Photo of Blackdown Hills

Visit Blackdown Hills

The Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) runs along the southern border between Devon and Somerset, in south-west England.

A picturesque region of rolling hills separated by steep wooded valleys, babbling streams and small woodlands, interspersed by low-key dairy farming, the Blackwood Hills are a quiet part of the countryside where the buzzing of insects is often the only noise you can hear.

It is a place to explore at low speed, to enjoy the peace and the countryside, to spend time sitting in a local pub, with little in the way of 'action-packed family tourist attractions'.


  • The Church of Saint Peter in Staple Fitzpaine
  • Malked trails through the gentle countryside at Staple Fitzpaine and the ruins at Castle Neroche (see walks here)
  • Small pretty villages built around medieval churches
  • 15th century manor house at Shute Barton
  • The castle ruins at Hemyock
  • The machinery (steam engine, watermill etc) at Coldharbour Mill
  • Walking around the lakes at Otterhead

Blackdown Hills villages and towns

The northern, more hilly, part falls in Somerset and includes the villages of Buckland Saint Mary, Churchstanton, Staple Fitzpaine, Wambrook and Whitestaunton. Further south in Devon, you can visit Blackborough, Broadhembury, Cotleigh, Dunkeswell, Hemyock, Membury, Sheldon, Smeatharpe, Stockland, Upottery and Yarcombe. Several of the villages feature thatched cottages and medieval manor houses.

There are no large towns within the borders of the Blackdown Hills AONB.

Exploring Blackwood hills

There are numerous marked Blackwood Hills walks and planned cycle routes within the region, also bridleways -all three options offer a chance to make the most of your visit.

See also: 

Map of Blackdown Hills and places to visit


...or see all our recommended places to visit in Somerset