• Cranborne Chase AONB, Shears Building, Stone Lane Industrial Estate, Wimborne, BH21 1HB  Tel: 01725 517417

Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of the nation’s finest landscapes. At 981 square kilometres it is the sixth largest of 46 AONBs in the country.
The immense historic and biodiversity riches in this nationally protected area are held in high esteem by local communities and visitors alike.


Springhead Trust celebrates the ash tree before its likely demise

Ash THE beautiful ash tree, which has proved so vital to human society down the ages, could soon disappear from the British Isles altogether due to Chalara, ash dieback disease. Large swathes of ash trees have already been decimated in the east of the country. Before the south west suffers the same fate, Fontmell Magna-based Springhead Trust, the rural centre for creative and sustainable living, is running a six-day celebration of the ash in Dorset and Wiltshire, including on Cranborne Chase AONB. It will be the only conference of its kind in the UK this year. The Springhead AshScape Project, organised in collaboration with Cranborne AONB and the Ancient Tree Forum, is being partly funded through the AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund.

The project will run between 10-15 October 2017. It commences with an ash themed photographic and art exhibition (Tuesday 10 October), with a two-day conference taking place on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October. Speakers will include Rob Wolton, chair of the Devon Ash Dieback Forum, Tim Rowlands from Future Forest, who will discuss the Defra-funded Living Ash Project and the Springhead Trust’s director Edward Parker, who will discuss ash tree uses and myths through history.

The proceedings conclude with three musical processional events (Sunday 15 October) and the chance to don headphones and listen to the internal workings of a live ash tree.

Additionally, there will be a field trip to view ash trees at Lyscombe and Highdon SSSI in Dorset AONB and the opportunity to take part in an innovative tree recording project using a single iPhone in Cranborne Chase AONB. This project will continue after the events at Springhead.

“During our celebration we will be looking at what will replace the ash tree and what choices we have when managing ash woodlands, among myriad other things. It’s a complex picture, which is why we need to come together to discuss what will happen,” said Edward Parker, an authority on trees who has also written several books. “The human race’s relationship with the ash goes back at least to Ancient Greece and its uses in transport, farming and medicine are well documented. We want to take a very close look at this tree before it is too late.”

For more information on the Springhead AshScape Project, see www.springheadtrust.org.uk.


Sutton Mandeville badge restored to its former glory

BadgeMOTORISTS driving along the A30 between Salisbury and Shaftesbury will see an arresting sight when they reach the parish of Sutton Mandeville – the fully restored World War I badge of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment gleaming white against the green hillside. The badge is also visible from the various footpaths and byways in Sutton Mandeville that go up to the Downs.

The restoration of the badge by Sutton Mandeville Heritage Trust was completed on 7 August. Initially in a poor state and completely overgrown, it has been returned to its original, striking condition, first by volunteers and then by a specialist contractor, Godshill-based Earlcoate Construction.

Excavations commenced on 27 June, following survey and research work which went into identifying the original shape of the badge. This included a drone survey of the site financed by a Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) grant from the Cranborne Chase AONB, within which the badge is sited. The badge was marked out on the hillside in June 2017 by Wessex Archaeology using precision GPS.

The renovation work, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, involved excavating within the outline of the badge, installing a honeycomb geotextile which was pinned into the ground, and then filling in the honeycomb with chalk. Some of the excavations were carried out using a specialist excavator which can work on steep slopes. Some were done by hand.

“We are really pleased with how the badge looks. It’s as close as possible to the shape of the badge first cut by soldiers in the First World War,” said Antony Firth, a member of the Heritage Trust. “Our group of volunteers will soon be in action again, managing the vegetation so that good turf develops around the badge.

“We hope to restore the other First World War badge in Sutton Mandeville – the ‘Shiny 7th’ badge of the 7th (City of London) Battalion of the London regiment – next year,” continued Antony.

The Royal Warwickshire Regiment badge is thought to have been constructed in the spring of 1916 by men of the Royal Warwickshire regiment who were training at the military camps in Sutton Mandeville.
Various activities related to the badge restoration are being planned for the winter, including guided walks and WWI history workshops. These will be advertised shortly.

For further information, or to become a member of Sutton Mandeville Heritage Trust, see www.sutton-down-badges.com; Twitter @suttonbadges.


AONB appoints new Landscape Partnership Development Officer

Roger GouldingROGER Goulding has joined the Cranborne Chase AONB team as Landscape Partnership Scheme Development Officer.

