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Season's greetings from the Chilterns AONB

Dear readers,

This month we've combined our November and December newsletters into one bumper edition! It's packed with locally produced, homegrown Chilterns Christmas shopping tips and festive ideas, plus conservation, archeology, job opportunities and outdoor lifestyle news.

Read on to find out about the national Chalk Streams Restoration strategy, which calls for enhanced environmental status for our chalk streams. Also very exciting
 – our inspirational young conservationists from the National Lottery Heritage Funded Chilterns New Shoots project were filmed for Countryfile.

November also saw COP26 taking place, the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. You can read our blog about the Farm Carbon Project
 – an initiative of our proactive Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster, to reduce the carbon footprint of 18 farms. 

Finally, there's an update by Dr Wendy Morrison about her solo excavation at Seven Ways Plain Hillfort, our list of zero waste shops, holding HS2 to account and a reminder to pick up your copy of the fantastic 2021-22 edition of Outstanding Chilterns Magazine.

Wishing you all a very Merry Chilterns Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Warmest Wishes

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

UK Power Networks take Pylons down at Dunstable Downs

A major power project has transformed views across the highest point in Bedfordshire to spectacular effect. UK Power Networks, which distributes electricity across the East of England, has completed a major £2 million scheme to replace a section of overhead lines with underground cables at Dunstable Downs.

On land owned by the National Trust, the Dunstable Downs project has been supported by the Chilterns Conservation Board. The site attracts around 750,000 visitors a year.

We're delighted with this outcome, which will be much safer for birds, wildlife and kite flyers alike.

Read more

New Chalk Stream Strategy launched to protect England's 'Rainforests'

Friday 15th October saw the launch of the first Chalk Streams Restoration Strategy, setting the future direction needed to protect and enhance England's chalk streams. Work done by the Chilterns Conservation Board and the Chiltern Society for the Chilterns chalk streams was a catalyst for this national strategy.
One of the strategy's key recommendations is enhanced environmental status for chalk streams, as well as recommendations for restoring physicals habitats and biodiversity. We are hopeful that this strategy and these partnerships will make a big difference to the challenges that these rare and special habitats face.
Read more

Chilterns New Shoots to appear on Countryfile

Our inspirational young conservationists, The Chilterns New Shoots, had a great day filming at College Lake a few weeks ago, for the BBC's Countryfile with John Craven.

What a fantastic chance to show their passion for conservation, nature and wildlife. Watch this space for the broadcast date!

The Chilterns New Shoots is part of our National Lottery Heritage Funded Chalk, Cherries and Chairs project. To find out more, click below.
Read more

Bim Afolami MP, questions the PM about the future of the Chilterns

A couple of weeks ago Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin & Harpenden, questioned the Prime Minister about the future of the Chilterns AONB and plans to extend its boundary.

As a result of Bim’s questions, we were contacted by BBC 3 counties radio for a comment and our CEO, Dr Elaine King appeared on Roberto Perrone’s show on Friday 2nd December to discuss the extension plans. Click below to listen  the interview starts at about 2 hours & 7 mins (just after Michael Bublé!) 
Listen to the Interview

Trees, Hedgerows and Healthy Soils: Chilterns farmers tackling their Carbon Footprint

With climate change on people's minds following COP26, it's time to highlight some of the achievements of a very proactive group of farmers, the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs funded Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster in Buckinghamshire. The cluster have been using Farm Carbon Toolkits to tackle the carbon footprints of their farms, and are making changes that reduce their carbon emissions and improve their soils to lock in more carbon. 

Read also about hedgerow planting and hedgerow tree planting in the Chilterns and the conservation of chalk grasslands and how these actions contribute to carbon sequestration.
Read more

Eco-friendly shopping: Zero Waste Refill Shops in the Chilterns

If you're feeling concerned about the amount of single use plastic that we throw away every day and the impacts this might be having on our environment and wildlife, you might have noticed little independent refill shops popping up in our market towns in the Chilterns.
For ethical or plastic free shopping for your Christmas snacks, sweets, nuts, chocolates and coffee, spices, rices, and dried fruit for your Christmas cake, we've made a list of shops in the Chilterns where you can bring your own container and bags to refill – and the range of foods and drinks on offer is impressive! There's even a local producer offering home delivered coffee with zero waste. 
Read more

We Wish you a Merry Local Christmas!

