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Latest news from the Chilterns AONB

In this Issue

Outstanding Chilterns magazine 2022-23 is here!

The new issue of our annual magazine, Outstanding Chilterns 2022-23, is out now! Look out for the free magazine at a cafe, library or leaflet rack near you.

This year's issue features Chilterns volunteering stories, accessible ways to get outdoors & improve wellbeing whatever your ability, exciting new bookable countryside experiences, inspiring conservation news, Wallingford visitor tips, a butterfly spotting guide, an interview with mycologist Professor Richard Fortey... and more!

Pick up your free copy at hundreds of outlets throughout the Chilterns, email us at to find your nearest stockist. Alternatively you can read it online at the link below.  
Read more

The Autumn Chilterns Walking Festival programme is launched!

Get your boots ready! The Autumn Chilterns Walking Festival programme is here, ready for you to browse and book your walks and experiences in the beautiful Chilterns autumn. Highlights this year include:
  • On the day before All Hallows Eve, a spooky walk along the River Thames with ghostly tales from the Riverbank, with Pipsticks Walks.
  • Walk the ancient routes which criss-cross the Chilterns, exploring Drovers routes and the ‘Slow Ways’ historic routes.
  • Join Natural England rangers for a nature walk at Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of National Nature Reserves.
  • Take a foraging walk amongst the chestnut trees.
  • Plus map reading courses, pub walks, local produce tasting, historic garden tours and much more.
Browse & book here

River Chess Restoration Day at Restore Hope Latimer

At the end of July, staff from the Chilterns Conservation Board and the Chiltern Society donned waders and took up band saws and pole rammers, working together to enhance a section of the River Chess at Restore Hope, Latimer. The aim was to create an improved habitat to encourage two separate populations of water voles at either end of the river section to join up.

The team drove in wooden stakes and used pieces of dead wood cut from trees with ash dieback to build two 'berms'. Berms are low level constructions in a river, built to alter the flow to encourage the silt to move to the outside of the river, leaving silt-free gravel in the middle of the river. This creates a better habitat for breeding fish and water voles alike.

It was a fun day and great to have a chance to contribute to the restoration of this beautiful chalk stream.
Images: Colin Drake

Chilterns Conservation Board Annual Review 2021-22

We've published our annual review, which sums up the fantastic work the team did in the year 2021 to 2022. 

Articles include:
  • Updates on the Boundary Review for the Chilterns AONB in partnership with Natural England
  • Positive progress for the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs projects for wildlife with the Landscape Connections project well underway, farmers moving towards Countryside Stewardship, and new farmer clusters being set up
  • Beacons of the Past hillfort project updates
  • Farming in Protected Landscapes - impressive project facts and figures for nature and climate
  • Planning and development updates and the Chilterns Building Awards
  • Chilterns Walking Festival updates
  • Open for Business news on helping rural businesses develop bookable experiences 
Read online

An update from the River Chess Smarter Water Initiative 

The River Chess Smarter Water Catchment initiative has made excellent progress recruiting 40 citizen science volunteers, who've already carried out 64 hours of surveys and counting! Read more about the river restoration work taking place and how these volunteers are helping to monitor the success of the changes being made. Find out too about the work to increase suitable habitats for water voles.  
Images: Paul Jennings
Read more

The Heart of the Chilterns: Volunteer Champions #3, Alice Dancer Citizen Science volunteer

Alice Dancer is a brand new volunteer who’s just started taking part in citizen science projects for the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment initiative. She's helping to monitor the health of the River Chess chalk stream.

Here, she shares what she’s been learning in her training sessions so far about some tiny river residents, becoming a 'mudspotter', the slow pace and calm that she gains from spending time with a river, and how the project has even kindled a new interest in geography! 
Read Alice's story

We're hiring a Mend the Gap Programme Manager 

Mend the Gap Programme Manager
An exciting opportunity to work with local communities to design and deliver a suite of projects and schemes that will help to reduce and compensate for the visual harm done to these protected landscapes by the electrification of the Great Western main line. Work across two of the country’s finest protected landscapes.

The closing date for applications is 9am on Tuesday 18 October 2022. Successful candidates will be invited to interview on Wednesday 2nd November October 2022.
Read more and apply now

South Asian Heritage Month comes to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve 

On 24th July 2022,  Dadima's CIC put together a special storytelling nature event celebrating South Asian Heritage Month at Aston Rowant nature reserve, in partnership with Natural England. Participants walked along the Ridgeway and were greeted by a Bubbles without Troubles pop-up bar, offering botanical non-alcoholic cocktails made with fresh herbs.   A fantastic programme followed, including talks on topics such as migration heritage stories and sense of belonging on land, the cultural festivals of Punjab, folk music & poetry, Yoga wisdom from the Himalayas, plant-based ancestral healing and the sacred nature of some plants. There was a Kandyan dancing demonstration, a poetic reading on heritage by Sikh feminist writer, Sati Kaur, and a talk by award winning earth scientist, Dr Anjana Khatwa.

The day finished with delicious Indian heritage snacks, and Indian masala chai, freshly brewed by two men from Dadima's community who drew on their mothers' culinary tea wisdom. This was a first-time event like this, and next year Dadima's and the Aston Rowant nature reserve team plan for more cultural heritage themes to be included in the beautiful nature storytelling spaces of the Chilterns. 

Images courtesy of Colin Drake and Geeta Ludra.

River Chess Smarter Water Catchment community grants programme opens

A River Chess Smarter Water Community Grants Fund is now open for applications. The Community Grant Fund is looking to support local organisations, charities and groups, for projects improving the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment area. Projects must look to address one or more of the six key themes of the Chess Water Catchment Pilot.
  1. Managing Flow
  2. Water Quality
  3. Wildlife Corridors
  4. Invasive Species
  5. Working together
  6. Involving People
Read the application guidance and apply below.
Application form

New Chilterns bookable experiences to enjoy this Autumn 

Wallingford Murder Mystery tours: for Agatha Christie and Midsomer Murders fans - enjoy a locations walk then play detective! Various dates: >> Find out more

3 hour Ebike tours: available from Ivinghoe with Electric Life Cycling. >> Find out more

Capture the Chiltern Hills: Evening Standard photographer Matt Writtle's photography workshops have just been featured in the Evening Standard's 8 best learning holidays article. >> Book here

What's on...

Join us for a celebration of Chilterns’ food and drink this autumn! Find out more about the region’s food and drink producers, with tours and tastings taking in vineyards, farm shops, breweries and outdoor foraging and feasts. >> Find out more and book
Sunday 23rd October: Help celebrate 25 years of the Chalk Streams Project with a guided walk along the River Misbourne! >> Book here
Sunday 23rd October: Straw plaiting workshop. Come and learn the heritage skills of straw plaiting at Wycombe Museum. Experience the working lives of women and children who plaited straw for the local hat industry in the 1800s. >> Find out more and book

And lastly...a harvest video

A beautifully shot short film with music showing the 2022 harvest at Kensham Farms in Buckinghamshire with the help of a John Deere S790. An insight into modern farming practices with beautiful Chilterns scenery to enjoy.

Film by Charlie Carter Photography.
Watch video


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
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