Stockland Turbaries

What are they?

Throughout England, open or common land was gradually parceled out to owners by the various Enclosure Acts that were passed from the 16th century onwards. In the parish of Stockland, following the Enclosures, a number of pockets of land that were thought to be unsuitable for arable farming remained as common land and became known as the Stockland Turbaries. The word 'turbary' is believed to derive from Anglo-French 'turberie' and Low German 'turf', and refers to the ancient right to cut turf or peat for fuel on a particular area of land. The word is also used to describe the particular area of land itself. Turbary rights, or more correctly common of turbary are associated with having rights or access to a piece of land. Today, the turbaries are owned by Stockland Parish Council and the people of the parish have access rights to them, including the gathering of fallen trees and branches for firewood.

Latest News

Spring Watch on the Stockland Turbaries - 2020

A new permissive path in the Quantock Turbary

Stockland Parish Council has opened a new permissive path that links the Public Footpath near Brimpit Farm, at ST 225053, with the Public Footpath near Featherlake, at ST 225046, crossing Quantock Turbary. The route (although open to the public) is not designated as a public right of way. Wellington Boots are recommended.

Why are many of the turbaries wet and boggy?

With the exception of Horner Hill, the Stockland turbaries are located on valley slopes of the Blackdown Hills. The geology of this area includes a layer of permeable Greensand resting upon beds of impermeable strata comprising Keuper Marl and Lower Lias (basically types of stratified clay). The Blackdown Hills thus act as an aquifer, and a spring-line of varying width has formed between the clay and the Greensand. Spring-line mires can be found throughout the Blackdown Hills in eneral, forming a 'plimsole line' on the slopes of the hills. This spring-line is common to most of the turbaries and is why they are so wet and boggy. This unique habitat is the reason the turbaries hold such interesting and important flora and fauna.

The Turbaries Management Committee

Since 2015, the Turbaries Management Committee now operates as a committee of the Stockland Parish Council, and has been made up of members of the Parish Council and other parishioners, supplemented by invited representatives of organisations known for their expertise in land management for wildlife conservation.

Committee Meetings
Committee meetings, which are open to all Stockland electors, are held three times a year in the Victory Hall. Their principal purpose is to discuss and decide on the practicalities of management of our turbaries.

Your contact for the Stockland Turbaries Management Committee is Dr David Allen 01404 861394

Parish Residents' Rights to Firewood
Residents of Stockland parish may collect logs and fallen wood from the turbaries for their own personal use but not for sale. A licence may be obtained to cut specified standing wood on application to the Turbaries Management Committee.

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