Along the Wild Edge
Sixty people gathered at Neroche Parish Hall in Bickenhall on Friday 1st April to celebrate the launch of a very special publication about the history and landscape of the Blackdown Hills. ‘Along the Wild Edge’ brings together the work of 40 contributors and covers a huge span of subjects and history. It has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is being offered to local residents for free.
The book takes the reader on a journey through the northern Blackdown Hills, following the edge of the scarp above Wellington and Taunton, and discovering the human and natural history of the landscape.
It explores the Iron Age on Blackdown Common, the Roman period in the foothills near Taunton, the Saxon estates and the Domesday Book records. Chapters explore the gargoyles of local churches, the history of the Wellington Monument, the wartime RAF at Culmhead, the Camden Artists at Applehayes and the nineteenth century estate at Otterhead.
The book has been produced with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Neroche Landscape Partnership Scheme. As such, the book is not being offered for sale and instead a copy is being offered free to all residents of the parishes within the Neroche Scheme area, together with others from outside the area who have been involved with the area in some way.
It has been a truly local effort, with contributions from both amateur and professional writers coordinated by the Neroche team. The result is the most comprehensive book ever published about the Blackdown Hills, with a high quality finish and beautiful imagery.
Writing in the preface to the book, Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "This book reflects the energy, creativity, curiosity and deep sense of affection of so many people for the Blackdown Hills. It is a fitting testament to the power of communities to reflect and add to their heritage, and the Heritage Lottery Fund is pleased to have supported the Neroche Scheme in producing this lasting legacy."
Neroche Scheme Manager Gavin Saunders said: "We are delighted with the book, and hugely grateful to everyone who has given their time and knowledge to make it happen. Offering it to all residents in the northern part of the Blackdowns is our way of thanking everyone for their support and enthusiasm throughout the five years of the Neroche Scheme, and offering a lasting record of the Hills which hopefully will inspire people to explore it more deeply.
Distribution of the book is now finished. We have now run out of all copies. If you would like to borrow a copy they are available through the Somerset Libraries lending service.