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


Landscape Partnerships (LP) are a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant programme for the conservation and enjoyment of areas of distinctive landscape character.  Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has submitted a First Stage Application to this fund on behalf of a partnership of organisations. 



Celebrated by artists, archaeologists, scholars and writers, the name ‘Cranborne Chase’ evokes an ancient landscape with a rich patina of interrelated natural, built and cultural assets. This is a dramatic, distinctive and historic chalk landscape where ‘voices in the landscape’ can still be heard. Along with a sense of remoteness, tranquillity and dark night skies, Cranborne Chase offers a deep sense of place.

The Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership focuses on the traditional heart of the Medieval royal hunting ground, and the river valley to the north known locally as the Chalke Valley. There have always been historical, natural and social links between the valley and the Chase downland which the LP scheme will explore and reinforce. A broad range of activities will allow individuals, communities and new audiences to help conserve, enhance, understand and learn about this unique heritage and to become the beating heart of the Cranborne Chase itself.

The Landscape Partnership Area

Bokerley Dyke
Bokerley Dyke

The Landscape Partnership (LP) area sits within the southern England chalk formation. It lies between the market towns of Shaftesbury and Blandford Forum, on the western edge, and the village of Coombe Bissett on the east. The area measures 254km2. It is bounded on the western and northern sides by steep chalk escarpments. The eastern boundary has been drawn along a dry valley where there is a change in the topography at Coombe Bissett. The southern boundary has been extended south of the A354. This has allowed for the inclusion of a prehistoric landscape of national importance, and Martin Down National Nature Reserve (NNR) which represents the second largest area of uninterrupted chalk downland in Britain.

This is a deeply rural, sparsely populated area of 11,000 people. A further 60,000 people live in the adjacent market towns. Just under half a million people live within half an hour’s drive in the conurbation of Poole/Bournemouth/Christchurch. The area covers all or part of 30 modern parishes. Larger villages include: Sixpenny Handley; Tollard Royal; Ashmore; Berwick St John; Broad Chalke; Bishopstone and Coombe Bissett.

The First Round bid

BTCV group in Garston Wood
BTCV group in Garston Wood

The Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership bid was submitted to HLF  at the beginning of June 2016. The threats to the heritage of the area were identified under six main areas namely issues and problems affecting:  habitats; species; the historic environment; culturally significant features; access and landscape character.

Projects that could help address the identified threats and to make the most of the opportunities presented were developed with partners.  These are outlined in Appendix 2 and are organised under five complementary programmes of work and activities. Please note that project ideas will be further developed during the Development Stage (see below) if the bid is successful at this stage.

Development Stage

A full time Development Officer (DO) will be employed, and managed by the AONB Director. The DO will formally establish and work with the Landscape Partnership Board (LPB) to produce the Stage 2 bid for the Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership scheme. They will work alongside the existing AONB Team, the wider AONB Partnership and scheme partners to develop the work and activity at the heart of the scheme. The DO will ensure that the activities delivered will provide a balanced programme of work, that maximises opportunity for engagement and which fully address the scheme’s vision and objectives. They will coordinate regular meetings of the LP Board (LPB).

A comprehensive programme of stakeholder engagement will be undertaken during the Development Stage to ensure that local people have the fullest opportunity to help develop the projects, activities and opportunities to be delivered through the scheme. There will also be a programme of wider community outreach building linkages and contacts with both the surrounding market towns and the conurbation.

A series of strategies and reports will be commissioned to meet HLF requirements and to inform the second round submission:

  • A landscape scale Heritage Compendium. This will consist of an evidence base comprising a series of layers (GIS derived maps and supporting documents) which bring all known data together on the natural, historic and cultural heritage together. This information can then be ‘cut’ to parish or farm level.

The following three surveys will feed into the Heritage Compendium:

  • An updated Local Landscape Character Assessment for the area.
  • Survey of archival sources collating key sources of information on the history of the area.
  • Biodiversity Permeability Mapping for key habitats

Other specialist reports include:

  • Branding Strategy
  • Audience Development Strategy
  • Interpretation Plan
  • Creative Arts Advice
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy

Funding request

Bid Total: £2,411,265

HLF request:  £1,684,100 (this equates to a HLF delivery grant of 70%)


Result of First Round bid - October 2016
Contract for Development Stage from HLF - December 2016
Adverting for Development Officer post - January 2017
Recruitment of Development Officer -  March 2017
Submission Round 2 bid  -  June 2018
Result of Second Round bid -   October 2018
Contract for Delivery Stage from HLF -   January/February  2019
Start of Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership Scheme  -  April 2019
Finish of Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership Scheme  -  March 2024

LP Project Team

The Project Team will comprise a Programme Manager (FT), a Heritage and Landscape Officer (FT for 4 year), a Communications and Promotion Officer (PT) and an Admin and Finance Officer (PT).

If you have any questions or would like to be kept informed please contact:

Anne Carney, Funding and Partnership Officer

Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, AONB Office, Shears Building, Stone Lane Industrial Estate, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 1HD

Tel: 01725 517417
Email: annecarney@cranbornechase.org.uk