Local History Group
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
History Project 2000
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
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.
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
History Project 2002
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'
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.
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
History Group are at present engaged
in a survey of Stoke St Michael, organised
by Joyce Jefferson - Tel: 01373 832845.