A week-long festival ‘The Quantock Experience' to celebrate 60 years of national protection as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is being held at Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts on 27th June - 1st July.
The Quantock Hills AONB Service, South West Heritage Trust and Halsway Manor are proud to announce that the opening lecture of The Quantock Experience, 60th anniversary celebration week will be a talk by Professor Peter Haggett: ‘A Quantock Light: Catching a changing landscape through Art' 27th June, at 7.30pm followed by local beer and cider tasting with live music.
The festival ‘The Quantock Experience' will be a series of daytime activities and evening lectures which can be booked by the day, or as a week-long resident. Activities include a Wild Skills bushcraft session with Quantock Rangers, wildlife and plant ID walk, green woodworking and a Coleridge ‘Flycatchers' walk with Chris Jelley and lots more. Evening lectures also include ‘Coleridge and The Quantocks' talk by Tom Mayberry and ‘Quantock Archaeology' followed by an evening ceilidh with the Bristol Ceilidh Quartet.
Thursday 30th June will be a special AONB birthday, with a morning seminar of talks discussing the landscape character of the Quantocks. Dr. Andy King will discuss Quantock geology and building stones, Hazel Riley will be discussing archaeology and the man-made landscape and Emma-Jane Preece will discuss the specific landscape characteristics of the AONB. Talks will be followed by lunch and an afternoon archaeological walk led by County Archaeologist Bob Croft.
Those who are booked onto the Quantock Experience Week will be invited to attend a celebration beacon lighting on the Thursday evening, with storytelling and music. (Bring a rug and your own refreshments.)
Designated in 1956, and protected in law as an Outstanding Natural Beauty for the exceptional quality of its wide open heathland hilltops, its atmospheric ancient oak combes, its rugged Jurassic coastline, abundant wildlife and rich archaeology, the Quantock Hills is one of the finest landscapes in the country.
Quantock Hills AONB Manager, Chris Edward says:
"We are really proud to be working with some of the finest experts in the area, to bring you a week packed with activities, walks and talks that really showcase the best of the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 60 years of protecting our beautiful Quantock landscape is a real milestone and it's time to celebrate that in true Quantock style. We hope the week provides something for everyone to enjoy and find out more about the special character of this protected landscape."
Designated in 1956, alongside the Gower Peninsular and the Llyn Peninsular in Wales, The Quantock Hills became the first AONB to be designated in England. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are some of the most beautiful and cherished landscapes in Britain. There are now 46 AONBs in Britain, 33 in England, four in Wales, one straddling the English/Welsh border and eight in Northern Ireland - they cover 18% of our countryside. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are dynamic, living landscapes that underpin the economy and the health and wellbeing of society.
Georgie Grant - June 2016