Quantock Hills


Bridgwater & Taunton
Steart Marshes
Burnham & Cheddar
Quantock Hills
Along the Line of the West Somerset Railway


  The Quantock Hills were Britain's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I hope to show you why they richly deserve this status through my photos on this page.

Click on the thumbnail photos to see them full size in a new window.

Over Stowey church

Over Stowey church

Over Stowey church

Over Stowey churchyard as pretty as a picture with daffodils and primroses!


Ponies in the shade at Seven Sisters

To maintain the vegetation there is a herd of Exmoor Ponies on Cothelstone Hill, above Bishops Lydeard.  They are seen here sheltering under the trees known as Seven Sisters.


Ponies under the trees at Seven Sisters

The old and new trees at Seven Sisters silhouetted against a sunny November sky, some of the ponies were grazing beside them.


Exmoor ponies on the Quantocks

The ponies seemed more interested in the view than the grass, they are hardy animals that can thrive on comparatively poor grazing.


The old and new Seven Sisters trees on the Quantocks

The trees seen from the other side lit by the autumn sun.  As the original trees have neared the end of their lives a new group, on the right, was planted, they are now well established and only three of the originals remain.

Ponies with Taunton in the background

Another view including the ponies, this time looking away from Seven Sisters and out over Taunton in May 05.


Ponies on the Quantocks

In March 06 the ponies were near the site of the above photo, the difference in vegetation is all the more marked due to the lateness of spring in 2006.


Steep Home in the mist seen from Cothelstone Hill

The island of Steep Holme seems to float in the mist above Hinckley Point power station on the coast below the Quantocks.  Not only did the mist make the island seem nearer than usual but is also seemed much larger.


Autumn on the Quantocks

Autumn berries bringing colour to the Quantocks

Berries in the autumn

Some autumn scenes near Seven Sisters, while one tree was bare others were laden with berries.



Autumn on the Quantock Hills

Bracken dying back in autumn with a wooded hillside beyond, whatever the season there are scenes to please the eye all over the Quantocks.


View from the hills

Just down from Seven Sisters I spotted this view with the Blackdown Hills visible through a gap in the trees.


Bluebells on the Quantocks

Bluebells on the Quantocks

In late May 2005 there were bluebells everywhere around Seven Sisters.



Catkins at Seven Sisters

In March 2006 it was catkins that were much in evidence.



Bishops Lydeard from Cothelstone Hill

Turning the other way there is a view down into the valley between the Quantock and Brendon Hills, this view is looking down on Bishops Lydeard.


Minehead from Cothelstone

Looking along the the valley Minehead and North Hill are visible in the distance, Butlin's can be picked out by the white tops of part of its site.


Looking east on Cothelstone

This view looks east from Cothelstone, the Mendip Hills can be seen in the background and Bridgwater is visible on the valley floor.


Cothelstone towards Taunton

Taunton is hidden behind the tree covered ridge in this view, the Blackdown Hills can be seen in the background.  The high points on the Quantocks offer views over a vast area, on clear days well across into South Wales as well as to the high points of Dartmoor and Exmoor.

Longhorn on Cothelstone

As well as ponies the managed grazing includes some Longhorn cattle such as this one with the Vale of Taunton Deane in the distance behind him.



Another Longhorn sitting out the heat of the day on top of the ridge.  Wild red deer also live on the Quantocks but are somewhat harder to spot, one day this winter we saw 18 in the trees near here but didn't have a camera with us that day.


Buzzard over Cothelstone Hill

A buzzard circling over the top of Cothelstone Hill.



House in the hills

A house nestling between the hills, lovely setting.



Steep Holm and Flat Holm

The view out over the Bristol Channel with the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm visible through the haze.  On a clear day you can see Brean Down, at the tip of the Mendips and the Welsh coast from here.

Seven Sisters

A final view on Cothelstone Hill showing the ponies sheltering under the Seven Sisters trees.




Quantock ponies at Dead Womans Ditch

Some free ranging Quantock Ponies by a holly tree near Dead Woman's Ditch, on the top of the hills.


Sheep at Dead Woman's Ditch

Nearby were these sheep, with Bridgwater vaguely discernable in the background.


View from Dead Womans Ditch

A third view from Dead Woman's Ditch, this time looking towards the sea.



On Bagborough Hill

On Bagborough Hill

A couple of autumn views around Bagborough Hill.



Autumn scene on the Quantocks

Summer scene on the Quantocks

Two views of the same location, on the left in November, on the right August, you can see a curved branch in both to link them.


View on Lydeard Hill View on Lydeard Hill View on Lydeard Hill

Some views taken on Lydeard Hill in August.



Autumnal Quantocks

Dropping down towards the coast my wife spotted this autumnal scene.



Kilve pond

On the way down to the beach at Kilve you pass the village pond with its resident family of ducks.


Steam at Kilve Beach

The stream from the pond passes through a reed bed before emerging on to the shingle beach.


Stream across Kilve beach

The stream spreads across the shingle on its way to the sea.



Cliff at Kilve beach

The cliffs here are of layers of shale separated by limestone, you can see here how the soft shale is eroded undermining the harder limestone.


Kilve beach

At the top of the beach the limestone layers remain with the shale washed away.


Steps of rock on Kilve beach

Looking up the beach at the step effect created by erosion.



View west along Kilve beach

Looking west along Kilve beach towards Watchet and Minehead.



View west along Kilve beach

Looking west the view is more limited.  Incidentally we had stayed up on the rocks rather than going down on the shingle to explore the rock pools for marine life - which was sadly lacking on this occasion.


Fault line in cliff

There are several fault lines in the cliffs, such as seen here, which often offer a weak spot that the sea exploits.


Cliff at Kilve

A last look at the cliff showing the continuation of the limestone layers across the beach.


Oil retort at Kilve

In 1916 it was found that the shale at Kilve contained oil, in 1924 Shaline Ltd built this retort to extract it.  Perhaps fortunately for the scenery this proved to be uneconomic and the project was soon abandoned.




Quantock Lodge

Quantock Lodge is a grand house that for many years was a school but is now used for training courses and so on.


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This site was last updated 04/04/2015