Welcome to the December 2015 E-Bulletin


NAAONB Conference

David Blake

The team took a key role in the 2015 National Association for AONB Conference in Winchester. We were involved in providing workshops for colleagues on improving relationships with the private sector, Big Chalk and had a stall in the Market Place that told people about the farmland Conservation Project.

We organised a field trip that took a minibus full of delegates from the south to the north of the AONB, showing our work on tourism, economic development, biodiversity and collaborations with partners, Wessex Water, farmers and North Wessex Downs AONB.

The Conference was a great opportunity to share with colleagues what we are doing here in Cranborne Chase, but also to get their perspective and input on what we do and how we do it.

The Cranborne Chase Landscape Trust

The newly formed Cranborne Chase Landscape Trust, or CCLT for short, has recently been granted charity status by the Charity Commission. Being a registered charity will help the Trust to raise the funds needed to conserve and enhance the special landscape of the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  

To achieve this, the Trust will:

  • Raise funds for landscape and wildlife conservation projects
  • Administer a small projects grant fund
  • Establish and manage the ‘Cranborne Chase Volunteers’
  • Raise awareness and understanding of the AONB through the development of an events Programme
  • Improve young people's understanding of the countryside and the AONB through educational projects
  • Work in partnership with others to manage land and property for landscape and wildlife
  • Help to create a ‘Countryside Centre’ for the AONB
  • Support the running of the Cranborne Chase Woodfair

For more information about the Trust’s work please have a look at the website: http://www.cranbornechaselt.org.uk/ 

Cranborne Chase Woodfair Update

In October, we had what was arguably our most successful Woodfair to date. We were able to deliver a huge amount of information about the AONB, the Landscape Trust and all our projects in a more effective manner than ever before. As in other years, many of the traders told us that they had had their best trading day of the year. We experienced perfect weather for the event and received a great deal of very positive reactions from people living within, around and far beyond the area.

Giant map at the Cranborne Chase Woodfair

The new model for delivery, working with our commercial partner Bradsons Event Services, was an undoubted success. They managed to put on the event with very short notice; less than ten weeks. They managed to reduce costs of the event from the expected £65,000 to about £45,000: better than expected. Unfortunately the event was severely impacted by the very short lead-in time. This meant that the advertising was not as effective and the gate was down from the expected 7,000 to about 4,000 and the event made a loss of about £8,000.

Projects Update

Donhead Ancient Tree Group


This small project has been working away under the care and attention of Steve Russell.

We have had two training days and about 25 volunteers are now gathering data on ancient and veteran trees in the two Donhead parishes.

In the new year, we will move on to the second phase in which trees will be established.

You can get Steve's contact details, and find out more about ancient and veteran trees on our website at:


Foundations of Archaeology

The Foundations of Archaeology Project celebrates the work of the pioneering archaeologists who first identified the rich upland archaeology of south Wiltshire and north east Dorset.

The project will train up volunteers to help further investigate and evaluate archaeological sites centered on three focus areas associated with these pioneers.

Foundations of Archaeology

We have lots of volunteer opportunities starting Autumn 2015 to late Spring 2017 – including practical conservation on ancient sites;  learning to undertake archaeological surveys; and following in the footsteps of the first archaeologists. No previous experience necessary  –  all ages welcome.

Visit to the Wor Barrow 23rd November 2015
The Wor barrow (right on the boundary of Pitt-Rivers' Rushmore land), was where he was at the peak of his powers: lambasting other archaeologists for not recognising the quarry ditches around barrows and proceeding to total excavation of the barrow, to such an extent that today the site consists of a level platform surrounded by the excavated ditches and banked up spoil from both the ditches and the mound itself.  Read the full article at: http://tinyurl.com/o7fh6yv

Stay up to date at: https://foundationsofarchaeology.wordpress.com/

Grants and Funding

EU LIFE Big Chalk update

Big Chalk

In partnership with South Downs National Park Authority and other AONBs, we are making headway with the Big Chalk Integrated Project.

