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Blackdowns Jubilee

( Last Updated: 17-09-2016 )

If you love the Blackdown Hills’ patchwork beauty and timeless tranquillity you already know that it is one of the UK’s most precious landscapes.

This year we have been celebrating 25 years as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), having been designated as such in 1991.

This timeline shows some of the milestones of the Blackdown Hills 25 years as an AONB.

25 years of the Blackdown Hills AONB


A special place

The Blackdown Hills area was designated an AONB 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.

The area covers 370 square kilometres of unspoilt countryside which spans the Devon Somerset border. For many it epitomises our mental picture of the English countryside, characterised by hedgerows and copses, small farms with intricate field patterns, steep valleys and narrow, winding lanes.

According to a recent study by Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Blackdown Hills is the fifth darkest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England.

What we do

The Blackdown Hills AONB is looked after by a Partnership of national agencies, local authorities, conservation organisations and community groups who work together to protect this special place.
The AONB Partnership funds a small staff team based in Hemyock whose work includes:

  • Advising local planning authorities, decision-makers and landowners;
  • Supporting environment, community and enterprise projects in the area;
  • Providing opportunities to enjoy and understand the area's environment and heritage;
  • Representing the countryside as part of the UK network of AONBs and National Parks.

Time to celebrate

Anniversary events have been taking place and will continue through to the end of the year, from wildlife walks to celebrations of the local heritage, family activity days and special training courses.

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Walk, cycle and ride on our suggested routes around the Hills.

Click here to see all routes.

Planning a visit or looking for something to do this weekend? Check the Diary of Events here

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