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Latest news from the Chilterns AONB

Hello readers,

STOP PRESS: Today on Women's Hour, listen to our fantastic Board Member Dr Geeta Ludhra talking to Anita Rani about the amazing walking community that she's built through Dadima's CIC. Geeta champions health and wellbeing and diversity in the Chilterns. Today Friday 22nd October between 10 and 11am on BBC Radio 4 (listen again via the women's hour webpage if you miss it!).

Welcome to the October edition of the Chilterns AONB newsletter - and what a busy month it's been, with all the preparation for the Chilterns Walking Festival and our Autumn Festival of Chilterns Food & Drink. We hope you've managed to book onto a walk or two, or a foodie event!

This month's newsletter is full of chalk stream conservation news, including the launch of the exciting £3 million Smarter Water Catchment Project to protect the River Chess. The Ver Valley Society's volunteers also received a prestigious award, and you can hear from Professor Kate Heppell on her secondment to the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project. Also, we welcome two new recruits to the Chiltern Society who will help deliver our joint Chalk Streams and Wetland Meadows Project.

We're also pleased to announce our latest Book Competition winners and share details of a job opportunity with Pastures for Life CIC.

The beautiful header image depicts Hambleden Brook, taken by Allen Beechey, our Chalk Streams Project Officer.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Vicki Pearce
Communications Officer



F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M
V I S I T our W E B S I T E V I S I T our W E B S I T E
E M A I L the T E A M E M A I L the T E A M

£3 million Smarter Water Catchment Project to protect the River Chess

The Chilterns Conservation Board was delighted to join with Thames Water, the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, the River Chess Association and other partners to launch a new £3 million project for protecting and enhancing the River Chess.

The project involves a 10-year commitment to improve biodiversity, water quality and community involvement. It will bring together organisations, community groups and residents from across the region to help secure a brighter future for the River Chess and other rivers in the area. 

The project will also aim to improve local access to the river, create school programmes and provide new volunteering opportunities. Working with schools will provide pupils with a valuable insight into water-related issues and sustainability education, and will help ensure that the community can benefit from these special rivers.

Read more

DEFRA visits Chilterns AONB

DEFRA's Access and Engagement team came to the Chilterns AONB in September for their team away day. They received a warm welcome at the National Trust's Ashridge Estate.

It was great to discuss connecting people with nature and landscape over coffee, and to enjoy a walk led by Matt from the Ashridge Estate. Among the many topics discussed was a shared focus on improving inclusion and diversity in the countryside.

We were also pleased to welcome the DEFRA Future Landscapes Team to the Chilterns on 18th October. This time we met in our Mend The Gap project area. Mend The Gap aims to heal the scars to the landscape caused by the electrification of the Great Western Main Line near the Goring Gap. The day included a walk and visit to BBOWT's Hartslock Nature Reserve where we heard from Martyn Lane about how they care for this special area of chalk grassland.

Queens Award for Voluntary Service for the Ver Valley Society

Huge congratulations to one of our key partners, The Ver Valley Society, for receiving the honour of a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The award was given in recognition for 45 years of volunteer efforts in caring and campaigning for the River Ver chalk stream.

The Society said on twitter: "We're as determined as ever to fight for more water & wildlife in our #chalkstream."  

Protecting the Chilterns Chalk Streams just wouldn't be possible without the efforts of the many voluntary groups and organisations who work tirelessly to conserve our rare and previous Chilterns Chalk Streams habitats.

Find out more

Professor Kate Heppell's secondment to the Chalk Streams Project

We're really pleased that Kate Heppell has been seconded to the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project (CCSP) from Queen Mary University of London for one year, in order to work on a number of initiatives.

Let's hear from Kate about the work she'll be doing this year. 
"Much of my time will be focused on the Chess Smarter Water Catchments project which is being hosted by Chilterns Chalk Streams Project (CCSP). I’m making a baseline assessment of the health of the River Chess using datasets from the partner organisations and joining hydrological, chemical and ecological datasets to add value to data collected by the CCSP over the last ten years.

"I’ll also be creating and initiating a monitoring plan for the River Chess to help assess whether the different actions that comprise the Smarter Water Catchment strategy have led to a demonstrable improvement in river ecosystem health over the ten-year project.

"During my secondment I'll be helping to celebrate 25 years of the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project by developing a State of the Environment reporting methodology for the Chiltern Streams, and assessing the achievements made over the lifetime of the project. Whilst I’m working with the organisation I also hope to get some hands-on experience of river restoration projects around the Chilterns AONB." 
Find out about the Chilterns Chalk Stream Project

The Chiltern Society gains two new recruits for the Chalk Streams & Wetland Meadows Project

The Chiltern Society is delighted to have recruited two new staff members to deliver the Chalk Streams and Wetland Meadows Project, a joint project with The Chilterns Conservation Board, funded by the government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. 

Laura Silverstone has taken up the post of Education and Engagement Officer, and Adrian Porter has taken up the post of Rivers Officer. 

Read more about Laura and Adrian's experience and interests, and more about the project.
Read more

Little Trees Book Competition Winners

The winners of the book giveaway in our June newsletter are:
  • Sue Cooper from Ewelme has won The Little Tree Book.
  • Jan Atkinson from Amersham won Chiltern Trails and Tales.
Your book copies have been posted out to you. Thank you to everyone who entered!

HS2 Update

We continue to liaise with our partners in an effort to scrutinise HS2 Ltd's activities and hold them to account.

The next issue will feature an update, including our concerns over the latest design of the Amersham vent shaft, the trees at Leather Lane in Great Missenden and the impact of tunneling operations on the chalk aquifer.

Job opportunity: Pasture-Fed Livestock Association is looking for a Chilterns Facilitator

The PFLA is looking for a dynamic organiser to help them develop pasture-fed farming and supply chains in the Chilterns.

It's a one-day-a-week job to start, with the potential to increase that if local projects can be established. The position would suit someone with a job in the food, farming or conservation sectors looking for an additional role.

To find out more, please contact: 

PFLA website
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. You can also keep up to date with the latest news and information on our website or by following us on social media.
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