Somerset

Quantock Hills: Views sought on future protection plan

People living on or near the Quantock Hills in Somerset are being asked for their views on how best to protect the area in future.

The Quantock Hills are protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and cared for by a partnership of organisations.

A five-year management plan guides their work and sets out objectives.

Information gained from a questionnaire will be used to produce a new five-year plan.

'Very lean'

"Due to funding cuts, resources are now very tight and so it is more important than ever to ensure that attention is concentrated on the right areas of work," said Anthony Trollope-Bellew, chairman of the Quantock Hills AONB partnership.

"We want people who live in, work in and enjoy visiting the Quantocks to tell us what is important to them."

The partnership has a small core of staff who work to source funding for practical work which has been identified as necessary.

The area manager, Chris Edwards, said AONB groups had always been "very lean" and therefore "used to cutting our cloth accordingly".

But he said with less funding available it was likely that some trails would not receive as much attention in terms of information and interpretation boards.

The core element of the partnership's work, to protect important habitats, would continue unaffected, he added.

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