Welcome to the August 2015 E-Bulletin


Cranborne Chase Woodfair - Volunteers Needed

The Cranborne Chase Woodfair

The Cranborne Chase Woodfair 2015 is gaining momentum – we still need volunteers for the event on the weekend of the 3rd & 4th October.

All volunteers are well fed, and we will give you a family pass (max. 2 adults/3 children) so that you/they can come back on one of the days to enjoy the day at your leisure.

Responsibilities will be varied but could include helping with trailer rides, general stewarding, marshaling, leaflet distribution, shovelling wood chips, site set up, and helping in the information tent.

Friendliness and approachability are both desirable qualities of volunteers.

For more information, see the woodfair website at: http://tiny.cc/23441x

National Association of AONBs Bowland Award

Tracy Adams from South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project receives the Bowland Award from NAAONB Chairman Philip Hygate

The Bowland Award is awarded annually for the best project, best practice or outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This year it was won by our very own Tracy Adams on behalf of the South Wiltshire Farmland Birds Project. 

In July 2009, Tracy Adams was appointed to the post of South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Adviser and joined our team.  The project is an example of a successful move from exchequer to private sector funding.  Wessex Water are funding Tracy's project 100% through to 2017 .

The project aimed to reverse the decline in numbers of six critically endangered farmland bird species by working with farmers to provide habitat for nesting, insect food and winter seed food. Critical to the success was Tracy’s ability to provide agronomic advice on weed control, pest control, crop establishment and cultivation as well as farmland ecology.  She has provided one-to-one advice to 132 farmers across an area of 22,000 hectares, creating 1,000 hectares of new farmland bird habitat.

The success of this work has not gone unnoticed: 16 published articles, 5 radio interviews, 2 appearances on national TV and a presence on YouTube and Twitter are all testament to the interest and recognition it has generated.

The South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project is an exemplar of how AONB partnerships can create the golden thread that joins landscape scale context with practical action on the ground. It demonstrates the critical importance of relationships between organisations and between people and the need for ceaseless effort in maintaining and building those relationships. It also provides an example of how our project work can be valuable to partners in the private sector who are willing to invest in ensuring that our important work carries on into the future.

You can view Tracy's presentation at: http://tiny.cc/r3341x
Powerpoint Slides at: http://tiny.cc/gd441x

Walking The Stellar Sky

Walking The Stellar Sky

Thanks to everyone who helped make the Sting in the Tale Event on the 11th August "Walking The Stellar Sky" such a success.

Around 40 people turned up to hear fascinating stories of the constellations above us, as well as some of the extensive archaeology below our feet. We were treated to a stunning double rainbow, a beautiful sunset, shooting stars and squidgy charred marshmallows! Look out for more dark night sky events in the autumn.

Read more, see some great photos, and while you’re at it, ‘Like’ our Facebook page at:

Projects Update

Stepping Stones at Chilmark

The Chilmark Horticultural Society has been growing chalk grassland plants over the summer. We have had a few difficulties in getting the wild plant seed to break dormancy and in over-coming quite a cold spring that held germination back a good deal. But we have now got some good healthy plants to over-winter. The kidney vetch in particular has done well. In the autumn, we will be doing another sowing, so if you would like to get involved then please contact David Blake at the AONB Office.

Foundations of Archaeology

Foundations of Archaeology

Our new community archaeology project has got off to a great start at the Chalke Valley History Festival.

David Blake and Emma Rouse gave some of the 'pop-up talks' in the Salisbury Museum tent. They also gave a talk at the NAAFI canteen, but had a slightly unusual heckler. It was an American M4 tank that was driving around behind them, accompanied by a 17-pounder anti-tank gun!

Things were quieter when Phil and Emma attended the festival of Archaeology at Salisbury Museum in the Cathedral Close. As a result of these activities, we now have over 40 people signed up for the project as volunteers, but there is plenty of work to go around and we would love to hear from you.

For more about the project, have a look at the web page on the AONB web site: http://tiny.cc/ol541x.

Donhead Ancient Tree Project

Donhead Ancient Tree Project

We are working with partners such as the Ancient Tree Forum and voluntary parish tree wardens to record, monitor and conserve these special ancient trees in the Donheads. They hold reservoirs of biodiversity not found elsewhere and are also of great social and cultural importance.

The second training day for ancient tree enthusiasts and surveyors had to be postponed due to poor weather.

However, we would still love for you to get involved, whether you live in the Donheads or not.

Find out more on our website at: http://tiny.cc/ts841x, - please do get in touch with David at the AONB office.

More Volunteering Opportunities

Heart of Wessex - Become a project appraiser


We are seeking to recruit volunteer appraisers to support the preparation of robust project applications for the new LEADER programme (2015-2020).

We are extremely keen to engage a “pool” of volunteer appraisers who have the depth of skills and experience to carry out this vital role. You will need to demonstrate knowledge and experience in at least one of the following areas:

  • Agriculture and/or farm diversification
  • Rural tourism
  • Forestry
  • Rural services
  • Culture and heritage
  • Small and micro business support

It would be advantageous if volunteer appraisers were based in and have a good level of knowledge and reasonable understanding of the geography and communities that make up the Heart of Wessex LAG area.

