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Welcome to The Hart

Cranborne Chase AONB E-Bulletin August 2014


  • New AONB Management Plan
  • Annual Forum
  • Sharing, Learning, Inspiring: Landscapes for Life
  • Funding to support rural jobs
  • Planning Matters
  • General News

New AONB Management Plan

This is adopted by the nine Local Authorities who share responsibility for guiding the management of this nationally important area.
The management plan is available to view online at:
AONB Management Plan
To order a free DVD of the Management Plan, please contact the office on 01725 517417 or email

Annual Forum

The Cranborne Chase AONB held its Annual Forum to celebrate the new Management Plan 2014-19, a community led document, in July.

The team reported on the previous years Partnership achievements which included:
  • the Sustainable Rural Tourism initiatives in the Nadder and Chalke Valleys
  • the continuing success of the Farmland Bird Project
  • Sustainable Development Fund projects
  • The rising number and types of planning applications received for comment
  • The imminent bid for Leader funding under the title ‘Heart of Wessex’
  • The ‘Stepping Stones’ project – improving grassland habitat and linkages
  • The successful Woodfair 2013 held at Breamore House last October
The AONB team went on to explain the aim for ‘Dark Night Sky’ status in the AONB over the next two years. Well-known Dorset astronomer Bob Mizon, UK Co-ordinator, British Astronomical Association Campaign for Dark Skies, was also on hand to explain what this all means and how everyone within the AONB can help whilst demonstrating his mobile inflatable planetarium for those less familiar with the constellations.
This was a particular highlight with one gentleman commenting that he had learnt things today that he should have known as a boy, he added, “I am 92 my dear and still learning.”
AONB commemorative projects celebrating World War 1 were also showcased with interesting discussions from Antony Firth from the Sutton Downs Badges Society and Richard Adams from the Wylye Valley 1914 Project. The community is celebrating the centenary of the start of the Great War in 1914 and the sudden dramatic social and practical effects this had on the local Wiltshire population of Codford. There will be a series of events running during August (more information below).

The AONB would like to thank the 75 people who attended the event and their very positive feedback.

Wylye Valley 1914 Project -
Sutton Downs Badges -

Sharing, Learning, Inspiring: Landscapes for Life

In early July, our Project Development Officer, David Blake, and the AONB Partnership Vice-Chairman Michael Mounde attended the annual conference of the National Association for AONB.

The theme for this year's gathering was "Learning, Sharing, Inspiring".
The title is recognition that the 46 AONB throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland are working together much more than ever before to achieve our common objectives: sharing our resources, learning and from each other; inspiring our partners and the people whom we serve.
Find out more on the AONB Blog.

Funding to support rural jobs

LEADER is a community-led European funding programme supporting rural development.
In the last programme (2007-2013) the AONB was covered by the Sowing SEEDS Local Action Group (LAG).  The LAG enabled £1.6m investment in 35 projects including community shops, renewable energy, butchery and wood processing initiatives.
Please contact the LAG (using the link below) that covers your area if you have any questions, if you’d just like an informal chat about an idea for a project or about joining the Local Action Group. 
More information and contact details are available on the AONB Blog.

Planning Matters

Guidance on colour in the landscape

Often structures in the landscape are unnecessarily obvious owing to the colour of their materials.  Light colours, especially white, stand out a lot – and are used as warning signs in the animal kingdom.  The blue-greens beloved by interior designers do not match or integrate with the yellower greens of the outdoors.  Shiny surfaces, reflecting light, attract attention – remember the reflective car windscreens that draw attention to otherwise discrete parking areas that, nevertheless lack screening.  The AONB has produced a guidance note to help everyone reduce visual intrusion into the nationally important landscapes of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Download Colour in the Landscape PDF

P&T Seminar

This year’s Planning and Transportation Seminar is planned for 6th November, and will focus on taking forward gaining Dark Night Skies status for the AONB, a key policy of the newly revised and adopted AONB Management Plan 2014-19.  National figures will be helping us understand what has to be done and how to do it – including interpreting lighting plans, getting effective lighting without light pollution, and information on light fittings that give good light and don’t prejudice dark night skies.  Look out for the details and booking form on our web site, and in the meantime take a look at our Position Statement on Light Pollution:
Download Position Statement on Light Pollution PDF

Renewable energy

The AONB team encourages the use of PV panels on business and farm buildings, where there are no issues with Listed Building or Conservation Area status, in addition to domestic installation.  The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the adopted AONB Management Plan are, however, clear that conserving and enhancing natural beauty are the top priority for the AONB Partnership.  Large scale PV and wind turbine schemes are unlikely to meet those criteria, so the AONB only supports renewable energy generation schemes that integrate with the landscape character, are neither visually intrusive to the AONB or its setting, nor impair significant views to or from it, are not harmful to wildlife, and are of an appropriate scale to their location and siting.  There is a Position Statement on our web site, and our Dorset AONB colleagues have produced detailed guidance about the location of small scale wind turbines in the landscape.
Download Position Statement on Renewable Energy PDF
Download Wind Turbine Development in the Dorset AONB PDF

General News

Cranborne village becomes a Vodafone local “Champion”

Cranborne has become one of a cluster of local Champions to use the new Vodafone ‘open femto’ technology which provides vital connectivity in rural areas battling with poor broadband and 3G signal coverage.

With the help of a Community Champion the Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs AONB, local MP Bob Walter and the local Parish Council, Cranborne village put together an application to be a trial community, fighting off some stiff competition which resulted in 170 initial applications that in turn were shortlisted to 20 from which the final 12 were chosen.
Read More on the Blog

Wylye Valley 2014

The AONB was originally approached by the Codford Local History Society in October 2012, to help to produce a map documenting the military activity between Longbridge Deverill and Codford circa 1914-1919. 

It was decided to create an interpretive display map of 8m x 3m for a weekend of activities on July 26th and 27th.

We are proud to have supported this local group both through SDF funding and through our in-house GIS expert, Harry Bell, who compiled the digitised map along with the help of Emma Townsend at Wyvern Heritage, and Richard Broadway of Broadway Designs.
For further information, please see our blog page, and the Wylye Valley 1914 Project website.

The AONB Partnership aims for Dark Night Sky status

The AONB Partnership has a new and clear objective to apply for ‘dark night sky status’ by the end of 2016.

The process involves taking light readings, defining a ‘core area’ within the AONB with the darkest skies, a ‘buffer zone’ around that core area, developing and agreeing lighting policies with all those bodies responsible for lighting and gaining the support of AONB communities.
Read More on the Blog

We've Moved

Don't forget that we have moved office, and are now based in Wimborne.  The full address is:
Cranborne Chase AONB Office
Stone Lane Industrial Estate
Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1HD
Tel: 01725 517417

And finally...

The AONB Partnership bid a sad farewell to Nicky Matthews, our Communications Officer, in June.
Nicky had been with the AONB team for many years producing press releases, magazine articles and ‘The Hart’ newsletter twice a year, undertaking education work in schools and co-organiser of the biennial Woodfair amongst many other things. Nicky also had a big hand in the AONB web site together with updating its frequent blog items and the AONB Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Nicky was always smiling and busy, and it’s definitely gone rather quiet now!

Harry Bell, our IT wizard, will be taking on much of that work now so for any communications type issues, comments or ideas please contact

We wish Nicky all the very best in her future endeavours – and we’re all very sad to see her leave…..
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