We've put together our top tips for unusual Christmas gift ideas, Christmas food and drink shopping, and festive fun!

We're lucky to have wealth of fantastic local food and drink producers, artists and craftspeople in the Chilterns. You'll find gifts that support nature and wildlife, local concerts and artists' markets, sustainable wreath making workshops and even a Christmas light and nature trail at Lindengate nature reserve.

Read more

An Autumn Hillfort Excavation at Burnham Beeches

At the end of October, Beacons from the Past Project Manager, Dr Wendy Morrison, undertook a solo excavation of the Seven Ways Plain Hillfort at Burnham Beeches.

Read her update about the challenges of excavating in a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), plus a visit from the Lord Mayor of London, and most importantly, what she discovered.

You can also watch a fantastic playlist of Wendy's video updates taken throughout the week.
Read more

Volunteering with the Chiltern Rangers – a young person's perspective

What's it like to be a conservation volunteer when you're just sixteen years old? Chiltern Rangers' volunteer, Emily Neighbour, wrote this fantastic blog about her first outing, where she was undeterred by the pouring rain!

Read the blog to find out more about the camaraderie, the rewards and the impressive range of tools - and learn more about conservation volunteering in the Chilterns and how young people can get involved.

Read more

Forging ahead with Farming in Protected Landscapes in the Chilterns

This DEFRA-funded programme is designed for farmers and land managers in Protected Landscapes and with applicants encouraged to propose project ideas that fit with four programme themes: biodiversity, climate change, people and place. 

Gareth Clay joined our team in October as the Farming in Protected Landscapes Officer and has been visiting and advising new applicants and supporting the Local Assessment Panel with their work in assessing applications. Click below for an update on the programme so far.
Read more

Out Now: Outstanding Chilterns Magazine 

Don't forget to pick up your FREE copy of Outstanding Chilterns magazine. We're really proud of the 2021-2022 edition. It's packed with articles on foodie walks, fungi spotting, interviews, conservation news, events, our young explorers section & more.

You can find it on display at cafes and libraries and 100s of displays throughout the region or read it online. 
Read online

HS2 Update

Image: South West over Jenkins Wood towards construction road and Great Missenden.

On the 18th of November, the Government announced its decision to scrap the Eastern leg of HS2 which would have connected an East Midlands Hub to Leeds. The eastern leg represented a key government justification for building HS2, on the basis that it would help bridge the north-south divide. 

This retrenchment, and increasing concern over spiralling costs, means the business case for the whole route is on even shakier ground.

For the Chilterns, the HS2 proposals continue to gather momentum. Read more about the recent work we have been doing to continue to hold HS2 to account, and to try to ensure the best outcomes for the environment around HS2 developments. 
Read more

Job and tender opportunities 

Do you have a passion for people and improving the natural environment? We have a number of exciting job vacancies and tender opportunities available. Could 2022 be the year for you to make a change and do something amazing? Read on to find out more.
Chess Valley Farming Officer - A chance to build strong relationships with farmers to improve the natural environment. You'll support farmer-led collaborative approaches and work with community river groups to support volunteer conservation work.

>> Read the job description 

Partnership Co-ordinator: River Chess Smarter Water Catchment Initiative - an exciting opportunity to pilot this five year intensive scheme in the Chess Valley, and build partnerships - with the neccessary resources to make a real difference to this precious chalk stream.

>> Read the job description

Project Support Officer - a rare and exciting opportunity for a highly motivated and dynamic individual to provide vital project and administrative support to work with the Chilterns Conservation Boards busy team.

>> Read the job description

Invitation to tender: We are seeking specialist advice from a consultant to provide an audit of ecological corridors & historic routeways linking urban & countryside areas near Luton & Dunstable as part of our Chalkscapes project. It's a fantastic chance to identify opportunities for designation as Roadside Nature Reserves (RNRs) or County Wildlife Sites.

>> Read more

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.
Copyright © 2021 The Chilterns Conservation Board, All rights reserved.

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