Fallen Fruits

A new project gets to the core of orchard decline and celebrates their importance.

Orchards are an integral feature of Somerset's physical, cultural and economic landscapes.  Over the past half century, mirroring national trends orchard cover has declined dramatically (63% nationally since 1950, according to a 2011 report by Natural England). 

An ongoing collaboration between the Quantock Hills AONB Service and the University of Bristol's Department of Historical Studies, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council has revealed that orchards may have been a larger ingredient in the Quantocks than previously thought.  Indeed initial studies show that in 1840 there were around 1,400 orchards in the Quantocks whereas today there are just 11.

The project has created a new set of multi-layered maps that plot former, current and remnant orchards within the AONB area and its buffer zone.  Using ordnance survey maps, aerial maps, 19th century tithe maps and additional archive material, the maps reveal the story of orchard decline over the last 150 years.  The project maps are available for public view at the AONB office in Fyne Court on request.

How this decline has affected the people who live and work in the Quantocks is an integral part of the story, and so 'Apple Heritage Day' on the 19th October 2013 aims to bring everyone together from keen gardener to dedicated cider drinker, the artistic and the rustic, young and old.  The day will be a chance to celebrate everything apple that still exists in and around the Quantocks, but also serve as a chance to record memories and collect local knowledge and know-how.  Apple identification, apple poetry and talks by specialists will take part amongst stalls selling juice and cider, sausages and all manner of apple based delicacies.  To find out more about the day click here

It is hoped that the project will continue beyond the Quantock Apple Heritage Day, with an aim to help local communities create community orchards, or bring old remant orchards back to their former glory.  Information gathered during the course of the event will also help to inform the forthcoming Quantock Hills AONB Management Plan


Katy Coate - June 2013


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Annual Reports

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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

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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

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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

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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