to explore the special places in your local area.
- Support your local economy.
- Keep your environmental impact to a minimum.
How to get involved
If you’d like to make a pledge, here’s how:
- Read our ideas for pledges below or come up with your own idea
- Make your pledge
- Share what you plan to do (in text, photos or video)
- Carry out your pledge
- Share the results!
Keep us up-to-date with what you’ve achieved on social media or via email:
Please use #YearOfGreenAction and tag Blackdown Hills AONB:
- Twitter: @BlackdownsAONB
- Facebook: @BlackdownHillsAONB
- Instagram: @BlackdownHillsAONB
- or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Making a pledge? Here are some ideas for what you could do…
Offer your time
Volunteering provides opportunities for you to give something back to your community, develop new skills, gain experience, get out and about and meet new friends. There are organisations all around the Blackdown Hills AONB looking for people to help conserve our rich historic, cultural and natural heritage. Could this be you?
Volunteering opportunities in the area include nature conservation, historic surveys, nature surveys, promotional activities and helping to support individuals who would otherwise find it difficult to access the AONB.
If you don’t have much time to spare, why not share your wildlife sightings? Gaining knowledge about the populations of a variety of different species, helps us to work on initiatives to support them.
Support your local economy
Conserving the special qualities of the Blackdown Hills doesn’t mean halting the progress of time. AONBs are not museums; they are living landscapes with lively communities. We want our precious landscape to evolve gracefully, for local businesses to thrive and provide livelihoods for the communities of the Blackdown Hills.
- Buy from local producers, shops and service providers
- Visit local pubs, cafés, restaurants and attractions
- Encourage your visitors to make use of local independent businesses
- Shout about local businesses you love – like and share on social media and give positive reviews
- Check out Blackdown Hills Business Association
Get out there and enjoy it!
Experience the health and wellbeing benefits of getting out amongst nature – make an appointment to explore a new place.
Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is right on the doorstep of Taunton, Wellington, Honiton, Axminster and Chard so it’s easy to get out and explore.
- Here are some of our ideas for places to visit. We’d love to hear your suggestions too!
- Spend a little time visiting and learning about the fascinating heritage sites in the area.
- Help someone you know to explore. Not everyone has access to a car; some people have mobility issues or lack the confidence to go it alone. Is there a friend, relative or neighbour you could help to discover the beauty of the Blackdown Hills?
- Explore with others – join a local group such as Westbank Health Walks or Taunton Deane Ramblers.
Reduce your environmental impact
Across the UK, biodiversity is in decline and evidence suggests that we are among the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Flooding, drought, severe weather events, erosion, the destruction of habitats, waste and pollution are taking their toll on our environment. We have the power to change this if we act together to make better environmental decisions at home and in our work. Let’s act while we still can!
- Lessen light pollution at home or at work – see our Good Lighting Guide for advice and help maintain the low levels of light pollution we enjoy in the Blackdown Hills
- Reduce waste – buy less stuff, avoid excessive packaging, plan meals better
- Mend things instead of replacing them – every other month there is a Repair Café in Hemyock where volunteers can help you fix household items.
- Recycle more – visit your local council website to find out what can be recycled and where: Recycle Devon; Somerset Waste
- Reduce car journeys by sharing rides and using local amenities
- Check your plumbing – Is your washing machine, dishwasher etc connected correctly so that wastewater goes to the sewage and not into the rivers?
- Help prevent the spread of invasive species in rivers by cleaning and drying equipment and clothing. In the Blackdown Hills, the invasive signal crayfish is threatening the survival of the native and now rare white-clawed crayfish.
- Lead and support positive environmental actions at work
Create a place for wildlife to thrive
Make your garden, workplace or local community space more wildlife friendly:
- Make homes for wildlife: put up a bat or bird box, make a bug hotel; coppiced woodland is great for dormice
- Plant wildflowers, hedges and trees to provide nectar, fruit and nuts
- Create a fish-free nature pond for local wildlife to flourish
- Manage hedges and leave field margins wild to provide safe havens, travel routes and a food supply for numerous species
If you are planning a community project that could help your local wildlife to thrive, you may be eligible for a grant from Blackdown Hills AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund.