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About us - Local Area
Downhead Local History Group
The Local History Group The study of Downhead's historic heritage has been the work of a group of local people with very mixed skills and interests. Some have formal training in history or archaeology, others have acquired a self-taught expertise, and several come to the group with nothing more than a love of landscape and an enthusiasm for the excitement of discovery. That so much is now understood about the development of Downhead's landscape is a tribute to them all.

Downhead History Project 2000
Cover Image - 'Downhead - Landscape of Distinction'
In 2000 the group published a project entitled 'Downhead - Landscape of Distinction' in association with Mendip District Council. Little was known about the parish when the project started. Now, after enthusiastic research investigating maps, documents and the landscape itself, the project has shed light on the story of Downhead's development over the past two thousand years.
The presence of Dinies Camp, a prehistoric hillslope enclosure lays evidence of how generation upon generation of families have utilised the many and varied resources of the Mendip Uplands. Roman sites, the changing farming landscape and industrial activity from 13th century ironworking to 20th century quarying have all been studied.
Thanks to the efforts of this energetic study group, Downhead is now one of the best understood parishes in Somerset. Increasing understanding will, it is hoped, lead to informed conservation, so that its valuable historic features and landscape character will be safeguarded for the future.

Downhead History Project 2002
As a result of further research by members of the group, a second book was published in 2002 - 'Downhead, Rural Life, A Social and Economic History'
This was produced to explore in more detail some of the aspects of the social and economic history of Downhead touched upon in the first book.
The two books, 'Downhead Landscape of Distinction', and 'Downhead Rural Life a Social and Economic History' are available from Joyce Jefferson on 01373 832845, or Shute Farm Studio, 10 and 5 respectively.

New Survey...
The History Group are at present engaged in a survey of Stoke St Michael, organised by Joyce Jefferson - Tel: 01373 832845.
Illustration: Dinies Camp - Prehistoric Hillslope Enclosure
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Shute Farm Studio, Downhead, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 4LQ - Tel: 01749 880746
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