A sound knowledge of general issues facing rural communities and businesses would also be helpful. To find out more about this fantastic opportunity to help us make a difference, see the website at: http://tiny.cc/dn641x or contact Sarah: 07826 907361.

Dorset Local Access Forum

Would you like to improve and develop the paths and public green space network in Dorset?
The Dorset Local Access Forum is recruiting new members - NOW!

Do you responsibly enjoy and/or have expertise and experience in walking, horse riding, cycling and driving on Dorset's Public Rights of Way and public green space for recreation, health and sustainable travel?  Then this could be your opportunity to make a real contribution in Dorset.

Be part of the team that helps develop and improve Dorset's public paths and green space to benefit matters such as land management, recreation, health, equality and diversity, disabled access, planning, transport, economy, conservation and tourism.

Find out more and download application forms on the Dorset For You website at: http://tiny.cc/cq641x

Your Questions Answered

Each e-bulletin we'll be answering your questions about the AONB - please email them in to us at info@cranbornechase.org.uk and we'll do our best to answer them here!

Q.  How does the AONB get funded?
A.  The AONB gets 25% of running costs from the nine Local Authorities that cover the area.  Once these are received, we are able to draw down a matching 75% from Defra - i.e. for every pound provided by Local Authorities we are able to draw down an additional £3 from Defra.

Stay Informed!

To stay informed about all grants available to businesses and communities in the AONB, subscribe to our free weekly blog updates - all grant & funding updates go on there - it's all combined into a single email per week: http://www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk/news-events/latest-from-the-blog/


17th June - 30th August
The Key to Victory -
World War 1 Communications

31st August
The Corsley Show
- Come and enjoy our traditional village Show; there's lots to see and do for all ages!

5th – 6th September
National Gardens Open Weekend
- Our garden at Pen Mill Farm, Penselwood is open on the weekend of 5/6th September under the National Gardens Scheme.

5th – 6th September
Salisbury Contemporary Craft & Heritage Festival
- celebrating superb craft skills both ancient & modern.

19th September
Tisbury Carnival
, Afternoon Procession starts at : 3:30pm, Evening Procession starts at : 7:30pm.

21st September
Bright Seeds Trial Site Open Day
- Our trial site at Swallowcliffe will be open with plenty to see whether you are looking for gamecover or forage maize. Please contact the office if you would like to come and see us.

If you would like to see your event in the AONB listed here, and on our Events pages on our website, please contact us at info@cranbornechase.org.uk

And Finally...


Bird of the Month - Is.....The Kestrel
- by Tracy Adams

I am fond of the kestrel. I love the fact that it’s a highly visible bird that I can see and enjoy, albeit briefly, on my frequent trips up and down the country as it hovers over a road verge looking for its next meal. It’s not the smallest bird of prey on our shores (that’s the merlin) but it’s probably the most well known.

A kestrel’s diet consists mainly of small mammals such as field voles as well as small birds. Like many rodents, voles leave a urine trail behind them. These trails are visible in ultraviolet (UV) light which is their undoing as kestrels have the amazing ability to be able to see in the UV spectrum as Finnish researchers discovered in 1995.They can home in on the unsuspecting field vole, hover and swoop down on their prey. Next time you see one hovering, take time to watch it as the bird’s eye is fixed unswervingly on its target even if its body is being buffeted in the breeze.

Numbers of this small member of the falcon family have declined by over 30% between 1995 and 2010 according to the 2011 Breeding Bird Survey published by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and research has started to look at why this might be. However kestrels are common across the AONB and have probably benefited from the large area of grass strips farmers have left around their fields for wildlife which are particularly good for small mammals. As part of the Corfe Mullen to Salisbury Pipeline Scheme, Wessex Water have recently funded 10 new kestrel boxes in the Wylye Valley with the help from the volunteers of the Imber Conservation Group.

Business of the Month - Bright Seeds

Bright Seeds

Bright Seeds are an award winning family business supplying specialist seeds for the countryside.

Bright Seeds has a team of over 15 people who specialise in a wide variety of Forage maize, Grain maize, White maize, Bio fuel maize as well as Gamecover, Stewardship, Grass seed, Wildflowers and Game feed.

Based in Burcombe on the outskirts of Salisbury in Wiltshire, Bright Seeds supply the very best tried and tested products with a full back up service which maintains a good long term working relationship with their customers.

Bright Seeds has evolved over the years, moving with the ever changing agricultural market to provide our clients with up to date knowledge and advice. All their products are extensively trialled in the UK and Bright Seeds has over 20 trial sites which includes two main Gamecover sites.

They source seed from all over the world, and also are able to blend their own mixtures, supported by Natural England, RSPB and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

They will be holding an open day at Swallowcliffe trial site on Monday 21st September. Plenty to see whether you are looking for gamecover or forage maize. Please contact the office if you would like to come.

See the Bright Seeds Website for further information: http://tiny.cc/4j741x
Or call: 01722 744494.

Thanks for reading, have a great day, and volunteer to help at the:

The Cranborne Chase Woodfair



AONB Office, Shears Building, Stone Lane Industrial Estate, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1HD
Tel: 01725 517417 | Email: info@cranbornechase.org.uk | Web: www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk

























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