Welcome to the July 2016 E-Bulletin

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 in the country. The immense historic and biodiversity riches in this nationally Protected Area are held in high esteem by both local communities and visitors.
Welcome to the E Bulletin of Cranborne Chase AONB for all the latest news..


Calling all AONB businesses!

AONB Locator Logo

Many businesses in other AONBs have found that really promoting the fact that they are 'doing business in' such a stunning and special Protected Area, has given them a much higher profile, especially if they are in the rural tourism sector.

Our Cranborne Chase AONB Locator Logo is now available for you to experiment with in publicising your product or service. Also free is a CD with free photos and descriptions of the area that can be used by you to help promote your products or services.

These locator logos clearly show that a business is 'located in', 'doing business in', or 'crafted in' Cranborne Chase AONB. There are several to choose from, whichever suits your business best; it can be used on labels, web sites, press releases, packaging/bags or however you wish to use it to promote your business. The logo is quite simply a statement that a business is operating within this beautiful protected area and/or utilising local produce.

It is free to use for the 2016-17 year, in return for some feedback at the end of the year. If interested please contact the AONB office for a simple application form, or fill out the form online. We can then send you the CD and whichever locator logo you want to use. Email: info@cranbornechase.org.uk for more details, or see the website.

Cranborne Chase AONB ranks 8th darkest out of the 34 AONBs

CPRE Dark Skies MapNew interactive maps offer most detailed ever picture of England's light pollution and dark skies. The most detailed ever satellite maps of England's light pollution and dark skies, were recently released by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). They show that 52% of Cranborne Chase AONB is in Band 1 - which is the darkest category.

CPRE Dark Skies

The maps, produced using satellite images captured at 1.30am throughout September 2015, show that as well as having 52% of the AONB in the darkest category, 40% of the AONB is in the next darkest category. This makes the Cranborne Chase AONB one of the darkest places in England!

View the maps online.

Cranborne Chase AONB is in the process of working towards International Dark Sky Reserve status and this new research provides clear evidence that this nationally Protected Area does indeed have some of the darkest skies in the land. There is, however, no legislation that can be enforced to protect dark night skies. To achieve International Dark Sky Reserve status, all those responsible for lighting (Local Authorities, Highway Departments, businesses and individual residents) are required to ensure that light pollution (light escaping sideways and upwards) is reduced to an absolute minimum.

CPRE is calling on the local authorities which fall within the AONB boundary to use these maps to identify areas with light pollution and target action to reduce it, as well as identifying existing dark skies that need protecting.

Dark Sky Pledge

- help to gain International Dark Sky Reserve status for Cranborne chase AONB! Go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/NL375VD and take the Dark Sky Pledge if you'd like to support this work.

Cranborne Chase AONB Partnership is working closely with the British Astronomical Association's (BAA) 'Campaign for Dark Skies' and Wessex Astronomical Association to achieve International Dark Sky Reserve status. Bob Mizon of BAA has provided some extremely helpful information on lighting that can be downloaded from our website.

Very popular stargazing evenings were held throughout last autumn/winter with more events planned for this coming season.

Planning in the AONB

A Guide to Conserving and Enhancing the Landscape Settings of our Rural Highways

A Guide to Conserving and Enhancing the Landscape Settings of our Rural Highways

The purpose of this document is to help the AONB Partnership, highway authorities, local authorities, landscape managers, contractors, parish councils and other parties to:

  • enable local councils and their staff to understand the significance of highway landscapes
  • encourage residents and visitors to perceive and appreciate the characteristics of the nationally important and designated landscapes from the highway; and
  • look after the highway environment sensitively and in harmony with the landscapes.

You can download this document in PDF format from our website.

Pre-application advice charges

The Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership is committed to providing pre-application advice. That advice can help refine proposals or avoid expenditure on schemes that are unlikely to comply with objectives and policies.

