Quantock Hills Blog

Inspiration from Danielle

- How volunteering with the Somerset AONBs' nature and wellbeing project helped set her off on her own personal journey

Kristen Lambert

Posted by Kristen Lambert on 04 October 2017

Inspiration from Danielle Hi, I’m Danielle I have been volunteering with the AONB for about 8 or so months now and I have very honestly not looked back since. To give you a bit of background as to how I got to be writing this today I thought I would start from the very beginning - I promise I won’t take too long on this but I thought it was important to share with you the impact nature has had on my wellbeing and how it has given me a new lease of life and understanding of the world around us, as well as feeling a sense of giving something back to the community.  I hope through my journey it will help and inspire others who are either going through their own battles or for anyone who has a feeling they want to get out there but don’t know how or why.

 I was lucky growing up to be exposed to the natural world and wildlife one way or another, but since my battle with a mental health illness a lot of my identity had got lost and I didn’t have the confidence or space to develop what I liked and what made me tick. It was not until during treatment when I signed up to a programme lead by members of the Community Mental Health Team at Somerset Partnership that something began to click. It was the first group to go to Huntstile Farm, which is where I first met Kristen our Nature and Wellbeing Officer who helped to co-ordinate and set up the project. It was after this 10 week programme that I was put in touch with Quantock Volunteer Group lead by Kristen that goes up to the Quantocks once a month helping our ranger with a range of conservation-type tasks around Cothelstone.  It was here my desire to learn more was ignited and I was keen to take part in more. So my love for all things nature and community engagement began! 

Since taking part in the Monthly Group I have also helped to support a range of family events and community engagement activates over the summer to include family activity days to Otterhead Lakes and Castle Neroche both in the Blackdowns, as well as taking part in the Halcon trail in Taunton, organised by Zing Somerset.

Today I feel I have gone full circle and it has been a huge privilege to be supporting the Huntstile Farm Project which began again this morning and will run as a 10 week programme.

After a 20 minute drive by bus to the farm we went from an urban vista to beautiful scenery of farmland and hills, where we were introduced to the head gardener John. The views alone just lighten your load and you immediately feel free! Our first task which we took no time getting stuck in to was harvesting the tomatoes in the polytunnel ready to be made in to chutney (the green tomatoes are perfect for this) and sauces, relish and the like.

 By this point it was amazing to see the group relax and flourish, feeling comfortable to chat a bit and share stories. It was great to find out a bit more about the people who I hope will benefit the most through this programme and to be able to participate in what I hope to be a positive experience for them to learn a bit about themselves, encouragement to come as they are, and gain a sense of freedom from trials and tribulations at home. After a short tea and biscuit break it was then on to tackling the herb garden which we did with much gusto – pruning herbs like lemon balm, lavender and oregano, and pulling up weeds and grasses to make way for next year’s crop.

It was a testament to how well when we realised it was time for us to go and was met with a “WHAT, already!?”

A couple of interesting things we learnt today Alkonet is a member of the borage family; its roots are used as a natural red dye. Calendula – it is a great aphid/black fly deterrent for your green beans or any other veg that gets hit by these pesky bugs in your garden. Also egg shells and cinder are equally good for deterring slugs!

It has been an absolute joy to work with such enthusiastic people and I look forward to seeing how the group evolves and seeing what happens next.





Comments in chronological order (Total 0 comments)

Add your comment

  • There are no comments for this entry
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Stay in the loop

Annual Reports

View Annual reports from the Quantock AONB Service

Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund

The Quantock Hills AONB Service now has a Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund providing grants of up to £20,000 to local communities, farmers, landowners and individuals. The fund has been provided by EDF Energy and is part of the mitigation measures associated with the Hinkley Point C development.

Information leaflets

Find out more about the geology of the Quantock Hills AONB, why the heathland is so important for birds, the red deer on the Quantocks and why the history of the landscape is so special.

Other organisations and activities in the Quantocks

A few things you might find interesting from organisations we work with in the Quantocks

Photography Competition Entry Form

Please down load and return with your fabulous entries

Policys and Codes of Conduct

Everyone enjoys spending their time on the hills doing different activities. Below are some guidance and policy documents to ensure they are carried out safely and that wider regulations are followed.

Quantock Deer Count Results

Annual deer count results for 2010 to 2017

Quantock Hills and Planning

Downloadable documents for you to better understand the Quantock AONB and planning processes

Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) Papers 2014 - 2017

Papers from the partnership committee the Joint Advisory Committee

Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019

This is the the Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019. It will guide work carried out to protect and enhance the Quantock Hills by the AONB team and all our partners. It has been agreed by the Secretary of State for the Environment and adopted by Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council.

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Recreation Leaflets

a full range of leaflets from circular walks to event guides and leaflets to allow you to enjoy the best of the hills

Terms and Conditions for Quantock Hills Facebook page

Terms and Conditions for http://www.facebook.com/Quantock.hills

Tick Leaflet

Ticks are becoming more common and a bite from this spider-like parasite could lead to Lyme Disease. This is a treatable infection caused by bacterium transmitted by ticks when they bite. Not every tick carries Lyme Disease and it is important to realise that the disease is relatively rare.


Useful Contacts

Quantock AONB Service
Tel: 01823 451 884

Somerset Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01823 652 400

National Trust
Tel: 01823 451 814

Forestry Commission
Tel: 01278 732 319