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2009-14 Management Plan Key Achievements

Key Achievements - listed under 2009-14 Management Plan themes

Landscape Quality

  • 2009/10 Black Down Advisory Group established
  • 2010/11 Black Down Project work included installation of vehicle barriers and boulders to prevent illegal vehicle access and installed new signage at entrances to raise awareness of significance of site.
  • 2010- 12 development and submission of bid to Heritage Lottery Fund for 3 year Discovering Black Down bid that received approval Dec 2012.
  • May 2013 Discovering Black Down Project Officer appointed for 3 years

Biodiversity and Geodiversity

  • 2009 AONB Annual Forum on Geoparc status
  • 2011 saw first annual Mendip Rocks programme of events promoting geology of Mendip Hills – the AONB Unit/Wells and Mendip Museum and Somerset Wildlife Trust.
  • Hawk and Owl Awareness Project
  • Since 2006 Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Mendip Living Landscape mapped over 12,000ha of land in the Mendip Hills NCA and provided survey reports to landowners. Survey work continues and a number of projects have been established: Linking species rich grasslands, Seeds for Change, Industry and Nature Partnerships.
  • In 2013 the first ecological networks for the Mendip Hills NCA were mapped and described
  • Somerset Wildlife Trust worked with Somerset County Council to incorporate a landscape-scale approach to restoration into the Somerset Minerals Plan, based on building resilience into ecological networks across the Mendip Hills NCA 141
  • Avon Wildlife Trusts Wildflower Grassland Project working in North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset areas of the Mendips since 2008 undertaken detailed wildflower surveys, produced reports and given advice to landowners and assisted farms with stewardship applications.
  • 2011 AWT established Grassland Restoration Team volunteer group providing practical help to landowners with wildflower grasslands.
  • Two Local Nature Partnerships covering the AONB set up.

Historic Environment and Cultural Heritage

  • AONB Annual Historic Environment Seminar fully booked each year sharing latest research. Since 2011the event is now organised by Wells and Mendip Museum.
  • 2010 English Heritage completed 4 year Mendip Hills AONB research project
  • 2010/11 Archaeological Management Plan produced for Black Down and Burrington Ham funded by Higher Level Stewardship grant.
  • 2011 Beacon Batch barrow on Black Down stone pitched and turf capped to protect barrow.
  • Restoration of 10 traditional highway finger posts undertaken in partnership with Somerset County Council.
  • 2012 Quarry Faces project extended to cover Mendip Hills AONB
  • Digitisation of Tithe Map project – Somerset County Council, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, AONBs

Farming and land uses

  • Development of an Ecological approach to quarry restoration –SCC Minerals Topic Paper 5 Restoration
  • Metaldehyde Project- Bristol water and farmers to reduce pesticides in water
  • 61% of farmed land under an agri environment schemes in 2013
  • Development of SWT/FWAG pilot approach for a new ELS option for legume and herb rich swards (Seeds for Change) with the potential for benefiting extensive areas of the Mendip plateau
  • Catchment Management Plans in place

Access, recreation and tourism

  • 2010/11 AONB Partnership Guidelines for Event Organisers produced
  • 2010/11 Mendip Hills AONB part of 1SW Off- Road cycling project
  • 2011 AONB Annual Forum - Benefits of a well managed landscape – attended by local businesses and others
  • 2011/12 Visitor map panels installed at 5 visitor stopping points
  • 2012 AONB Visitor leaflet (10,000) produced and distributed marking 40 years of designation
  • 2013 AONB Visitor leaflet updated
  • 2012 new plaque installed on trig point to mark 40 years of designation
  • 2012 AONB Familiarisation day held for tourism businesses
  • Strawberry Line signage – North Somerset Council installed additional signage to encourage visitors to use the line and local businesses.
  • 2012-2013 – 27911 visits to the AONB web site  of which 78% were (21844) ‘new’ visits and 17853 visits were to the Visiting page.

Development and Transport

  • 2009/10 SW Horse related development guidance published by SW Protected Landscapes
  • AONB Planning Liaison Officer responded to wide range of consultation regarding significant planning proposals including expansion of Bristol airport, National Grid route, Longleat Estates proposals for Cheddar Gorge, solar farms, wind turbines
  • 2012 National Grid announced intention to underground power lines through AONB following AONB Planning Liaison Officers work to ensure potential impacts on AONB taken into account
  • 2012/2013 Revision of horse related development and agricultural development Supplementary Design Guidance
  • Both the above adopted as Supplementary Planning Document by Sedgemoor District Council in March 2013

Participation

  • Young Ranger scheme (established 2005) has run two 2yr programmes (2009-11 and 2011-13) of 15 young people
  • 2009 Advanced Young Ranger programme established
  • 2010 Mendip Hills AONB hosted International Junior Ranger camp
  • 2010 Independent review of Mendip Hills AONB Young Rangers stated that ‘it was one of the best examples of excellence’
  • 2010 – 2012 Mendip Hills Young Rangers attended international camps in Netherlands and Slovenia
  • Mendip Hills AONB part of EUROPARC Atlantic Isles project funded by European Youth in Action programme to establish UK Young Ranger network
  • 2010 Celebration event for People and Place Project – 2yr project funded by AONB Partnership, Natural England, Somerset Wildlife Trust, National Trust to increase volunteering opportunities in the AONB.
  • 2009/10 AONB Volunteer Rob Spraggon awarded SCC Staff Award for Can Do approach to work
  • 2011- Mendip Hills AONB and Quantock Hills AONB created Volunteer Coordinator post. AONB Practical Volunteer Group established.
  • 2010 – 2013 AONB Volunteers including Young Ranger assistants, AONB Rangers and task volunteers have contributed 4887 volunteer hours worth £35,000.

Making it happen

  • Annual Reviews completed each year reporting on annual Delivery Plans
  • 2010 new AONB Partnership Terms of Reference confirmed following review and included 3 Parish Representatives appointed for 5 years.
  • Statement of Intent 2011- 2015 agreed by local authority funding partners and Defra
  • Sustainable Development Fund awarded total of £191,682 in grants to 50 projects
  • AONB Manager elected to National Association of AONBs and currently vice chairman with communication portfolio.
  • AONB web site promoting the work of the Partnership and information on the AONB