Quantocks Wildlife Watch Update

It’s been two years since we set up the Quantocks Wildlife Watch on iNaturalist and so far just under 12,500 observations have been made and over 2,000 species recorded by just under 600 people.

The idea of the project is to collect as much data on ALL types of wildlife (plant, bird mammal, fungi, snakes, amphibians, the lot) which will then provide a better picture of the range and distribution of wildlife on the hills and sounding area. The data will then be used to inform future wildlife projects across the Quantocks.

We really have only scratched the surface so far, there are thousands more to find so why not download the app and start exploring!

We have created “sub-projects” within Inaturalist that allow you to quickly view data on an individual species or group, so there are sub-projects for birds, butterflies, snakes etc.

These are really helpful as observations and species lists get ever bigger as they allow you to focus your interest area, just look for Projects on Inaturalist and join the ones you are interested in. (our projects all start with Quantocks Wildlife Watch and then Butterflies, adders etc.)

The most commonly recorded species


We have recently created this as an extra project to compliment the annual survey work that the Quantock Hills Landscape partnership scheme has run on adder distribution around hibernaculum (a site where three or more snakes congregate over winter) March to May. This project though will collate adder observations the rest of the year as they disperse over a wider area, so please take a snap of any adders you see and upload them.

Another one of the sub-projects is for invasive species and these then provide data for species that may need some form of control.

Quantock Wildlife Watch success story

At our AGM in April, it was great to hear from National Landscape Ranger Owen who spoke about how the Quantock Wildlife Watch had brought to light occurrences of a highly invasive non-native plant, the American Skunk cabbage in two different locations, which have since been removed.


Another invasive species that we specifically want to build a better picture of is the common Rhododendron, which whilst attractive, is a real problem, as it just plain out-competes other wild plants and colonizes areas if left unchecked. Its leaves and leaf litter is toxic to animals and many other plants and it harbours a fungus-like pathogen that effects many other trees and plants. Work has been done by the National Trust to remove Rhododendron from its land but there are some areas such as Weacombe Hill below where it is becoming a  real threat. we already have 857 observations but we really do need your help to record as many of the plants as possible so that the problem can be addressed.

About iNaturalist

The iNaturalist app is FREE and can be downloaded on smart phones or used online, it really is a FANTASTIC tool (and really easy to use) to help identify whatever you see whilst you are out and about (or indeed that garden plant you forgot the name of), you can also use the search facility on it to say, find out where to find that allusive butterfly you want to see for the first time.

For me, whilst I have always been interested in nature, there is seldom a week goes by when I don’t spot something that is new to me, so I take a snap of it on my phone camera, and see what the app suggests is the most likely match, the great thing is if I misidentify something initially other people see the observation and are able to confirm  it is corect or suggest alternative species, once the observation has been confirmed it is classed as “research grade”.

All observations uploaded feed into our own Quantock Wildlife Watch AND the Somerset Environmental Records center (SERC), plus nationally into the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), The Biological Records Centre (BRC), and the Marine Biological Association (MBA) helping to inform scientific research locally and across the country and world. You can learn more about the project on our website via the following link – Quantock Wildlife Watch

Robin Stamp, project lead, May 2024