Historic Heritage Volunteering

Published by Vickie Sellick on

The Quantock Hills have history and heritage of all ages, with 51 scheduled monuments in total within the AONB boundary! A scheduled monument is an archaeological feature that is designated of national importance by the government- these include well known Quantock landmarks such as Trendle Ring, Dowsborough Hill Fort and Dead Woman’s Ditch.  

Not all scheduled monuments are ancient. Monuments and archaeological remains of all dates can be given the protection of scheduling, whether they are prehistoric burial mounds, 20th-century remains of the coal industry or from World War II. Some scheduled monuments contain standing buildings or ruins but others have no visible remains above ground: it is their buried archaeology that is of national importance. 

We have a variety of volunteer groups who work with the historic heritage monuments on the hills. These include the Heritage Surveying Volunteers who undertake biannual surveys of the 51 monuments on the hills to monitor the condition of them, for example whether they are being affected by vegetation or erosion. This information then feeds directly into our management work to make sure they are protected.  

The Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme volunteers, along with the team’s Historic Heritage Officer, will look to uncover clues about the historic landscape of the area with practical work and examination of archaeological records as part of its wider programme to understand the natural, built and cultural heritage of the area.  

The team have recently been working from home, making headway with archive-based project work. The remote work has meant that volunteers are able to patiently explore digital heritage assistance, with this work being inclusive to anyone who needs to work from home. We will continue to keep this opportunity open as there is a great deal of archival work still to achieve even though national restrictions mean we can enjoy group activities outdoors. Transcribing land-tax records and interpreting and identifying new archaeological sites using LiDAR will remain invaluable tools of desk-based work and more information on these projects can be found on our website: Learn 3.4 Unlocking the Archives – QLPS, Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme 
Learn 3.5 Understanding the Landscape – QLPS, Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme 

The historic heritage volunteering offer also brings with it the chance to be involved with practical surveys, archaeology and excavations.  Research and information gathering will help to develop new areas of interest during delivery.