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Mendip Hills AONB NMP

Mendip NMP locationThe aim of the project is to enhance understanding of the historic environment of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The AONB covers 198 square kilometres; 121 square kilometres are within Somerset with the remainder divided between North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset. 

This project was carried out by contractors from Somerset and Gloucestershire County Councils, who together created 405 new records, and amended 465.

Facing west along the Mendip Hills (NMR 23618/07). © English Heritage. NMR.

The gently undulating Carboniferous Limestone plateau photographed here on 5 July 2004 is the central feature of the AONB area. The western end of that plateau is visible in the background as the Mendip Hills drop down to the Severn Estuary (NMR 23618/07). © English Heritage. NMR.

The Historic Landscape of Mendip

The Mendip Hills have a rich archaeological heritage, ranging from Mesolithic cave deposits to Second World War military features.  The landscape appears to have had ritual importance in the Neolithic, with such field monuments as mortuary enclosures and the enigmatic Priddy Circles constructed during this period.

The landscape was exploited throughout the prehistoric as can be seen through the numerous Bronze Age barrows found throughout the Mendip AONB, often in linear cemeteries such as Priddy Nine Barrows, and Iron Age hill forts, for example at Dolebury. The Mendip Hills are rich in mineral resources and quarrying, and the remains of extraction are widespread.

The Priddy Circles (NMR 23469/33). © English Heritage. NMR.

The four Priddy Circles (of which two can be seen in this photograph taken on 18 May 2004) have been interpreted as henge monuments created for ritual purposes and are probably Neolithic. Their form is different to other known henge monuments, however, and their function is unknown. They appear to have been a focus for other ritual monuments in the landscape, such as the Priddy nine barrows and Ashen hill barrow cemeteries (NMR 23469/33). © English Heritage. NMR.

The images used on this page are copyright English Heritage unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project please contact the English Heritage Archive.

For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Aerial Survey team please contact us via email using the link above.


Aerial Investigation and Mapping - Swindon
Heritage Protection Department