SDNPA have committed over £10,000 to bringing together an application for Technical Assistance by September 2016. In early December, there will be a partners’ meeting at which AONBs will contribute projects that will complement the core work and in January there will be a training session for participating staff to ensure that we can all use the Logical Framework Approach in bringing the disparate projects and work streams together in a coherent bid. All AONBs on the southern chalk are considering which projects they can bring in to complement this work.
Big Chalk would primarily be a project to deliver all or part of the river basin management plans for four river basins planning area across southern England. It would deliver better integration at a large spatial scale: improved carbon sequestration, reduction of nutrient flows to the sea, reduction of flood risk, support for biodiversity and deliver on social and economic objectives.

Sustainable Development Fund

The total fund is £4,000. Two awards have been made. Save the Drovers Action Group, an project to establish a community pub, has been awarded £1,000 and a conversion of a phone box to a community information point has been awarded £500.

The Save the Drovers Action Group are facing more costs and wish to apply again, we have strong interest from people working on Turtle Dove research to help purchase equipment and there is an interesting proposal developing around wheel chair access to the public rights of way.

We have simplified the application forms so that it is simpler to apply, but that does not guarantee success of course!


Heart of Wessex Funding

Grants to support farming, small & micro enterprises, forestry, rural tourism, culture & heritage and rural services are now available.

Please download a poster for the first Local Action Group meeting for Heart of Wessex (covering the Wiltshire and Somerset areas of the AONB).

If appropriate, please display this poster or pass on to anyone you think may be interested. Find out more at: http://www.heartofwessex.co.uk/

Forestry Businesses

Do you want to expand your forestry business?
Specialist support is now available to forestry businesses from Forestry Commission England to help you access Rural Development Programme (RDPE) funding. Forestry businesses can apply for funding via a number of different RDPE grant schemes – Growth Programme, LEADER, Countryside Productivity and Countryside Stewardship. Some of these grants can cover up to 40% of the total costs. Eligible projects include woodland harvesting, extraction and small-scale processing kit, as well as creating alternative products and developing new forest technologies.

Develop your business plan
One-to-one support is available to some forestry businesses until March 2016. This advice can include identifying the right technical solution; business planning, financial forecasting, legal advice and help with grant applications. Contact kate.tobin@forestry.gsi.gov.uk Local Partnership Advisor, for an Expression of Interest form.

“Pie & Pint” evenings
Over the winter, FC will be running a programme of free events across England for forestry contractors and woodland owners.  In the South West, we are running these informal evenings in partnership with the local LEADER groups and other local woodland organisations. All events run 6.30pm – 8.30pm and booking is essential through Eventbrite. Places are limited. 

Grants for War Memorials – War Memorials Trust

This scheme is currently being reviewed. As such, information may be subject to amendment in the near future. A maximum of 75% of eligible costs are available up to a maximum grant of £30,000.  Eligible projects are:

  • Freestanding war memorials in England with no other functional purpose than as a war memorial (plaques, bridges and buildings, for example are ineligible)
  • Projects must be over £3,000 to be eligible

Annual deadlines are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December 2015

For more information go to www.warmemorials.org/grantsforwarmemorials/

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/

Competition Time

Photographic Competition

Photo Competition

We are seeking entries to our year-long photography competition runs from Autumn 2015 to Autumn 2016.  The competition is for all ages and will be run in two halves.

Deadline for entries:
The AONB in the Autumn/Winter - 10th April 2016
The AONB in the Spring/Summer - 9th October 2016

We will pick a winner in each of the categories below in May 2016 and November 2016 respectively. In addition, we will pick a sixth winner: Young photographer 16yrs or under (any category).

All finalists will go forward for judging and the overall winners will then become ‘Cranborne Chase Outstanding Photographer 2016' and ‘Cranborne Chase Outstanding Young Photographer 2016’.

The categories are:

  • Landscape, wildlife and heritage
  • Health and recreation
  • Rural economy
  • Vibrant communities
  • The sky at night

The winning images will be used in future AONB publications, promotional material and on the website so if you would like to see your photographs in prints please send us your pictures!

Prizes to include….
A selection of stunning books: British Wildlife Photography Awards; Landscape Photographer of the Year; Astronomy Photographer of the Year; Wildlife Photographer of the Year Desk Diary and one to one tuition with a local award winning photographer.  
Find out more on our website at: http://tinyurl.com/o32q2mm

Logo needed for exciting new environmental charity

The Cranborne Chase Landscape Trust is a brand new charity that wants to inspire everyone with an interest in the Cranborne Chase AONB to get involved in the conservation and enhancement of this special landscape.

