A new name for the Blackdown Hills

 In National Landscape updates

Blackdown Hills National Landscape LogoBlackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has a new name – Blackdown Hills National Landscape.

Along with all other designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales we are today becoming a National Landscape.

The new name reflects the national importance of the landscapes and the vital contribution we are making to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis. The name change will also help us to create greater understanding and awareness for the work that we do.

Becoming Blackdown Hills National Landscape reflects a step change in our work to protect and regenerate our landscape, with a focus on nature, climate, heritage, culture, and people. The care of the Blackdown Hills National Landscape is entrusted to local authorities, organisations, community groups and the people who live and work within them. We help bring these people together, working collaboratively to conserve and enhance these special landscapes.

National Landscapes across England and Wales

The change to National Landscapes is a significant milestone for the UK, and the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be the leading exemplars of how thriving, diverse communities can work with and for nature in the UK: restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing.

National Landscapes teams have been at the forefront of delivering natural solutions to the main challenges facing the nation for many years. The new brand underscores our commitment to redoubling our efforts and engaging with a wider audience. In 2019, we collectively set ourselves the most ambitious targets for nature in the sector and we continue to work to meet them.

By 2030, it is our aim that, within National Landscape boundaries: at least 200,000 hectares of the most valuable natural areas (Sites of Special Scientific Interest or SSSIs), which equates to 1¼  times the size of London, will be in favourable condition; 100,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of SSSIs will be created or restored, which is roughly nine times the size of Manchester; and 36,000 hectares of woodland, which is a little smaller than the Isle of Wight, will have been planted or allowed to regenerate. National Landscapes Partnerships will also focus on habitat restoration to ensure the protection of some of our most endangered species and increase their work to help more people to enjoy time spent in beautiful places.

A mosaic of colourful logos

National Landscapes logos across England and Wales

Our work in the Blackdown Hills

Here are some examples of the work we have being doing recently:

Somerset Nature Connections

With the Somerset Nature Connections project, we are working with Somerset Wildlife Trust and two of the other National Landscapes in Somerset (Quantock Hills and Mendip Hills) to help individuals and groups in Somerset connect with nature to benefit their physical and mental health.

Farming in Protected Landscapes

Through the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, farmers and land managers are being supported to carry out projects that support nature recovery, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage, or support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses. In the Blackdown Hills, we have already awarded funding to 57 projects totalling £343k up to March 2023, with a further £315k in the pipeline to fund projects.

Nature Recovery Plan

National Landscapes across the country have signed up to the Colchester Declaration – an ambitious plan to recover nature in and beyond protected landscapes, build climate resilience and enhance engagement with people. To fulfil our contribution to the Colchester Declaration and address the biodiversity crisis we have worked with landowners, conservation organisations, neighbouring National Landscapes, community interest groups and other stakeholders to produce a Nature Recovery Plan for the Blackdown Hills.

Connecting the Culm

Through our multi-million pound Connecting the Culm partnership project, we have been working with communities and businesses to help them become more resilient to climate change, especially flooding and drought, whilst providing benefits for biodiversity, carbon storage and water quality.

Festival of Heritage

In September we held a Festival of Heritage – a programme of events giving an opportunity for people to explore some of the Blackdown Hills fascinating history. This included an archaeological finds day, guided tours of Dunkeswell Abbey, Hembury Hillfort and RAF Culmhead, a chance to learn about whetstone mining and Hemyock’s medieval iron industry.

Read more about our work

Help us shape the future of the Blackdown Hills National Landscape

We are currently in the process of reviewing our Management Plan which helps guide our work. Your views and knowledge will help us to focus our work on how we can all help protect and enhance the special qualities of the area while meeting future challenges. If you’d like to give us your feedback, click here to complete our questionnaire.


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