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
Minister meets Cranborne Chase farmers and volunteers
Lord Gardiner, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, met the Cranborne Chase AONB team and eight farmers, some of whom are members of the Chalke Valley Farm Cluster, during a visit to the AONB following the National Association of AONBs Conference in Winchester on 19 July.
Tracy Adams, Farm Conservation Advisor, explained to Lord Gardiner the work the farmers are undertaking in the Chalke Valley to provide landscape scale wildlife and environmental enhancements. Afterwards the farmers had the chance to talk to the minister over lunch consisting of local produce. Lord Gardiner subsequently visited Chalke Valley Stores, where he met some of the 100-plus volunteers who give up their time for free to run the successful shop and café facility.
“We were delighted to be able to show the minister our wonderful area and explain a few of the highly successful projects we have been involved with recently,” said Linda Nunn, director of Cranborne chase AONB. “From the feedback he gave us, it was clear that he was really interested in the work of the farmers, communities and the AONB Partnership. Going forward this can only be good news for all AONBs.”
Local cider makers attending Taste The Chase
Donhead Apple Company (www.donheadapple.com) makes its ciders from traditional cider apple varieties, such as Kingston Black, Dabinette and Yarlington Mill, with The Guild of Fine Food awarding the company Great Taste awards in 2015 and 2016.
Besides Donhead Apple Company, a number of firms have already confirmed their attendance, including Cranborne Chase Cider (www.cranbornechasecider.co.uk), which makes still farmhouse and bottled fine filtered carbonated ciders in Dorset, and north Dorset’s Melbury Vale Wines (www.mvwinery.co.uk), which 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 is really taking shape,” said organiser Rachel Limb. “This really is the best way for producers to show off the wonderful products they make within the Cranborne Chase AONB. We can’t wait to welcome them and members of the trade and public to The Nadder Centre in October.”
The early bird discount for booking stands still applies. For all enquiries, contact Rachel Limb, tel: 07976 222260; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, log on to www.tastethechase.org.uk.
A walk, led by Nick Cowen on Wednesday 6 September, will follow in the footsteps of one of the fathers of archaeology - William Cunnington (1754-1810). This is an additional walk to the one over the same route held on 27 July which was fully booked.
The morning will be centered on Iron Age field systems and Bronze Age barrows, the latter investigated by Cunnington and one of the other founding fathers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare. There are spectacular landscape views and the opportunity to walk down a dry valley where there is usually no public access (total of 4km of easy walking). The afternoon will focus on the village of Heytesbury with its Cunnington and Parker connections. The Parkers, father and son, were the ones who did the spade work.
William Cunnington was a self-educated merchant who developed an interest in the rich archaeological landscape around his home village of Heytesbury, where he both lived and worked. In contrast to the vast majority of antiquarians of the time, Cunnington realised that to fully understand the barrows which fascinated him, they should be excavated and recorded carefully and methodically. Beginning his work around 1798, his initial investigations were self-funded, but increasingly they attracted the interest of a succession of wealthy patrons, including Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838) of Stourhead.
This walk is limited to 20 people, therefore early booking is recommended. For more details, visit www.foundationsofarchaeology.wordpress.com/ or email email@example.com/tel: 01747 870810.
IF farmers within AONBs and beyond cannot compete post Brexit, the future for them will be ‘bloody’. This was the message delivered by Kate Russell, technical and policy adviser at the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, at the National Association of AONBs Conference in Winchester on 19 July.
So what can farmers do, she questioned. “They can add value, look at niche markets, diversify, let out land to commodity producers, use their resources in other ways. If you have a rock face, someone will pay you to come and climb it.”
She also noted a need for more collaboration and more clusters and partnerships.
“Landscape scale delivery increases scope for delivery of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES)-type schemes.”
The Cranborne resident also pointed out that Brexit wouldn’t bring overnight changes for the agricultural sector.
“It will be a process that will unfold over time and won’t just have happened when people wake up one morning,” she said. “We can expect evolution, not revolution. There won’t be radical changes in the next decade.”
The value of land within AONBs may continue to rise post Brexit, she noted. In the last 15 years there has been capital growth, with values rising from £2,000 an acre in 2002 to £8,000 in 2016.
“In times of economic uncertainty, land is a good place,” said Kate. “People like land and trust it.”
But she added that if Brexit proves to be a disaster for farming, agricultural performance will decline and the pressure on land values will be downward.
Support levels, too, will fall – in the EU as well as in the UK – post Brexit, she said.
“Brexit may force the rest of the EU to see how they fund their natural environment and their food.”
Succession and retirement planning will remain a pertinent issue. “The question is how to get some people out of the industry and new people in.”
GUSSAGE All Saints resident Claire Barnett has a painting on display at the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, which opened in June and runs until 20 August.
Claire’s featured work, called Strawberry Moon (right), which beat off thousands of other entries, is a semi-abstract oil, acrylic and acrylic ink on canvas that was inspired by a visit to Knowlton Church during the summer solstice in 2016. It was almost sold before Claire received the news that it had been selected from thousands of entries to hang in the famous London gallery in Piccadilly. Since being on display it has been purchased, but it will remain in London until the exhibition closes.
Claire, a former head of art at Lingfield College in Surrey, moved to Gussage All Saints two years ago and has found that the AONB sparks plenty of ideas.
“The Chase has been a constant source of inspiration,” said Claire. “The paintings I have on display at other exhibitions have often stemmed from places I have visited on Cranborne Chase, including The Chase, a painting featuring Cranborne Chase in winter, and It’s in the trees, a work based on Chase Woods.” Both paintings are on display at Milton Abbey, an exhibition which runs until 31 August. Claire, who has a studio in Gussage All Saints and who teaches art part time to children not in mainstream education, also has work on display at L’Artishe, Swanage, until 8 August.
DEVERILLS Performing Arts will be running two further fixtures in its 2017 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.
THE feedback survey on the controversial A350 and C13 route management scheme has now closed, but Dorset County Council has posted the plans online which were on display at the public consultation exhibitions in June. These can be found at https://www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/A350-C13-improvements.
Those interested in delving further into the subject of issues and sensitive solutions to rural highways – as well as errors to avoid – can also read A Guide to Conserving and Enhancing the Landscape Settings of our Rural Highways (http://www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk/uploads/docs/Planning/CCAONB_GuideRuralHighways_web.pdf), which can be found on the Cranborne Chase AONB website.
This document not only gives examples of good practice, but covers case studies of traffic calming, signage and markings on the rural roads of the AONB, lay-bys, picnic sites and passing places, as well as roadside verges, historic roadside features and a sense of place.
Knowlton - symbol of religious transistion where ghosts reside
In religious terms, there are few more symbolic places than Knowlton Church and Earthworks in the western world. The pairing of a 12th century Norman stone and flint church at the centre of a Neolithic ritual henge earthwork symbolises the transition from pagan to Christian worship and has ensured the survival of both over the centuries. The henge is one of nearly 100 in Britain and Ireland that date from around 3000 to 2000 BC. The church was in use until the 17th century and was attended by residents of a now vanished hamlet nearby.
All those who have visited confirm that the ruins have an enchanting, mystical aura, while some say the area, where the population was decimated by the Black Death, is haunted. Ghostly faces, a weeping woman and a phantom horse and rider are some of the spectres said to have been seen.
Get set for Outstanding Week
Outstanding 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?
Do 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.