However, with limited resources that advice cannot be open ended, and those that would like more than the currently free single site visit, letter, or meeting will have to pay for the extra commitment. This is seen as being fair and continuing to provide a free basic service whilst also making provision for those that wish to have more detailed or extensive advice or information.

The AONB pre-application charges came into being as of 1st April 2016. For further information on these charges please contact the AONB office on 01725 517417 or email info@cranbornechase.org.uk.

Good Practice Note: Using Landscape Character Assessments in Neighbourhood Planning

For those communities coming together to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan within the AONB, the team is currently putting together a Good Practice Note that will offer an opportunity to ensure the local distinctiveness of where you live is sustained, conserved and enhanced. As well as being the setting for everyday lives, Cranborne Chase AONB's landscapes also provide areas of beauty and tranquillity which provide opportunities to improve mental and physical wellbeing.

Recognising landscape in Neighbourhood Plans provides an opportunity to identify what gives the place where you live its local distinctiveness and unique 'sense of place'. This can help to ensure that its special qualities and distinctive characteristics are protected, and enhanced, through the Neighbourhood Planning process. The Good Practice Note should be available from September.

Projects Update

Turtle Dove Camera Update June 28th 2016

Turtle Dove feeding on grain spilt from the cattle trough

For those Facebook followers, you will be familiar with the 8 trial cameras we put out on a farm on the Cranborne Chase last month to determine whether or not turtle doves were feeding on a special seed mix planted for them last year.

No turtle doves yet but plenty of brown hares, fallow deer, roe deer and rabbits! Three of the cameras have been moved to a different site, a farmyard near to Martin Down where the birds have been recorded nesting. Turtle doves feed exclusively on seed which can be hard to come by in the countryside in June so farmyards, particularly with livestock being fed grain, are a potential good site for activity.

After just one week and hundreds of photos later, we have plenty of photos of turtle doves feeding under a cattle trough along with numerous yellowhammers, jackdaws, chaffinches and pheasants. Sadly food hygiene legislation now means that a former source of food, the grain store, has to be secure and exclude all birds and mammals. It just goes to show the importance of livestock on farms and how many birds depend on spilt grains in messy farmyards. We are now looking at ways we can capture the turtle doves and mark them for easy identification in order to monitor movement and numbers in future years.

Stepping Stones

Chalk Milkwort

The chalk grassland of South Wiltshire and Dorset, the downland of Salisbury Plain, the West Wiltshire Downs and the Pewsey and Marlborough Downs, are one of the county's crowning glories and much of it is protected in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is a haven for unusual wild plants, rare insects and is also rich in archaeological interest.

For the last four years, the Cranborne Chase AONB together with the North Wessex Downs AONB and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have teamed up in a project called Stepping Stones. We mapped all the remaining chalk grassland around Salisbury Plain and then identified several 'hotspots' where we could create ecological stepping stones, small areas of improved or new grassland that would link existing species-rich sites. As a part of this work, dedicated volunteers in Chilmark have been growing hundreds of wild plants from seed, without which we would not have been able to run this project.

On a chilly morning in April, colleagues from the two AONB teams arrived at Pertwood Organic Farm near Longbridge Deverill and, assisted by local volunteers, planted about 400 kidney vetch, bird's foot trefoil and salad burnet plants.

Stepping Stones

The downland at Pertwood was 'improved' in the past, but that meant many wild flowers were lost and with them the butterflies and other insects that depended upon them. The farm's owner, Mr Wilf Mole, now wants to restore much of that lost biodiversity. The planting undertaken by the AONB teams is just a first step in that bigger project. It is hoped that the new plants, all of which are food plants for rare downland butterflies, will spread in the grasslands of Pertwood. This will enable wandering butterflies, perhaps from nearby Mere Down and its species-rich ancient grasslands, to colonise new areas on Pertwood and then continue to spread outwards to new homes and increased populations.

