I’m Jess, and I am working with the Quantock AONB service for my Work Experience. I’m 15 and have always loved the Quantocks and going there with family, so this placement is fantastic!
It is a roasting hot Monday on Cothelstone Hill, and I am watering the young trees. Even the flies are drowsy in the sun... I pour cold clear water on the growing saplings. If you don’t focus on the heat on your back, it’s quite therapeutic. I reach the last tree and make my way back to Ranger Andy’s truck. We patrol for the horses, and eventually find them. Andy tells me they’re the most photographed animals in Somerset, and I’m not really surprised. Their coats gleam in the sun and they canter freely single-file, so you wouldn’t really guess they’re quite old. They look as though they’re really enjoying life. As we leave Cothelstone Hill for Crowcombe Park Gate, we have to re-dig the water channels, so in wetter weather the rain won’t flood down the track. It’s difficult, and eventually we get the job done. The trees provide shade, casting a yellow-green light over everything. Andy’s dog Alfie lies luxuriantly on the grass bank, chewing on a stick, looking very relaxed compared to me and Andy, building up a bank of earth for the water to hit. I have always loved Crowcombe Park Gate for its wide, flat heath, sweeping away to command views of most of the Quantocks. But until we patrolled through there, I never fully realised quite the extent of the bumpiness of the roads! It’s a bit like those Boneshaker bicycles, lurching from side to side as we travel through the narrow, high-banked tracks. We go past the Ruby Red Devon cattle grazing on the heather, and horses that certain people keep on the Common Land.