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


Nov 27, 2017
David Blake heads for Islay after 13 years with AONB


DaveDAVID Blake, Cranborne Chase AONB’s Project Development Officer, is leaving the organisation after 13 years to become Estate Manager for Islay Estates, owned, like the local Fonthill Estate, by Lord Margadale.

“My connections with the area won’t cease because I will still be coming back for meetings at Fonthill,” said David, who noted that some of his most interesting work while at the AONB involved allocating Sustainable Development Fund grants, which were launched in 2005, shortly after he took on the role. “The SDF brought me into close contact with individuals and groups and meant that I had to develop expertise in a huge variety of areas, from church reordering to cider production and habitat restoration.”

David added that one of his most rewarding early projects was working with Anne Carney, Funding and Partnerships Officer, on the Parish Archive Project, funded by Heritage Lottery, which allowed parishes collate and produce archives. It involved about 25 villages, such as Breamore and Crockerton.

“I’m also really proud of the Femto initiative that brought mobile reception to Cranborne village, as well as helping Tracy Adams [Farm Conservation Officer] achieve success with her farmland bird work,” added Dave. “The Raising Our Game project, which looked at the landscape impact of game and management, was hugely satisfying too and involved working with the late, great [former AONB Chairman] Dr Dick Potts. Organising the Woodfair on four occasions was hard work, but we achieved a lot in doing so.

“It’s been a real privilege to work with such a close knit and supportive group of colleagues at the AONB,” said David. “They are not only hugely knowledgeable, but also great fun.”

AONB director Linda Nunn said: “I would like to thank David for all his hard work over the years. He has been instrumental in driving some incredible projects, and we will miss his expertise hugely.”