Hey, if you're booked onto an Quantock Hills AONB Event, please read the below before you come along
Guided Walks and Event Information
Health and Safety
AONB Staff leading and event are first aid trained and carry first aid kits.
Wear appropriate clothing to protect you from the prevailing weather conditions, such as windproof, waterproof, warm gear etc. Remember appropriate clothing in hot weather also. Take extra clothing in a backpack if required (i.e. if clothes are likely to become waterlogged). Sturdy, waterproof footwear should be worn.
Children should always be accompanied by a parent / guardian and are the responsibility of the accompanying adult.
The Quantock Hills have a fantastic range of habitats (woodland, rough grassland, heathland etc) which are home for all sorts of wildlife; however there is one little beasty we are not so keen for you to experience – the Tick. Please read the tick information below.
Trips, slips and falls are a common hazard of all fieldwork environments. Please take care how and where you place your feet, especially if carrying a load. Some people find a walking pole a useful aid in negotiating steep or uneven ground. Always move carefully over the ground, especially where it is uneven, rocky or covered in vegetation, avoiding loose boulders, burrows etc. Beware of potentially soft or slippery ground.
Walks being led at dawn or dusk can be or become dark surprisingly quickly, especially in a woodland environment obscuring the nature of the ground and any obstructions or holes. Please bring a torch to events that are being held early morning / late evening.
Most wild and many domestic animals will flee from people if able to do so. Any animal which feels threatened and which cannot escape may attack. Domestic and farm animals (especially dogs) will react to your body language. Always follow the guidance of the event leader and do not approach any animals unless advised it is safe to do so.
Do not leave any valuables in your car.
Events may be cancelled if severe weather is forecasted. Events may be shortened if weather conditions deteriorate.
If dogs are allowed on an event please ensure they remain on a lead at all times unless the event leader states they are happy for dogs to be off leads.
Although a rough indication of the time taken for each event is given on each on the publicity this can vary especially for wildlife events. If you need to leave promptly or early please inform the event leader.
Photographs may be taken throughout the event and used in AONB publications / presentations. If you do not wish to be in any of the photos please speak to the event leader.
Male Female Engorged
A tick is a small, blood-sucking mite. Normally it lives on blood from wild animals, such as deer, but occasionally it may attach itself to humans when they walk through grass, rough vegetation, bracken or heathland. Most tick bites are harmless but, occasionally, the tick carries a small bacterium called Borrelia burghdorferi in its stomach. This bacterium causes Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease is an infection caused by bacteria that can be transmitted by ticks when they bite (not every tick carries Lyme Disease). The infection can affect the skin, cause partial paralysis of the face (Bells Palsy) and cause serious illness of the nervous system, joints and heart. Ticks are tiny flat bodied, spider-like creatures that attach themselves to passing animals or persons for a blood meal. The highest risk was thought to be from April to October when the tick was most active and feeding, but research has shown that, in certain areas, ticks may be active throughout the year.
Can it be prevented?
Yes. When visiting the countryside keep to open paths and always keep your skin covered (wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts) whilst passing through areas of rough vegetation. Tuck trousers into socks if necessary. Light coloured clothes will help you spot ticks and brush them off. At regular intervals check your clothing and exposed skin for ticks. At the end of the day completely check over your body for ticks. Dogs are susceptible to Lyme Disease and may cause them to develop arthritis at an early age. Insect repellents and repellent collars for pets may help prevent ticks getting hold.
What if I am bitten?
Remove the tick as soon as possible by grasping it close to the skin with a pair of tweezers. Apply gentle pressure, twist anti-clockwise and pull upwards. Pull slowly and consistently until it lets go. Do not squeeze the body of the tick or attempt to remove the tick through burning or chemicals. If the tick is accidentally pulled apart and the head remains in the skin, there may be a risk of infection from other microscopic organisms. This kind of infection is not related to Lyme Disease but can still be unpleasant. Consult a doctor if infection occurs. Save the tick in a sealed container in case you develop symptoms later.
Should I see my Doctor?
The disease might show itself as expanding reddish, round rash in the area of the bite. Usually this will occur within three to thirty days of a bite. Early symptoms may resemble influenza (flu), with swollen glands near the site, mild headaches, aching muscles and joints, and tiredness. If you develop any of these symptoms and you suspect that a tick has bitten you, inform your doctor. Lyme Disease is treatable with antibiotics and the earlier it is diagnosed, the better. You can get more information from the tick leaflets downloadable here.