Chalke Valley History Festival

Foundations of Archaeology Project

Over one week in each year, the Chalke Valley becomes THE place to be for historians from all over the country and further afield.

Chalke Valley History Festival - Warbird

The Chalke Valley History Festival has become a solid fixture in the national events calendar, attracting about 10,000 people daily on the final weekend. Huge numbers braved the Somme-like conditions (appropriately enough, as we commemorated that awful battle in a moving ceremony on the Friday evening) to hear a wide range of talks and shows from the stellar presenters, meet re-enactors from every vintage and marvel as one of the country's best flying displays roared into the valley.

The AONB was present most of the week, promoting and recruiting to the Foundations of Archaeology Project.

Chalke Valley History Festival

This is our Heritage Lottery supported project that examines sites studied by the great antiquarians such as Sir Richard Colt Hoare of Stourhead and William Cunnington of Heytesbury using modern geophysical techniques. We had our first results to show people and we were very privileged and honoured to have a special guest on our stand. General Augustus Pitt Rivers, the Father of Archaeology and a previous owner of Rushmore Estate was giving 'pop-up' talks all week (despite having been cremated in 1900).

OK, it was actually an actor just playing being Pitt Rivers, but it added hugely to the fun we all had and drew crowds that totalled nearly 300 people!

Simon Meaden, Cranborne Chase farmer and father of the famous cider brewing Bill Meaden, was also there with his mobile museum. He has built a shepherd's hut and kitted it out with finds from, and information on, the past 4,000 years on his farm. The AONB Sustainable Development Fund had been able to help with some of the cost, so we were doubly delighted to have him there.

If you want to find out more about the Foundations of Archaeology, go to the Project blog.

Funding Update

Kingfisher Awards

Kingfisher Awards

The Kingfisher Award Scheme (KAS) provides children with the opportunity to go onto farms to explore the natural world.

First launched in Devon by the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and friends in 1992, KAS now works with around 800 children a year across four counties (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire). KAS is now an educational initiative of the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group SouthWest (FWAG SouthWest).

The AONB Sustainable Development Fund provided the Wiltshire Kingfisher Awards with its first income of just £500. Since, then we have been privileged to support the scheme in any way we can.

Here in Wiltshire, Kingfisher is run by enthusiastic volunteer Alastair Brown. He started the scheme some years ago as a result of seeing his brother do the same thing in Somerset. He had always had an enthusiasm for wildlife since a very early age and wanted to inspire the same thing in others. Alastair says, "I particularly liked the way that Kingfisher set out to achieve its aim of taking children onto farms and allowing them to discover the relationship between food, farming and wildlife."

This year, Alastair will be hanging up his wellies and handing over to FWAG South West's Louise Kennedy who will be taking up the responsibilities for the Kingfisher programme in the future. If you would like to learn more about Kingfisher, or would be interested in your school getting involved, then you can contact Louise at louise.kennedy@fwagsw.org.uk or see the FWAGSW website.

The WHSmith Trust

The WHSmith Trust is an independent registered charity that aims to support good causes in the local communities where WHSmith operates, and also to promote literacy and a love of reading. The WHSmith Trust is now offering grants of up to £500 to voluntary organisations and schools from the proceeds of the compulsory carrier bag levies across the UK.

Grants are awarded every six months to charities, schools and community groups of any size, provided they support the community in the UK. To apply for a Community Grant, fill out the application on the WH Smith website.

There are two annual application rounds - 1 October to 3 March, and 1 April to 30 September. At the end of each six month period, grant applications are reviewed and grants issued.

Tesco Bags of Help

The Tesco Bags of Help grant is now up and running. The money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores in England, Wales and Scotland is being used to pay for a large number of local projects to improve green spaces in communities. Projects that will get the green light as a result of the funding will include building new pocket parks, sports facilities, woodland walks and community gardens. Find out more, and how to apply.

