Slow the Flow project

Pioneering work to slow the flow of water from the Quantock Hills down to the Somerset Levels is being funded by Somerset Rivers Authority.

The project is partly a reaction to three unusually intense, localised storms that raged near to West Bagborough, and over Aisholt Common and Great Wood, last May. Around 1,200 tonnes of soil and gravel were washed down gullies, blocking roads and culverts which it then took weeks to clear.

Andy and the volunteers have been out on the hills getting their hands dirty, fifteen woody dams have been created along four gullies. Also sections of silver birch trunk laid down in gullies, to hold back water and debris on Aisholt Common. The project is a partnership between Quantock Hills AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group SW (FWAG SW) and Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA). The SRA is using Growth Deal money from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

The SRA say “We’ve now approved more than 90 applications for natural flood management schemes in the upper and mid catchments of the River Parrett and the River Tone, but this is the first time we’ve funded work on top of the Quantocks. The more of these schemes we have, the more we can reduce flood risks, so it’s excellent to keep spreading the net.”

It follows consultation and advice in the scheme design with Roy Hayes, a Natural England Catchment Sensitive Farming expert currently on secondment to FWAG SW.  Mr Hayes said: “A lot of works have been done in places that it’s difficult for members of the public to see, but as these woody debris dams are on Open Access land on top of the Quantock Hills and close to the Samaritans Way South West, we’re hoping they’ll serve as more visible demonstrations of what can be done to Slow the Flow.”

Silver birch trees have been chosen for felling and use in dams because they are an invasive species encroaching upon an open heathland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Removal provides more light for ground flora and opens up grazing for Commoners.


Our ranger Andy Stevenson adds “This pilot project is focusing on Aisholt Common, but we’re looking to do a lot more next autumn and winter, possibly trialling some other techniques, such as using rolls of coir matting – made from coconut husk fibres – as permeable barriers.  With Slow the Flow and with the removal of Silver Birch, we’re taking the same approach. It’s about getting on top of a problem.” 

Katy Coate - April 2017

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

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