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Blackdown Hills celebrates 25 years as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

( Last Updated: 07-09-2016 )

25th anniversary cake decorated with a Blackdown Hills scene in icing and candlesOn Sunday there were celebrations to mark 25 years since the Blackdown Hills area was designated as a protected landscape. A tea party was held at The Candlelight Inn in Bishopswood, with river dipping, children’s activities, live music, Blackdown Beauty (a special anniversary beer) and, of course, a birthday cake.

The Blackdown Hills area was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1991 because of its wonderful, unspoilt countryside. It is home to nationally important heritage: from rare butterflies to specialist bog plants, from ancient hill forts to Word War II airfields. The underlying geology gives the Blackdown Hills its striking scenery: the dramatic northern scarp and the upland plateau with its deep valleys where historic, unspoilt villages nestle.

Speaking on BBC Somerset’s breakfast programme on Saturday morning, AONB Manager Linda Bennett explained the purpose of AONB status: to protect this nationally important landscape and to conserve and enhance the natural beauty in the area’s culture, heritage and wildlife.

“We have been able to bring together farmers, producers, businesses, voluntary groups, residents and visitors to work collectively to care for and benefit from the area’s natural beauty and protected landscape status.”

Chairman of the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership, Cllr Paul Diviani, cut the cake at Sunday’s event and thanked everyone who has contributed over the years to making the Blackdown Hills such as special place to live, work and visit.

As part of the celebrations, Otter Brewery’s anniversary Blackdown Beauty beer went on sale, with 5p in every pint being donated to the Blackdown Hills Countryside Fund. Look out for Blackdown Beauty in pubs throughout the Blackdown Hills.

The Blackdown Hills AONB and its partners will continue to celebrate the area’s 25 years as a protected landscape, with a programme of events throughout this year.

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