Other sources of funding

Heart of Wessex LEADER Local Action Group - grants for rural businesses and organisations: www.heartofwessex.co.uk.

Northern Dorset LEADER Local Action Group - grants for rural businesses and organisations: www.dorsetleader.org.uk.

You can also see all the funding information on the AONB Website funding page. This shows the latest postings from our funding blogger page, and you can subscribe to receive automatic updates.

Photo Competition Update

Congratulations to the winner of the Autumn/Winter 2015 section of the photo competition - Helen Gibson with a stunning photograph of Fontmell Down near to Compton Abbas Airfield.

Helen Gibson - Fontmell Down

Judges comments: We liked the composition of this image of one of the classic views from the downlands of the AONB. The dark hill-top beech copse on the right is balanced by the dark cloud on the left and the streak of yellow flowering gorse leads your eye into the image. It is an optimistic image; the sunlight is chasing away the frost and mist that clings stubbornly in the vale.

If you feel inspired we are seeking entries to our to the second half of year-long photography competition which runs from Autumn 2015 to Autumn 2016. The competition is for all ages and you can win fabulous prizes including 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.

Photo Competition

Deadline for entries:

The AONB in the Spring/Summer - 9th October 2016.

We will pick a winner in each of the categories below in November 2016. 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!

For further details on how to enter and submit your images, please see our website:

New regulations regarding the sale of wild game

Food Standards Agency Logo

Many people in the AONB enjoy game shooting, deer stalking and fishing. Mostly, people will take home what they shoot or catch and prepare it as a meal for the family. However, a significant number of people sell some of the game to Approved Game Handling Establishments of which there are several operating in the AONB. Last year, new regulations came into force and if you are planning on selling any game then you should be aware of them. They may not apply to you at all; they are not designed to catch out the small-time pot-hunter. So how can you tell if the regulations apply to you? Download the guidance at www.food.gov.uk.

You will find a very useful flow chart on page nine of the guidance that should make it all clear.
Good hunting!

Dorset Food & Drink's Charity Calendar

Dorset Food & Drink's Charity Calendar

There is a new fantastic and inspiring 2017 calendar now on sale raising money for 2 Dorset charities - Julia's House for children and Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.

The calendar about women in business working in Dorset producing and selling high quality local and artisan food & drink.

Katharine Wright, Dorset Food & Drink Co-Ordinator comments: "Dorset is increasingly becoming known as a hotspot for amazing local food producers and this calendar is a celebration of the women behind some of these brands. Not only are we keen to highlight the women and the amazing Dorset products, we also want to show those at home how to create some of the delicious products with the on-page recipes. We hope to see Dorset recipes cropping up in kitchens all over the country!"

Dorset food and drink has been set up and managed by the Dorset AONB Partnership which knows that supporting the take up local food has real benefits to the Dorset environment, the local economy and the people who live and work here. For more information, visit www.dorsetfoodanddrink.org, or see their facebook page for the latest updates: www.facebook.com/dorsetfoodanddrinkcalendar/ or call Katharine Wright on 01305 228239.

And Finally...

Great Bustard

Bird of the Month - Is.....The Great Bustard! Otis tarda

The Great Bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds alive today and can be found across Europe, as far south as Spain and as far north as the Russian steppes. The conservation status of the Great Bustard is listed as vulnerable, with populations in many countries being in decline. The species became extinct in the UK in 1832.

The Great Bustard Project on Salisbury Plain is working to reintroduce the species to the UK and to promote its interests throughout its range. There still remains plenty of habitat suitable for Great Bustards in the UK, in particular the rolling downland and arable fields of Wessex.

You can find out more about the project at www.greatbustard.org. You can also arrange a visit to see these fabulous birds - and you'll have a good chance to see wild breeding females with chicks. Hobbies are often seen now as well, and the occasional Montagu's Harrier. Bustard do remain the stars, of course, with a group or Drove of 8 males being seen from the hide most days.



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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