Skip to content Skip to navigation


Project has now ended

Tuesday, 31st January 2017

Whilst the Discovering Black Down project is now complete, the website will remain active and we hope you enjoy learning more about the area. If you have any queries please contact the Mendip Hills AONB Unit, 01761 462338 or email:

Phone App

Friday, 23rd December 2016

The Discovering Black Down phone app is now available form the Google Play store and Apple store. To discover all about the natural and historical heritage and go on self guided walks then download this Free app now. To view the promo video click here 

Drone filming

Tuesday, 19th July 2016

Visitors to Black Down and Burrington Ham may have heard a drone flying overhead recently. The drone was being used to take some aerial films of the area for the phone app which is currently being developed. The app will be available over the summer to allow users to go on a selection of walks to find out all about the geology and local history of the commons. 

Summer Fun.

Thursday, 16th June 2016

Bookings are now being taken for the FREE family fun days being organised during the sumer holidays. So why not join us to have fun learning all about the wildlife and history of the Burrington Commons. To book onto these exciting events go to the calendar.  

Students help restore damaged heathland

Friday, 6th May 2016

Students from the City of Bristol College have spent a day working hard to restore heathland that a group of Mountain Bikers have damaged. The bikers had dug up large sections of this important wildlife habitat to make a bike trail. This not only killed off the ground flora but also may have damaged underlying archaeology.

Mountain Bike Damage to Heathland

Friday, 6th May 2016

Recently a small number of mountain bikers have been digging up important heathland on Black Down to make a downhill trail. This has caused considerable damage to this fragile habitat that is internationally threatened. Whilst it is good to see teenagers pursuing a healthy lifestyle and showing some initiative, unfortunately this is the wrong thing in the wrong place.

Burrington Ham Nature Log Book

Tuesday, 26th January 2016

The Burrington Ham Nature Log Book is an interactive journal that was developed for primary schools to help pupils learn all about the wildlife on Burrington Ham through the year. Although primarily aimed at schools the journal can be used by individuals, families and anyone who wants to learn more about the fascinating wildlife on the Ham. You can download the whole journal or you can just select the individual seasons that you wish to use. 

FREE 2016 Discovering Black Down Calendar

Thursday, 17th December 2015

The entries to the photographic competition were all of a high quality making it difficult for the judges to decide. However the winning photograph that was chosen was Pete Brains dramatic and atmospheric photo of Beacon Batch in the snow. Congratulations to Pete and thanks to all those who entered. The winning photo can be seen along with other entries on the Discovering Black Down Calendar. For a FREE copy of the calendar send your address via the contact page.    

New Path Works on Black Down

Thursday, 17th September 2015

Major new path works have started to improve the path on the top of Black Down . The gulley that runs between the tumps, from Beacon Batch towards Rowberrow, is being filled in and resurfaced in order to protect the tumps from erosion. The works will take a couple of months and it is advised to avoid the area whilst construction takes place. 

New Permanent Orienteering Course.

Wednesday, 9th September 2015

A new permanent orienteering course has now been installed on Burrington Ham. This brand new course is designed for use by schools and uniformed groups as well as families and individuals. The maps and information can be downloaded form the resource centre on this website and used independently at anytime. 

Free Holiday Activities

Thursday, 6th August 2015

The Free holiday activities continue today at 1pm starting from the upper caer park in Burrington Combe. Todays event, "Tremendous Trees" will be a fun afternoon of games and activities looking at the importance of trees to both man and beast!! This event is free so just turn up to join in the fun.

Starfish Film

Tuesday, 12th May 2015

The Children of Blagdon Primary school with some help from Ruth Coleman (Starfish Producer) and Biggerhouse Film, visited Black Down and researched the story of Starfish to produce a short film. Now that the world Premiere has taken place, the film can now be viewed here

Starfish Stories.

Friday, 27th March 2015

Since the successful walk on Black Down where 40 people turned up to discover the secret of Starfish, we have now uploaded some personal stories of people who were involved in the secret history of the Decoy Town. To listen to the stories click here

Winter Wander

Thursday, 26th February 2015

With spring just around the corner, now is a great chance to come on a walk over Black Down and Burrington Ham to see all the historical features in the landscape that will soon be hidden by the lush vegetation of the coming seasons. To Join Project Officer, Stuart Bardsley, on this four and a half mile easy paced walk on Saturday 28th Feb click here. 

Unearthing The Hidden History

Monday, 12th January 2015

If you are keen to find out all about the fascinating history of the Burrington Commons, then why not come along on the walk on wednesday 14th Jan. Join local historians to look at the archaeological reamains to piece together the history of land use over the last 10,500 years.   You can book on by going to our calendar of events

Photography Competition

Tuesday, 23rd December 2014

The entries to the photographic competition were all of a high quality making it difficult for the judges to decide. However the winning photograph that was chosen was Pete Brains dramatic and atmospheric photo of Beacon Batch in the snow. Conratulations to Pete and thanks to all those who entered. The winning photo can be seen along with other entries on the Discovering Black Down Calendar. For a free copy of the calendar send your adress via the contact page. 