His remit is to develop the programme of LPS projects with partners and communities that will help to celebrate, protect and enhance the special natural, historic and cultural heritage of Cranborne Chase and Chalke Valley. The projects will start in the spring of 2019.

“We have a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use Heritage Lottery funding to support local enthusiasts, communities and landowners in celebrating and caring for the special elements of Cranborne Chase, focusing on the core of the Cranborne Chase, a medieval hunting forest used by King John, and the Chalke Valley to the north of it. Whether that is revitalising traditional skills, collecting and sharing local stories or recording and caring for wildlife, landscape and places of rich heritage. We want to involve as many people as possible in planning this work across one of the most special landscapes in England.”

Roger joins the AONB team after more than a dozen years working for the Environment Agency as a National Advisor and Programme Manager. Earlier in his career, Roger was a Countryside Manager for Forest Heath District Council. For six years he served on the Heritage Lottery Fund committee for the south west.

Roger would like to hear from anyone who has a great idea or who would like to play a part in helping to develop or lead ideas in the Landscape Partnership Area. Call him for a chat on 01725 517417; or email rogergoulding@cranbornechase.org.uk.  Alternatively, log on to www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk for up to minute project development information and opportunities to get involved.


Famous Hedgehog Bakery signs up for Taste The Chase

CakeFAMOUS Hedgehog Bakery will be bringing its delicious artisan breads and sweet patisserie ranges to Taste the Chase on Thursday 5 October. The local showcase for food and drink produced within the Cranborne Chase AONB is being held at The Nadder Centre and entry is free. In the morning the event is reserved for members of the trade, including those in the retail and hospitality industries, but doors open to the public between 12-3pm.

Famous Hedgehog Bakery makes sourdough, khorasan and yeasted breads in the traditional way at its base in Long Crichel, Dorset.

South Gorley-based Fluffetts Farm will once again be bringing along its free range eggs. Described as “clucking good eggs”, Fluffetts poultry are kept in small flocks on carefully managed independent family farms, so the wellbeing of the chickens and the freshness of the eggs can be guaranteed.

Other AONB companies appearing include:

•    Donhead Apple Company (www.donheadapple.com) makes its ciders from traditional cider apple varieties, such as Kingston Black, Dabinette and Yarlington Mill. The company recently netted one of only seven gold medals awarded at the International Cider Challenge 2017 for its Donhead English sparkling cider.
•    Cranborne Chase Cider (www.cranbornechasecider.co.uk) makes still farmhouse and bottled fine filtered carbonated ciders in Dorset
•    Melbury Vale Wines (www.mvwinery.co.uk) not only produces wines and ciders but also hosts afternoon tea at its winery every Saturday at 3.30pm up until 14 October.

“Taste the Chase really is the best way for producers to show off the wonderful products they make within the Cranborne Chase AONB,” said organiser Rachel Limb. “We can’t wait to welcome everyone to this brilliant showcase at The Nadder Centre in October.”

The early bird discount for booking stands still applies. For all enquiries, contact Rachel Limb, tel: 07976 222260; email: rachel@whitesheepprojects.co.uk. For more information, log on to www.tastethechase.org.uk.


Can you help with our survey?

SurveyCRANBORNE Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is looking into creating a Countryside Centre in the central AONB area, close to Tisbury/the A30.

It is proposed to be a base for volunteering activity, linked with local rural projects and accredited training courses, primarily in countryside management related skills, informal countryside skills and traditional crafts courses. Additionally, it would be home to an information and interpretation centre for visitors to the AONB  and local residents, with a flexible meeting space for groups to use.

We are trying to gain a better understanding of how the proposed Countryside Centre may be used by people living, working and volunteering within and around the AONB. This will help us to tailor the services we hope to provide. So if you could take a few minutes to respond to our survey at  https://tinyurl.com/y8oayjyx it would be really helpful. Or see the news section on our website at www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk. Thank you.


Acclaimed jazz pianist comes to Kingston Deverill

Deverills FestivalDEVERILLS Performing Arts will be running two further fixtures in its 2017 arts series — classically trained jazz pianist Jason Rebello will play at Kingston Deverill Church on 16 September at 7.30pm, while Guy Johnston (cello) & Tom Poster (piano) will be performing at Kingston Deverill Church on 18 November at 7.30pm.

Classically trained but inspired by Herbie Hancock, Jason has worked with such artists as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Pee Wee Ellis, Joss Stone, Madeleine Peyroux and Manu Katché. One of the most inventive pianists in the UK, his new solo album Held, from which he will play some tracks, is receiving massive critical acclaim.

