Mendip Society - Volunteers Needed for Editor and Talks Organisers

The Mendip Hills stretch from the island of Steep Holm and the mainland of Brean Down<br/><br/>in the west to the outskirts of Frome in the east. Some 200 sq kms, from Bleadon to<br/><br/>Chewton Mendip is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Mendip Hills stretch from the island of Steep Holm and the mainland of Brean Down in the west to the outskirts of Frome in the east. Some 200 sq kms, from Bleadon to Chewton Mendip is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

For centuries Mendip has been a centre for farming and industry, including mining and quarrying. It is a living, working and, increasingly, recreational environment.

The Mendip Society was founded in 1965 and is a registered charity with about 700 members. The Society believes the challenge is to achieve a balance of interests while conserving and protecting the Mendip Hills for future generations.

Volunteers Needed

There are challenging times ahead for everyone in the voluntary sector and the Mendip Society is no exception. The Society produces a magazine, ‘Mendip’, three times a year.

This includes features and articles appealing to a wide range of people with an interest in the Mendip area, whilst also promoting the work of the Society.

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After a number of years the existing Editor feels it is time to leave and hand over to someone else to take role forward. The Society is therefore urgently in need of volunteer to take on this position.

The newsletter editor will have the opportunity to bring their own design and editorial experience to the task of producing the Newsletter which is issued three times a year – in March, August and December. Building on the established success of the existing Newsletter will be a challenge worth taking on for anyone looking to demonstrate their artistic talent.

In addition to an Editor the Society needs people to help organise talks.

The talks organiser takes on the responsibility of organising speakers for the series of winter talks at Wells and Cheddar. These two venues can be handled by one person, but if someone wants to look after only one venue the role could be split. There are usually talks in each month of the winter season from September to March, so the job requires the organisation of 6 or 7 talks on interesting subjects together with attendance at the talk to greet and introduce the Speaker.

The Mendip Society

With the aim of encouraging general appreciation of Mendip and the surrounding area the Mendip Society:

• runs a programme of walks, talks and visits throughout the year

• maintains a specially designated nature reserve in a local flower meadow, known as Slader’s Leigh

• operates a small grants scheme in support of local effort

• initiates its own conservation and enhancement projects

• checks local planning applications

• responds to local, regional and national consultation processes

• collaborates with like-minded organisations and local authorities

• maintains a small library for members and runs a bookstall at events

• publishes a newsletter, three times a year

Walks are weekly, guided, and take place in the Cheddar, Winscombe, Wells and North Mendip areas.

Talks take place in the winter months in Cheddar, Winscombe and Wells and cover a range of subjects. Examples include Life on a Mendip Farm in the 1930s; Mendip’s wartime decoy city on Blackdown, and the cave divers of Wookey Hole.

Visits have taken members into the very roof spaces of Wells Cathedral, to a mediaeval farm and a Somerst cider orchard.

Slader’s Leigh is a 1.7 acre meadow which has been owned and managed by the Society since 1986. It was granted Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status in July 2005. It is one of the few remaining unimproved neutral/acid grassland sites in the Vale of Winscombe and is maintained by regular work parties.

The small grant scheme has contributed to a number of projects including publication of the book ‘Swildon’s Hole’ by Wessex Cave club, a number of Mendip village plans, and restoration of the hurdle stack on Priddy Green.

Over the years Mendip Society initiatives have helped sustain Smitham Chimney, the last lead smelting chimney on Mendip. The most recent Smitham Chimney project was to help create an all-weather access path and interpretation plinth.

The Mendip Society keeps a watchful eye on local planning issues, including quarrying and the proposed expansion of Bristol International Airport. It has also participated in the consultation over power generation in the Severn Estuary and the possibility of a Severn Barrage.

The Mendip Society is represented on a number of different bodies covering a range of Mendip interests, including the Mendip Hills AONB Partnership.

The Society’s three-times a year newsletter, Mendip, aims to reflect this activity.

If you might be interested in volunteering for Editor or Talks Organiser please get in contact for an informal chat.

Email or ring the Chairman on 01934 742981, or the Vice Chairman on 01749 840795 / 07977 290003.

If you are interested in joining the Society email the Membership Secretary on or ring 0845 4092951.




Further information about the Society can be found on our web site at


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