Winter visitors

Friday, 12th December 2014

Now that the cold weather is upon us we are starting to see more of our winter visitors. One visitor from Eastern Europe Russia or Scandinavia is the Jack Snipe ahas been spotted on Black Down.You have to be lucky to see one though as they are well camoflauged and hide away until the very last minute of disturbance and they like the really boggy areas of Black Down.

Ring ouzel sighted.

Tuesday, 11th November 2014

A Ring ouzel has been sighted on Black Down at the end of last week. This bird which breeds in the Upland areas of Scotland, Wales and Dartmoor has usually left for the warmer area of the Mediterranean by the end of September. It is obviously making use of the warmer than usual autumn weather and this years bountiful supply of berries. If you see any unusual sightings of this or any other animals then let us know.

Free Half Term Fun

Tuesday, 28th October 2014

If you are looking for a free way to entertain the children during this October Half Term then why not come along to the free event on Burrington Ham on Thursday 30th October. Autumn Antics is a fun way to explore Burrington Ham looking at the wonderful colours of autumn and a chance to become a nature detective to see which animals are eating all the nuts. To book on the event go to the calendar.  

Devon Red Cattle

Tuesday, 23rd September 2014

At present there is a small herd of Devon Red cattle which are currently on Burrington Ham. They have not escaped from somewhere else, but in fact are there on purpose to help manage the grassland for wildlfe. The Devon Red is a gentle, docile grazer causing minimal damage to grassland.  They will graze and thrive on marginal land and unimproved permanent pastures so are ideal for helping to manage Black Down and Burrington Ham.

Mountain Biking

Monday, 15th September 2014

We have  had a couple of complaints recently about mountain bikers riding too fast and startling walkers and horse riders. Please remember to slow down when approaching other users and give a little ring on your bell (having one is a legal requirement) well in advance. Now that the nights are drawing in, the use of a bike light in the evening will also help warn other users of you approach.

Bee Scene

Wednesday, 13th August 2014

There are still a few places left on the Bee Scene family event on Thursday 14th August. There will be the chance to get to look at the several types of bees living on Burrington Ham and to join in lots of games and activities too. To book on to this exciting event, go to the calendar

Stone Age Bone Age

Friday, 8th August 2014
Shelter building

Over forty people spent the afternoon on Burrington ham learning about what life may have been like in the stone age. Arrow heads found on Burrington Ham and animal bones in the caves are all clues to the fact that nomadic hunter gatherers lived here over 10,000years ago. Have a look at the photo gallery to see how our modern day families coped with life in the stone age. 

Free Holiday Activities

Thursday, 17th July 2014

If you are at a loose end during the summer holidays, then why not bring along your family to one of the free holiday activities on Burrington Ham. There will be lots of games and activities, minibeast safaris, bee surveys, shelterbuilding and much much more. Check out the Calender to sign up to these FREE events. 

What Lies Beneath

Thursday, 19th June 2014

If you are interested in seeing bats flying around, but do not want to stay up late waiting for dusk at this time of year, why not try and catch a glimpse as you walk past a cave. Bats can be occasionally seen feeding during the day in the entrance to East Twin Swallett or Reads cavern as the dark entrance provides enough protection to the bat whilst catching the insects flying in the shade. But remember to stay out to stay safe and the bats will be able to feed undisturbed too.

A Wealth of Wildlife

Tuesday, 17th June 2014
Small Pearl Bordered Fratillary

The warm sunny weather provides the perfect conditions for a whole host of wildlife. From birds to bats, amphibians to arachnids, Black Down and Burrington Ham are teeming with life at this time of the year. Look out for the Small Pearl Bordered Fratillary and Small Heath butterflies on Burrington Ham which can be seen all over at the moment.

Resurfaced Path on Black Down

Thursday, 8th May 2014

A section of path on the top of Black Down has been resurfaced. The completed works will now make it easier to walk on what was a very badly waterlogged section of path which was getting wider and was in danger of eroding the Bronze Age Barrows.

Still in the Stone Age

Monday, 7th April 2014

If you are at a loose end during your school holidays, then why dont you join us at Burrington Combe tomorrow for a fun filled afternoon of games and activities looking at the geology and history of the caves in the area. Meet at 2pm at the lower car park in Burrington Combe, just past the Burrington Inn next to the public Toilets.

Foggy Day

Wednesday, 12th March 2014

The mendip hills are covered in a thick fog today. So if you were thinking of visiting Black Down to see the amazing views from Beacon Batch then you may have to rethink your plans.