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March news from the Chilterns AONB

In this Issue

Top image: 'Lodge Hill' by Anna Dillon - used with kind permission.

Bigger and Better - next steps for the Chilterns AONB

In June last year, we were delighted to welcome Natural England’s announcement of its new Designations Programme, part of which will involve exploring both an extension to the Chilterns AONB and ways in which the management and governance arrangements for the AONB could be enhanced.  

This announcement was followed by the Government publishing its response to the Landscapes Review (‘Glover Review’), in January 2022. The consultation – which closes on 9 April – makes clear that the creation of new National Parks in England is off the table for the foreseeable future.

However, Natural England’s commitment to explore both extending the AONB boundary and new ways to manage the Chilterns AONB – plus the direction of travel indicated by Defra’s response to the Glover Review – provides us with an exciting opportunity to develop an enhanced AONB model that could potentially prove more effective than National Park status. This would not only benefit the Chilterns AONB but could also lead to a strengthening of the whole AONB network.

Read more

Hundreds to participate in creating an outdoor arts installation

Leading outdoor arts company Walk the Plank will be working with local people to create an outdoor art work at dusk in the Chilterns. 

Green Spaces, Dark Skies, will see 20,000 people participating across gatherings in 20 of the UK's most beautiful landscapes, from the Peak District to the Cairngorms.

Participants, referred to as 'Lumenators', will be guided along pathways or waterways carrying smart lights, in a piece of digital choreography that will be captured on film for all to see afterwards.

The series of gatherings will celebrate the countryside and people’s right to explore it as well as encouraging our responsibility to take care of it for future generations. The locations are being kept under wraps until much closer to the event with no live spectators to protect the landscapes, and the piece will be sensitive to the night-time natural environment.
Register to take part

Volunteer opportunity: help with citizen science in the Chilterns

Chalk, Cherries and Chairs is looking for volunteers to take part in bird, butterfly and plant surveys in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns AONB as part of the ‘Tracking the Impact’ project.
You might be an experienced bird watcher or simply a nature or wildlife enthusiast who wants to learn more about Chilterns wildlife and plant life. Volunteers can benefit from free species ID training from local experts, and support with survey methods and data entry.

UPDATE: we are currently seeking a botanist or volunteers with an interest in botany who'd like more plant ID training. 
This project will help track the trends of Chilterns wildlife, and the data gathered will be used to inform and back up conservation decisions in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, helping to protect Chilterns landscapes and wildlife for generations to come.

Email Nick Marriner for more information or fill in the form below to register your interest.
Register here

Get Active Outdoors this Springtime

Here's our pick of clubs, outdoor activities and walking groups and ways to get active in the Chilterns this spring time. 

From trail runs and half marathons, to short walks for health; from wildlife spotting walks to history walks, there's something to suit a range of tastes and abilities.

For those who'd like to improve their mental health and wellbeing, check out the Dogs and Dudes walking club for men, and Lindengate's activities for improving wellbeing through nature.
Read more

Chilterns Landscapes Art Exhibition: 24th April - 1st May 2022

Chalk, Cherries and Chairs is delighted to be hosting ‘Chilterns Landscapes’, an exhibition of art inspired by the outstanding natural beauty of the Central Chilterns at Wycombe Museum between 24th April and 1st May 2022. 
The exhibition will feature fine art pieces, local contemporary art submissions, as well as the winners from our local schools competition - all showcasing our wonderful Chilterns landscapes. There'll be chances to take part in workshops and learn more about the work of the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs project. 

Read more

NEW: The Chilterns Chalk Streams Project Newsletter

This year the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project celebrates its 25th anniversary - so we thought that it was high time that it had its own newsletter to celebrate the impressive volume of work that the expanded project team are now undertaking. The first issue has just been published and can be read online here.

The newsletter includes:
  • Project updates, including more about the Water in a Dry Landscape project.
  • Listings for special events this spring time to mark the 25th anniversary.
  • Listen to podcasts by the project research lead, Professor Kate Heppell.
Sign up below with your email address if you'd like to receive it!
Sign up

A hillforts podcast with our archaeologist, Dr Wendy Morrison

What exactly is a hillfort and how do you find one? How did people make them and use them? Why should we care about them? And did you know that the Chilterns has one of the highest concentrations of hillforts in the country?

All these discussions and more come up in Holly Worton's 'Into the Woods' podcast interview with Dr Wendy Morrison, the project manager of our National Heritage Lottery funded 'Beacons of the Past' project. The project protects and educates people about our rich history of Chilterns' hillforts.

Listen to learn more about these fascinating monuments of pre-history, why Holly and Wendy are passionate about them, and how a major LiDAR survey and local archaeology digs have revealed more of our Chilterns history and prehistory.

Listen now

Dadima's Walks and Talks 2021: Highlights and Gratitude

Chilterns Conservation Board member Dr Geeta Ludhra has been running a walking group in the Chilterns that aims to make the countryside feel a safe space for people from all backgrounds. 

The last year has seen people of all generations walking together, sharing delicious homemade Indian heritage snacks, celebrating women in science, and sharing life-changing stories. In her blog she shares the year's highlights and talks about how the group has become a genuine chance to value diversity and connect with people from all walks of life.
Read more

Themed walks and experiences in the Chilterns this springtime

Amersham Museum's guided walks 

2.30pm every Sunday, starting 3 April. 
Learn about Amersham's early or later history, or take a Tudor walk.

>> Sign up here

Reading the Countryside - Talk with BBOWT

Great Missenden Memorial Centre, Tues 15 March, 7.45-8.45pm
Learn to read the clues man and nature leave behind. 

>> Sign up here

Capture the Chiltern Hills 

Photography workshop walks with Matt Writtle. Monthly including 3 April and 1 May, Chesham.

>> Find out more


Ewelme Watercress Beds Tours

Monthly including 3 April and 1 May.

>> Find out more

Walk George Orwell's Golden Country

Various dates including 24 and 31 March. 10 miles. Walk through Orwell's childhood landscape near Henley on Thames and gain insights into places that may have influenced his work.

>> Find out more


Visit Danesfield House - themed events

Including The Danesfield House Gardens and Hillfort Tour, 25 May, 11am and 2pm.

>> Find out more


New: Cafe Velo welcomes walkers and cyclists

Chiltern Velo is new on the scene! Once the site of the Rose & Crown pub, it is now a warm and welcoming café offering the perfect pit stop for cyclists and walkers.

Located in the village of Hawridge near Chesham, the cafe is surrounded by beautiful Chilterns woodland and commons, with plenty of walks and rides on the doorstep. There is a large outdoor seating area with great views plus a cycle workshop where you can get bikes serviced. The café welcomes walkers and cyclists and two of our popular promoted routes pass nearby - the Chilterns Cycleway and our Iron Age Hillfort walk.

For other fabulous walker & cyclist friendly cafes in unique Chilterns locations see our blog below.

Read the blog

HS2 Update March 2022

Read our latest updates on HS2 construction work, and the latest efforts to hold HS2 to account, advocating for the best possible outcomes and the least impact on our Chilterns landscapes, heritage and communities.

This month includes updates on:

  • work to reduce the number of mature oak trees removed at Leather Lane, supported by the dedicated efforts of local people.
  • a welcome pause to the Tunnel Boring Machines at the Chalfont St Giles vent shaft.
  • ongoing concerns about tunnelling through chalk at the River Misbourne, plus new concerns about the risks of silt sedimentation at Bottom House Lane.
We are grateful for information provided by local people about works impacting the AONB and its valuable habitats. This enables us to ask questions of HS2 and their contractors and, together with others, push for improvements to designs or works to mitigate damage.
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.


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