This project targeted communities who are currently not accessing the Hills, but for whom access to the natural environment may be of great benefit to them. The reasons for the current lack of engagement for these groups may be mediated by social-economic status, ethnicity, age, disability and mental health. For the Quantock Hills the target areas are Bridgwater, Taunton and Williton. The project provided supported visits, volunteering opportunities, monitoring and evaluation. Funded by Somerset Public Health, the project focused on targeting communities that lie geographically close to the 3 AONBs, specifically:
Blackdown Hills - Taunton, Chard and Wellington
Mendip Hills - Wells, Cheddar and Burnham-on-Sea
Quantock Hills - Taunton, Bridgwater and Williton
Somerset’s Nature and Wellbeing Project
Our former Nature and Wellbeing Officer - Kristen Lambert said:
Having worked on and coordinated outdoor play, community development and active travel projects for various different charities and associations, I am really excited about working to establish health and wellbeing partnerships across the 3 areas of the county and supporting more groups and individuals to reap the various health and wellbeing benefits of these natural landscapes. As Nature and Wellbeing Officer my aim was to:
Increase awareness of what Somerset's AONBs offer.
Engage with local health and wellbeing partners to develop a menu of activities that will lead to offering a range of introductory pilot sessions across the 3 areas.
Encourage specific groups and individuals not currently accessing Somerset's AONBs, to visit and experience the benefits to physical and mental health and wellbeing.
To ensure project sustainability, provide information and training to relevant professionals and groups, in order to develop confidence and knowledge in accessing Somerset's AONBs for future visits and activities.
Download the full project evaluation and executive summary here:
Somerset Nature Connections
Somerset Nature Connections builds on the work delivered by the Somerset AONB's Nature & Wellbeing Project between 2016 - 2019 through Somerset County Council Public Health funding.
Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the partnership project with the Somerset Wildlife Trust,
Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Blackdown Hills AONB's (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty)
will support local communities and individuals most vulnerable to mental health issues, providing better access to nature spaces to encourage and increase
self-management for individuals, and develop a
network of skilled volunteers who can
support communities for the longer term.
The Nature Connections team are looking for volunteer specialists to lead sessions in
carpentry, green woodworking, outdoor art, mindfulness practitioners, horticultural skills, botanists or knowledgeable species enthusiasts and those with skills in ICT/technology
To find out more about the project
and to get involved visit:
Working Well Volunteers
Monthly 10.00am - 2.00pm
Come and help us look after the beautiful landscape of the Quantock Hills through monthly volunteering tasks.
This is a friendly, supportive group and there is no pressure to finish tasks - we just want people to enjoy being involved in a positive activity in a beautiful, varied, natural environment. Hot drinks and biscuits will be provided, but bring a packed lunch.
What will the sessions involve? The tasks will involve physical activity and are all outside; instructions, tools and working gloves will be provided but sturdy, flat shoes and warm clothes are required (please let us know if you need support sourcing these).