Welcome to the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

This nationally designated AONB covers 380 sq miles of countryside overlapping the boundaries of Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset.

It is a diverse landscape offering areas of rolling chalk grassland, ancient woodlands, chalk escarpments, downland hillsides and chalk river valleys each with a distinct and recognisable character. The landscapes of the AONB today, as they were in the past, are extraordinarily rich.

Find out about:

AONB Dark Skies

The Cranborne Chase AONB Partnership is keen to work closely with everyone in and around the AONB to attain 'Dark Night Sky Reserve' status.

We held a seminar on lighting issues and how to help reduce light pollution in and around the AONB on November 6th.

Our seminar included presentations by three national experts - Bob Mizon - UK Coordinator, British Astronomical Association Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS), Malcolm Mackness Director of Lighting Consultancy & Design Services Ltd, and Howard Lawrence.

See the Dark Night Skies page for further info and downloads.

Cranborne Chase AONB Management Plan (2014-2019)

This is adopted by the nine Local Authorities who share responsibility for guiding the management of this nationally important area - visit the Management Plan page to download the plan.

The AONB Partnership... Getting Involved

The AONB Partnership is open to everyone who lives and works in the area. It also welcomes visitors to the area and other interested parties, be they individuals, government or non-governmental organisations or an interest group.
Find out more..

What is an AONB?

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a landscape which is considered so precious that it is protected for the nation. The criteria for designating an AONB include valuable wildlife, habitats, geology and heritage, as well as scenic views.

The primary purpose of the AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area, now and for future generations.

Walking in the AONB

The Cranborne Chase AONB has over 900 miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways.

In order to help you get out and discover some of our favourite routes, we have set up pages devoted to walking, cycling and riding.


We are always looking for new routes to add to our website, so if you have a favourite walk, cycle trail or horse ride, we'd love to hear from you!

Fovant Military Badges

The AONB has a wide variety of attractions, places to visit, and things to do. These range from historic places of interest such as Bokerley Dyke and the Fovant Badges to National Nature Reserves such as Martin Down.
More Info »

There are 7 museums located within the AONB, including the Breamore Countryside Museum near Fordingbridge, the aviation museum at Compton Abbas, Rockborne Roman Villa and the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford
More Info »

Other attractions include the Bush Farm Bison Centre at West Knoyle, and Longleat Safari Park
More Info »

Sustainable Tourism

Working in partnership with local visitor related businesses across the Nadder Valley and Chalke Valley areas to promote green tourism and benefit the local economy. More Info »

South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project

Working closely with farmers to stabilise and increase the numbers of farmland birds and rare arable plants. More Info »

Historic Environment Action Plans

A summary of the key characteristics of the historic environment of the AONB at a landscape scale. More Info »

Cranborne Chase Woodfair - 3 and 4 October 2015

A showcase for contemporary rural life focusing on woodland and associated craft More Info »

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