Links and Resources

How can I find out more about the Quantock Hills?

Often the best information comes just from talking with local people. The AONB officers and volunteers have a wealth of knowledge between them, and if they don’t know they can point you to someone who does. Many of the villages have active History Groups.

There are also numerous books and many websites about, or relevant to, the Quantocks.
In compiling this website I have made particular use of the following resources:

  • Hazel Riley, The Historic Landscape of the Quantock Hills. English Heritage 2006. The results of a recent intensive programme of fieldwork, air photography and building investigation, telling the story of the people who shaped the Quantock landscape from Bronze Age to the present.
  • Audrey Mead and David Worthy, Quantock Miscellany. Friarn Press, 2006. A collection of pictures, old photographs and excerpts from written sources, giving the detail of daily life in the Quantocks over the past 50 years. (There are other published photo collections.)
  • Vincent Waite, Portrait of the Quantocks. Robert Hale Ltd, 1964. A classic survey of whole area at a time of change.
  • Berta Lawrence, Quantock Country. Westaway press, 1952. This book gives vivid descriptions of people and places, including very useful accounts of conversations with traditional craftsmen and women.
  • ed Jack Ayres, Paupers & Pig Killers. The Diary of William Holland. Sutton Publishing, 2003. Fascinating insight into the daily life and characters of Over Stowey and its surroundings in the early 19th century.
  • Janet White, The Sheep Stell. The Autobiography of a Shepherd, Sumach Press 1991. Part IV of this book describes the life of a present-day Quantock hill-farmer.

The Somerset Historic Environment Record, which can be accessed online at . This is a map-based database, and is good first way of finding out what is already known about the archaeology and historic buildings of your area. It also includes downloadable research reports and a reader-friendly introduction to the main themes and periods in Somerset archaeology. This gives you access to some of the historical documents and pictures held by the Somerset Record Office, as well as useful, concise background information about many aspects of Somerset local history. The rest of their amazing collection needs to be seen in person.

The Somerset Local Studies Library (part of Taunton Central Library) is the best place to go for early Ordnance Survey maps and has an exhaustive collection of local reference books, old newspapers and other fascinating sources. A visit in person is recommended. This site looks at Quantock village life today, and contains many useful links to other relevant websites. This shows how schools have made use of the important ‘jurassic’ Coast of Dorset, which is geologically similar to the Quantock coastline.

Museum of English Rural life This allows you to search the museum’s wonderful collection of images of country life, skills and traditions.

English Heritage runs these searchable databases: Pastscapes, Images of History and the National Monuments Record.

Other organisations with connections to the AONB

Core Funding Partners: The Countryside Agency is responsible for implementation of the Governments rural policies. The Countryside Agency is the statutory body working to:
make life better for people in the countryside; and
improve the quality of the countryside for everyone. Somerset County Council – View this site for all information regarding the County Council and it’s services. Sedgemoor District Council – View this site for all information regarding the district council and its services. Taunton Deane Borough Council - View this site for all information regarding the district council and its services. West Somerset District Council - View this site for all information regarding the district council and its services.

Other Organisations:

The AONB Service works with other organisations through much of its work. The links below include some of these organisations, though are not an exhaustive list. DEFRA – The main government department responsible for rural affairs. English Nature - English Nature is the Government funded body whose purpose is to promote the conservation of England's wildlife and natural features. English Heritage - It is the job of English Heritage to make sure that the historic environment of England is properly maintained and cared for. By employing some of the country's very best architects, archaeologists and historians, they aim to help people understand and appreciate why the historic buildings and landscapes around them matter. From the first traces of civilisation, to the most significant buildings of the 20th century, they want every important historic site to get the care and attention it deserves. The National Trust was founded in 1895 to act as a guardian for the nation in the acquisition and protection of threatened coastline, countryside and buildings. The National Trust care for over 248,000 hectares (612,000 acres) of beautiful countryside in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as over 600 miles of coastline and more than 200 buildings and gardens. The Forestry Commission is the Government Department responsible for forestry throughout Great Britain. Their mission is to protect and expand Britain’s forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment. Somerset Wildlife Trust was founded in 1964 and aims to conserve and enhance the wildlife and natural environment of Somerset. The National Association for AONBs brings together the different AONBs to share best practice and allow greater sharing of information. The South West Protected Landscapes Forum is the umbrella body for the most prized places of natural beauty in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, the Isles of Scilly, Somerset and Wiltshire. It has developed to assess the benefits of stronger networks. The CMA links professionals working in a wide range of environments from urban and country parks to national parks and other protected areas. It offers training, provides information, promotes professional and sustainable development of the countryside and urban greenspace.