Blackdown Hills Natural Landscape (AONB)

The Blackdown Hills Natural Landscape, formerly known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, straddles the border of Devon and Somerset and really showcases the best of Britain’s countryside. The area’s geology allows for a diverse variety of habitats, so you can easily spot rare plants, birds and insects while exploring.

Discover unique wildlife

The Blackdown Hills supports a rich variety of wildlife because of its diverse landscape and habitats. Whatever season you choose to visit, there will always be something to discover, just be aware to not disturb any nests or wild animals and to leave the Natural Landscape (AONB) as you found it.

Birdwatchers will have a great time exploring the Blackdown Hills, with various species like warblers, chiff chaffs, cuckoos, buzzards and kestrels, as well as butterflies and bats. There are also some fantastic woodland areas and great views across the Natural Landscape (AONB).  Combe Woods is a really good walking route for seeing wildflowers and a variety of habitats. The Natural Landscape (AONB) is also the perfect place for experiencing clear night skies due to the lack of light pollution - ideal for the stargazers among you. 

Discover East Devon’s history

One of the reasons why the  Blackdown Hills are protected is because of the incredible archaeological finds that have been uncovered there. Across the Natural Landscape (AONB), you can find iron age hill forts, evidence of the Roman occupation and a number of medieval buildings that remain to this day.

The Blackdown Hills also contains remains from WWII. Three airfields were constructed in the area, and these, as well as a range of structures, including pillboxes can still be found across the Natural Landscape (AONB).

Walking and cycling

There are a host of walks to explore and enjoy across the Blackdown Hills. Find a host of suggestions for both walking and cycling routes here.

Horse riding is also a popular activity on the Blackdown Hills, please leave gates as you find them, ride slowly past livestock and do not stray off the line of the route. Hooves can cause damage to surfaces in bad weather, so please do not jump hedgerows and pay heed to walkers, cyclists and other riders.


Enjoy the Blackdown Hills responsibly

It is important to maintain the AONB so that future generations can also enjoy it. When visiting the Blackdown Hills, remember the following:

  • Take all your litter home
  • Do not use BBQs or lanterns
  • Keep dogs under control and on a lead around farmland and areas there may be wildlife.
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • Keep to footpaths
  • Follow instructions set out on signage around the AONB
  • Be prepared for the weather and wear sensible cloths and shoes for the time of year.
  • Ticks can be found on the hills, so if exploring long grass, tuck your trousers into your socks and be sure to check yourselves and dogs or horses for ticks on your return.

You can find copies of the Countryside Code here to help you during your visit.

Bringing your dogs to the Blackdown Hills

Dogs are welcome to enjoy the AONB as much as their owners, but to make it a great place for everyone, make sure to follow the below.

  • Make sure your dog is on a lead when around livestock, you do not need to have your dog on a lead on public paths away from farm land as long as they are under control and have good recall.
  • Pick up dog’s mess
  • Keep your dog on a lead while on open land from March until the end of July to keep ground nesting birds safe and undisturbed.

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