The predominate land use of the Quantock Hills is farming with over 90% of the National Landscape being managed for agriculture. On the hilltops and steep slopes the land is relatively poor which influences the type of agriculture with just over half being permanent grassland. In recent years more land has been converted to arable, especially around the fringes of the hills. Many of our farms are small with 80% of the farms within the National Landscape being under 100Ha.
As well as providing food farmland is able to provide other benefits to society. These are sometimes called ‘public goods’. Sensitive and appropriate management of farmland can provide benefits such as flood mitigation and prevention, nature and wellbeing, carbon sequestration (capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) and fuel in the form of trees and woodland. Regenerative agriculture, where the farming system enhances the soils and adds to biodiversity, will also benefit the wildlife as well as the farming system itself by increasing genetic diversity of crops and livestock, increase pollinator insects and provide for disease and pest regulation.
The farmland of the Quantock Hills is also a great place to explore with many public rights of way criss-crossing the fields. It is home to some wonderful wildlife from birds such as Yellowhammer and Linnets, buzzards and tawny and barn owls to some of our rarer species such as the pink waxcap, which is only found in species rich grasslands. In recent years you are likely to spot a roe deer as it leaps away, or if you are really lucky you may see a red deer which are usually found on the heathlands and in the woods.