Questions we often get asked.....

What should I do if I find fly tipping?  

If next to the highway or laybys this is the responsibility of the local district council so it needs to be reported to them.  Please let us know at quantockhills@somerset.gov.uk and we can pass on the information through the districts’ online reporting services.

If on private land, then it is the responsibility of the landowner to remove it.  If you know who that is, let them know or contact us and we can help forward information onto the relevant person.   

When and where can I let my dog off the lead? 

The grass and heathland of the Quantocks is a prime breeding habitat for nationally rare and sensitive reptiles and ground nesting birds, so between 1st March and 31st July the rule on Quantock open access land is to stick to the public rights of way and keep your dog under control and on a lead.

 

Search here to find out which land is open access

On other parts of the hills (not open access) you must keep to rights of way, your dog can be off the lead but must be under close control.  Unless you are sure of your dog’s recall, always keep them on a lead when walking on rights of way or near livestock.  Be aware that all year-round farmers with rights of common have their cattle, sheep and horses roaming free on the hilltop. Remember, it is legal for a farmer to shoot a dog that is worrying their livestock, so ensure that you keep your dog completely under control.

Where can I ride on my Mountain Bike?

You can ride your mountain bike on any Bridleway or Restricted Byway on the hills, we recommend the Ordnance Survey 140 Explorer map which has these all marked clearly as shown in the legend below.

 

Also on the ground they are waymarked with a blue (Bridleway) or purple (Restricted Byway) arrow waymarker

What should I do if I see vehicles off road?

If you see a vehicle (car, quad or motorbike) driving or parked more than 15 yards from the highway on the open hilltop we would recommend you call the police on the 101 non-emergency number to report the incident.  If you can manage to take down the registration and a description of the vehicle this is even better but please don’t endanger yourself in doing so.  This information can then be checked against those who have permission to drive off road (see hunting below) and prosecutions can potentially be made.

Why do I see hunting on the hills, I thought it was banned? 

The Hunting Act 2004 (c 37) banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales, however the Act does not cover the use of dogs in the process of flushing out an unidentified wild mammal, nor does it affect drag hunting, where hounds are trained to follow an artificial scent.  So in reality hunting is not banned but the Act places significant restrictions on hunting activities.  

Some landowners have given the hunt permission to use their land for hunting, in some cases allowing vehicles following the activity onto the common providing the hunt stays within the law. If you believe that you have seen the hunt engaging in activities that are not permitted under the Hunting Act, then please contact the police.  It is not within the remit or the powers of the Quantock Hills AONB to investigate or take enforcement action in respect of illegal hunting.

Impacts of the activity are discussed between the landowners and Natural England because the common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  The Quantock Hills Deer Management Group also liaise with landowners and interested parties about the deer population.

Can I have a memorial tree planted or scatter ashes on the Quantocks? 

Unfortunately we don’t have any memorial areas for tree planting on the hills, although there is a Life for a Life memorial forest in Durleigh .   

 

Scattering of ashes needs permission from the landowner, – you can ask us and we contact landowners on your behalf.  If a landowner says yes, then as an AONB we would stipulate that no offerings/signage are left at the site and the ashes are carefully scattered and not piled up (as this can damage the soil).

Can I forage for mushrooms on the Hills? 

Yes you can forage for mushrooms for your own consumption although we would recommend that you are highly experienced and know your field mushroom from your death cap!

Please note though, removal of any flora or fauna (including mushrooms or fallen wood) from areas of SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) on the Quantocks is prohibited.  Find out which areas are SSSI using this interactive map. 

Can I go wild camping on the Hills? 

Where is a good place to park my horse box to ride on the hills?

Landowners do not allow wild camping on the Quantocks or in parking areas. Fortunately there are a number of very nice camp sites around the base of the hills which allow you to walk or ride straight onto the hills without the need for your car.  Here is a link to our ‘eat and stay’ page which lists some of them. If you discover any others please let us know. 

There are various places which we would deem suitable for parking a horse box. 

Ramscombe - (GR ST 165 377) this is a Forestry Commission site and parking is Pay and Display.  The access is relatively flat and there is plenty of room to manoeuvre.  

From Taunton – travel out through Kingston St Mary and straight over the cross roads at the Pines Café following signs for Nether Stowey.  Stay on this road until you see signs for Over Stowey, turn left at the Marsh Mills crossroads where Ramscombe is then signposted.  Continue over the cattle grid and follow the lower track towards Ramscombe car park. 

 

From Bridgwater – travel through Spaxton, continue past Hawkridge Reservoir on your right.  At the T-junction just past the reservoir turn right and stay on this road until you see signs for Over Stowey, turn left at the Marsh Mills crossroads where Ramscombe is then signposted.  Continue over the cattle grid and follow the lower track towards Ramscombe car park.

Woodlands Hills Layby -  (GR ST 157408) suitable for larger vehicles this is directly beside the A39 between Nether Stowey and Holford.  

Triscombe Stone (GR ST 151350) or Cockercombe (GR ST 187366) - the parking around Cockercombe Forestry Commission office is flat and easy to access, the drive from here up to Triscombe stone is quite steep and narrow.  Although passable we would only recommend this with a smaller vehicle.     

From Taunton – travel out through Kingston St Mary and straight over the cross roads at the Pines Café following signs for Nether Stowey.  Continue on this road past Hawkridge Reservoir, around some sharp bends, through the small settlement of Plainsfield.  Once on the straight take a left turn off the road signposted to Triscombe Stone.  Follow this lane, over the cattle grid and the Cockercombe Forestry Office is on the left.   Continue past this and bear right, travel up the hill about 1 mile until you come to a sharp left hand bend follow the road around and continue till you come to Triscombe Stone parking area.    

 

From Bridgwater – travel through Spaxton, continue past Hawkridge Reservoir on your right.  At the T-junction just past the reservoir turn right.   Continue around some sharp bends, through the small settlement of Plainsfield.  Once on the straight take a left turn off the road signposted to Triscombe Stone.  Follow this lane, over the cattle grid and the Cockercombe Forestry Office is on the left.  Continue past this and bear right, travel up the hill about 1 mile until you come to a sharp left hand bend follow the road around and continue till you come to Triscombe Stone parking area.    

Some useful downloads......

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QH AONB guide with useful map inside  

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CONTACT US:

Telephone: 01823 451884

Email: quantockhills@somerset.gov.uk

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Page Photo Credits:

Coast Image - Tim Rogers (Photo Competition Entry 2016/17)

Heath Image - Quantock Hills AONB 

Combe Image - Quantock Hills AONB 

Events Page Background Image - Ian Sherlock (Photo Competition Entry 2018)

Blog Page Background Image - Sally Pryde (Photo Competition Entry 2018)