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Season's Greetings from all of us at the Chilterns Conservation Board

Hello and welcome to our special festive newsletter!

Thank you for your support in subscribing to our newsletter over the past year - I hope you've enjoyed hearing about our news and updates. For those of you who would like to shop local and cut down on "stuff", this edition has some great experience gift ideas. We're also excited to share new opportunities to become a citizen scientist and report on progress with some fantastic conservation stories. 

As 2022 comes to a close, we're excited to know we'll be working with all our amazing partners again in the New Year, especially with so many exciting things to look forward to in 2023. We'll be reporting progress on the Chilterns AONB boundary review and launching a revitalised Chess Valley Walk in April. There'll also be lots of events and festivals such as our Chilterns Walking Festival and a new Chilterns Drama Festival, as part of the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Project. You can also look out for more exciting adventures with the Chilterns New Shoots young conservationists.

We hope you'll be able to get out and about ovr the festive season and enjoy a winter's walk or wheelchair ramble, intrepid pushchair perambulation or cycle ride, and enjoy the Chilterns whatever the weather! Do visit our Interactive map for some great ideas for walks, rides and places to visit. 

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Best wishes,

Vicki Pearce
Communications Officer

In this Issue

Hillforts and Christmas dinner!

It was fantastic to finally have a proper Christmas get together, post-pandemic, for the Chilterns Conservation Board staff team! On a cold and foggy day we had a very enjoyable and atmospheric walk around the National Trust managed Pulpit Hill, near Princes Risborough in the Central Chilterns. 

After a close encounter with some friendly alpacas, we were treated to a brilliant tour by our resident archaeologist, Dr. Wendy Morrison, who shared theories of what this iron age hillfort was most likely to have been used for. A hearty lunch at the Three Crowns pub in Askett warmed us all up afterwards.

Novel Christmas gift ideas in the Chilterns 

Do you have friends and family that just don't want to gather more 'stuff' this Christmas? Why not give them the gift of an experience to remember? We've put together a hand-picked list of Christmas experience gifts created by local businesses in the Chilterns. 

There are experiences for the adventurous and active, such as family bushcraft days, guided hikes and cycle tours. Or try some foodie ideas, quirky ideas and ways to relax, unwind and indulge in nature or learn a new creative skill. We’ve also highlighted some walking ideas for you too, some with tea and cake stops at the end, so that you can give the gift of time together to your family or friend.

Find experiences

LUC appointed as consultants for the Chilterns AONB Boundary Review

We are pleased that Land Use Consultants (LUC) have been appointed as consultants for Natural England’s review of the Chilterns AONB boundary. We have worked closely with LUC on several projects in the past, including revisions of a number of district landscape character assessments, infrastructure design principles and development mitigation proposals and we welcome the opportunity of working with them on this important review of the Chilterns boundary.

The LUC team is being led by Kate Ahern and Ed White, and their first task will be to assess available evidence relevant to the natural beauty of areas around the existing boundary. We will be sharing more details in future newsletters but, in the meantime, please refer to the FAQs and feel free to send any questions to 

Read more about the Boundary Review project

Free creative writing workshops inspired by the sights and sounds of the Chilterns AONB

As part of Chalk, Cherries and Chairs' Chilterns Stories festival, during January 2023 a series of interactive creative writing workshops are taking place, exploring the sights and sounds of the Chilterns AONB, including our memories and stories about the past, present and future. 

These inputs will be used to enhance our Sour Cherry Soup book, adding community contributions about the Chilterns, which will then result in a new production of Sour Cherry Soup, which will tour in June 2023 as part of the Chilterns Drama festival.
Upcoming workshops: 
Read more and book to attend a free workshop

Christmas Competition: WIN a copy of The Ballard of Bodgers Wood, a new children's book by Rachel Rooney 

Also part of the Chiltern Stories Festival, the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs project has commissioned a new ballad for little ones, written by acclaimed children’s poet, Rachel Rooney, and illustrated by Ekta Bajaj and Paul Aherne.

The Ballard of Bodgers Wood explores the lives of two children at the turn of the industrial revolution, who are drawn together over a love for the Chiltern woods and the magic therein. Tradition and modernity set among the leafy, ancient beech woodlands of old Buckinghamshire. When Majorie meets apprentice Bodger boy Arthur they teach each other about their different lives. 

Rachel launched the book at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre on 27th November with a book reading, family walk, and a children's creative writing workshop.

Photo: Drew Eckheart
To celebrate its publication, we are giving away a copy to one lucky winner. To enter the competition send an email to by 5th January 2023, with the subject line 'Bodgers competition'.