Refreshments will be available for a small donation at all concerts. For more information log on to www.deverillsfestival.com.


Rural wellbeing initiatives could qualify for Plunkett grant

PlunkettTHE Plunkett Foundation is seeking to support local community-led initiatives that keep people healthy, cared for and connected to their community either via specialist support or a small pot of funding.

Up until the end of 2017, the charity is offering assistance with rural projects relating to improving community wellbeing, including addressing loneliness, setting up walking or exercise groups to enabling older people to stay in their community. 

For more information, see https://beingwell.plunkett.co.uk.


Butterflies on show at Pentridge

ButterfliesPENTRIDGE Village Hall will be hosting an exhibition of native British butterflies and moths from Dr Judith Gillespie Smith's extensive collection. The event will run over two days — 23 and 24 September — from 12-5pm on each day.

Tea and cake will be available, while children will be able to make a butterfly print.


The Nadder Centre has wellbeing in mind

WellbeingSOUTH West Wiltshire Area Board is running a Health and Wellbeing Fair at The Nadder Centre, Tisbury, on Wednesday 27th September 2017 from 2-5pm. The date is National Fitness Day — so the perfect day to get out and about on Cranborne Chase AONB before heading to Tisbury in the afternoon. The fair is intended to combat social isolation and loneliness and encourage:
-    Physical fitness and activity.
-    Healthy lifestyles.

Those attending include:

-    Healthwatch Wiltshire.
-    Health Trainer (Wiltshire Council).
-    Global Health Education Partnership Ltd.
-    Game, Set & Match Tennis Academy.
-    Tisbury Memory Group.
-    Tisbury Community Choir.

The fair runs from 2-5pm.

Contact Stephen Harris, Community Engagement Manager (South West Wiltshire), if you are interested in taking a stand, tel: 01722 434211.


Funding advice available at agricultural show

PoundTHE Heart of Wessex LAG will be exhibiting at the Frome Cheese Show (Saturday 9 September). If anyone in the Wiltshire section of the AONB has a project idea that they are seeking funding for they will be able to meet the programme management team, who can offer advice and guidance on preparing a robust application.

Projects can be in any of the areas below:

  • Support to increase farm productivity
  • Support for micro and small business and farm diversification
  • Support for rural tourism
  • Provision of rural services
  • Support for cultural and heritage activity
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity

For further information, see www.heartofwessex.co.uk.


Treasures of the chaseNEW SERIES  Treasures of the Chase

All Saints’ Church, Broad Chalke

IT is likely that Broad Chalke’s All Saints’ Church began life as a wooden structure, gaining a more robust construction around 1280 when limestone ashlar and rubble was used to build it. Since then it has undergone various transformations, including around 1550, when most of the nave was rebuilt. In 1846-7 the church was restored by Wyatt and Brandon at a cost of £1,720.

A few celebrities are buried in the churchyard, including artist Christopher Wood and photographer Sir Cecil Beaton.

ChurchAll Saints has a full set of eight bells and these can be heard far and wide when they are rung for special occasions and services. In 1903 Frank Gulliver took four horses and two wagons to Salisbury to fetch a new organ, which cost £260.

  • Some churchyards are managed for wildlife. If you would like more information on this approach for your churchyard, see  www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk/ If you would like to get involved leading or participating in recording and monitoring wildlife in your village or more widely across Cranborne Chase AONB, register your details with Anne Carney (annecarney@cranbornechase.org.uk) or Roger Goulding (rogergoulding@cranbornechase.org.uk).

Get set for Outstanding Week

WalkingOutstanding Week is an initiative run by the National Association of AONBs which aims to get people out into the nation’s 46 AONBs. Cranborne Chase AONB will be taking part in Outstanding Week (16-24 September), so let us know about any relevant events, such as archaeology walks, foraging, local food festivals, wildlife walks, thatching courses, etc, or activities you may be hosting and we will do our best to promote them. Certain events may also be added to the events diary on the National Association’s website (www.landscapesforlife.org.uk/).

Have you got news for us?

PaperDo you live within the Cranborne Chase AONB and have a story that you would like to promote to the wider community? We would love to hear about your events, projects, thriving rural businesses, etc, which we may not only publicise in this monthly E-newsletter, but also on our website and to the wider press if the story merits it. The more wonderful newsworthy items we can relate, the more we will raise our profile and the more people will come and visit. If you have a story to tell, please get in touch. Email:JulieHarding@cranbornechase.org.uk.