The Trust will carry out a wide range of activities including raising funds for landscape and wildlife conservation projects; administering a small projects grant fund; providing volunteering opportunities; organising an events programme; developing educational projects; helping to create a ‘Countryside Centre’ for the AONB; and working in partnership with others to manage land and property for landscape and wildlife.

We would like your ideas to help us create a really strong logo and identity for this exciting new venture. If you would like to submit any ideas please read the information provided on the website below and send to the following address:

Address: AONB Office, Shears Building, Stone Lane Industrial Estate, Wimborne BH21 1HB
Email: info@cranbornechaselt.org.uk
Deadline: Friday 18th December

Please mark your envelope/email Logo Competition and don’t forget to supply your name, age (if under 18) and some way of contacting you: address/email address/telephone number.

For more information about the Logo Competition or the Trust’s work please have a look at the website www.cranbornechaselt.org.uk/  

We look forward to hearing from you.

Other News

BIMBY “Beauty-In-My-Back-Yard” Housing Toolkit

A new Housing Toolkit has been launched which will show developers and planners what you want to see in your neighbourhood. It is designed so that community groups can say to developers, ‘we welcome your investment in our community, but we want you to respect our place and build something beautiful that actually improves where we live!’

The online toolkit has been launched by The Prince's Trust which will help shape new developments so that they are well designed and received by communitie.  It is also hoped that it can also be used to help create local and neighbourhood plans.

Find out more information at www.bimby.org.uk.

Are you interested in spotting nature?

If you are interested in getting help to identify wildlife you have found and sharing your observations check out the Open University’s ispot website.

This is a friendly and free community helping to identify wildlife and share nature:

Star-Gazing Events

Support for dark night skies status is continuing to grow - our latest free event (Thurs 10th Dec) has been hugely popular, with no places left.

Wrap up warm, come whatever the weather, and listen to Bob Mizon explain the wonders of our incredible dark night skies with its amazing stars and planets.

Date: 8th February 2016
Location: Upper/Kingston Deverill Village Hall, BA12 7HG
Time: 7pm – 9.30pm

Date: 9th March 2016
Location: New Remembrance Hall, Charlton, SP7 0PL
Time: 8pm – 10pm

Please book a place by emailing info@cranbornechase.org.uk or by calling the office on 01725 517417.

For further information, pledge your support or where to find free star charts go to: www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk/our-work/dark-night-skies. Also, search online for various free downloadable star gazing apps for your mobile.

And Finally...


Bird of the Month - Is.....The Barn Owl

Now that the nights are drawing in we are more likely to see one of the iconic birds of the countryside, the barn owl.

Their white colouration and habit of hunting silently from dusk to dawn had also earned them the nickname ‘ghost owl’. It seems inconceivable now, but in the past many owl species were persecuted due to their association with death and malevolence which extended across Europe, America and Africa.

Mark Cocker in Birds Britannica suggests that this may be partly due to the extraordinary calls and noises they make; “… a wide range of bizarre hisses, screeches and moans – all sounds that are  either completely inhuman or resemble humans only at their most intense moments.” Small mammals such as field voles form a major part of their diet and the considerable reduction in prey-rich grassland has affected their productivity. As their name suggests, they prefer to nest in barns although they also use hollow trees and old ruins and the loss and conversion of numerous traditional farm buildings has left them short of safe places to breed. 

Thank goodness then for the farmers and dedicated volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to put up thousands of barn owl boxes and create rough grassland to allow small mammals to thrive. As part of the Wessex Water Corfe Mullen to Salisbury Pipeline, a grant was made to the Imber Conservation Group to make and erect 12 new barn owl boxes and 10 kestrel boxes across 6 farms in the Wylye Valley in South Wiltshire. This is in addition to the hundreds of boxes provided by the group over the years. Two barn owl boxes are provided per pair to home the male who vacates the box containing the female and owlets sometime after hatching, possibly to get some peace and quiet!

Tracy Adams - South Wiltshire Farmland Conservation Project (SWFCP)



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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