Please include your full name, email address and postal address. A winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. Good luck!
Enter the competition

Amazing citizen science achievements on the River Chess!

Did you know that the River Chess has its own army of volunteer citizen scientists? Over the summer of 2022, they completed more than 250 hours recording data for the Modular River Survey technique (which assesses the health and diversity of the river banksides and channels). The project offers a number of different opportunities to get involved, from ecological surveys (monitoring riverfly numbers as a marker of the health of the river) to water quality surveys. 
A special event on 30th November celebrated these achievements and introduced some exciting new surveys soon to be launched. If you'd like to get involved, email Citizen Science Co-ordinator, Hannah Parry-Wilson, at 

What do you do when you're a data scientist at a loose end in a pandemic lockdown? 

Hefin Rhys set up a technical dashboard for the ChessWatch project and helped clean up and organise the data from four water quality sensors, making it available to the public.

Fantastic work Hefin! His story is the latest in our volunteering blog series.
Read Hefin's volunteering blog

National Trust Christmas listings for families

Get together with family and friends this Christmas with National Trust

Across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, National Trust has a real variety of Christmas experiences for festive family days out this year. There will be cosy traditional Christmases for kindling a nostalgic warm glow. An opulent winter ball theme will get glamour-lovers and sociable types in the mood for the party season. And for those who just need an uplifting escape into fresh air and nature, there's miles of frosty landscape to explore. 

Discover nearby properties>> 

Photo: copyright Sebastian Conwy

Short winter walks & top tips to get the family outdoors in Bucks, Berks & Oxon

By the end of January, we’ve had enough of hygge, log fires and long evenings in front of the telly. The hibernation phase of winter is starting to drag. Vitamin D levels are low, spirits are lower and the family is climbing the walls. But how do you prise your family away from their nest on the sofa?

The National Trust has shared its top tips for persuading the family outside and some glorious places to explore on your winter walks in Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire.

Read the top tips >>

Photo: copyright James Dobson

Tackling river pollution - new efforts by two of the Chilterns AONB's local authorities

This November, we welcomed the concerted efforts of two local authorities to tackle water pollution, a major threat to the beauty and health of rivers and chalk streams. 

A joint application made for Bathing Water Status at the River Thames in Wallingford.

South Oxfordshire District Council and Wallingford Town Council have submitted an application to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), for bathing water status for a stretch of the River Thames near Wallingford

If bathing water status is awarded, Thames Water would be legally required to treat waste outflows to a much higher standard.  This would ensure that bacteria harmful to the health of people and wildlife would be removed before the water can be released into the river. 

>> Read more 

Buckinghamshire Council publishes hard hitting report on pollution of the county's rivers and chalk streams.

On Tuesday 15th November 2022, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet accepted all the recommendations of a report on pollution in the County’s rivers by its Transport, Environment and Climate Change (TECC) Select Committee.

Calling for urgent action to protect the County’s rivers and chalk streams, the report’s key conclusions include that the water industry is the single biggest contributor towards poor water quality in the region. 

Buckinghamshire Council has therefore this week pledged to lobby water companies and the Environment Agency to do more to tackle polluted watercourses across the county.

>> Read more

Out and about: Four autumn conservation stories from Chalk, Cherries and Chairs

Shedding light on the Horsenden Brook chalk stream: Volunteers with Chiltern Rangers and the River Thame Conservation Trust worked hard to open up the banks along this chalk stream to let more light in, encouraging in-channel plants, increasing flow and improving spawning habitats for Brown Trout.
Box mowing for wildflowers: The National Trust demonstrated its box mower to 18 members of the Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster. They're looking at ways to better manage their growing network of wildflower margins and are considering a machinery share. 
A Duke of Burgundy butterfly boost: Chilterns New Shoots, our youth conservation group, did a fantastic job with the National Trust at Smalldean Bank helping to control scrub levels to improve the habitat to attract the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly. 
Chilterns Champions Awards scrub bash: Schools, corporate groups and individuals came together for a big scrub bash with Chiltern Rangers at Sands Bank, to tie in with the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Chiltern Champions Awards for outstanding contributions to conservation. 
Read the full stories!

England's AONBs sign a joint agreement with Historic England

This November, England's Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty signed a joint agreement with Historic England outlining their ambition and intent to conserve and enhance the historic and cultural environment of England's 34 AONBs.
Photo: Ivinghoe Beacon, copyright Chris Smith
Read more


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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
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