Meet the Team

North Wessex Downs Team
The North Wessex Downs Team: 
(L-R) Claire McCorquodale, Harry Bell, Rebecca Davies, Henry Oliver, Jacky Akam, Dawn Hamblin, Susan Clarke, Ann Shepley and Ewa Prokop

The AONB Team supports and works with the Management Working Group and the Council of Partners to:

  • provide a focus and central information base for the North Wessex Downs AONB
  • raise awareness of and promote the unique identity of the AONB
  • provide the strategic approach to deliver the North Wessex Downs AONB Management Plan
  • be a catalyst for and project-manage activities that deliver the Management Plan
  • provide planning advice to planning officers at the relevant local authorities and Natural England.

Henry Oliver, Director

Henry leads the AONB Team, working with the AONB Chairman, the Council of Partners and the Management Working Group.  He also represents the North Wessex Downs in national and regional protected landscapes forums.  Trained as a planner, he worked for urban and rural councils, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the New Economics Foundation and the Empty Homes Agency before arriving in the North Wessex Downs.  Among other stuff he works on heritage, landscape character, dark skies, water and forestry.  Having grown up in darkest North Devon, he still finds the big skies (and huge tractors) of the North Wessex Downs both exhilarating and slightly scary.

Tel: 01488 680454
Email: henryoliver@northwessexdowns.org.uk

Rebecca Davies, Principal Landscape and Planning Officer

Rebecca was raised in Wiltshire and has a strong interest in the rural environment having lived within or on the edge of an AONB since childhood, and being Welsh, it’s in her genes to love the countryside. After studying Geography she completed a Masters in Town and Country Planning and then started her career with Bath and North East Somerset Council as a Conservation and Planning Officer. Rebecca joined the North Wessex Downs team in November 2015 from South Derbyshire District Council where she was Area Planning Officer. At the North Wessex Downs her role is primarily to provide advice on the impact of development proposals on the AONB. In her spare time Rebecca loves being active and outdoors and can be found either walking with family and friends in the countryside, on a hockey pitch or out on the water kayaking.

Tel: 01488 680455
Email:  rebeccadavies@northwessexdowns.org.uk

Ewa Prokop, Senior Project Development & Funding Officer

Ewa joined the AONB team in January 2019. Her practical interest in nature conservation was ignited during her 'year off' when she volunteered with BTCV (now TCV).  Her first ever job, following her Biology degree, was at the Wittenham Clumps, Oxfordshire, which lies at the north-eastern corner of the North Wessex Downs.  Ewa has worked in rural and urban-fringe localities, working for the London Borough of Bromley (incorporating 'Darwin's Landscape Laboratory'), Shropshire Hills AONB, South Somerset District Council, Kent Wildlife Trust and Groundwork South.  She has experience of managing a wide range of habitats, encouraging understanding and exploration of landscapes, engaging and training volunteers and sourcing project funding. Her achievements include securing two £2.5m Heritage Lottery Landscape Partnership Schemes for Romney Marsh, Kent and the Colne Valley, west of London. Her skills will be put to good use devising and sourcing supportive funding for new projects in the North Wessex Downs.

Tel: 01488 680450
Email: ewa.prokop@northwessexdowns.org.uk

Jacky Akam, Project Officer

Jacky also joined in January 2019 and works alongside Ewa, developing and delivering a range of priority projects that promote and enhance the landscape and heritage of the North Wessex Downs, helping to deliver the priorities of the Management Plan for 2019-2024. Her role includes planning, organising and running events to support the projects.  Recently, Jacky successfully completed the development of an HLF Landscape Partnership Scheme for the Chilterns AONB and previously spent 10 years working on landscape conservation in West Berkshire for the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust.  At the weekends, Jacky can often be found exploring the area by bicycle.

Tel: 01488 680451
Email:  jackyakam@northwessexdowns.org.uk

Dawn Hamblin, North Wessex Downs LEADER Programme Manager

Dawn took up the position of North Wessex Downs LEADER Programme Assistant in June 2011 and since May 2012 has been the Programme Manager. She works to the NWD Local Action Group (LAG) which acts as the “board” and decision making body. Her main responsibilities are to provide advice and support to the LAG, manage the programme budgets and administration and to work with project holders to help ensure their projects are effectively delivered.
Dawn was born and raised in the Wiltshire end of the North Wessex Downs. After completing a geography degree and then working as a HR professional for 12 years she returned to Wiltshire in 2000 with her family. During an extended career break to look after her children she worked as a volunteer for local community organisations and charities. She loves the countryside, especially walking in her local patch around Martinsell and in Savernake and exploring further afield whenever she can.

Tel: 01488 680458
Email: dawn.hamblin@wiltshire.gov.uk

Harry Bell, GIS Support and Development

Harry has worked with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for over 20 years in a Local Government capacity and has acted as chair for the Dorset Countywide GIS User Group as well as performing Ordnance Survey Authority Liaison Officer duties. He now runs a consultancy company specialising in providing Landscape based GIS Support Services - Jubilee Computing Services Ltd - providing GIS and Website Services to various organisations including the AONB. Harry has a background in Geography and Geomorphology, and specialised in Coastal Zone Management at University. He enjoys long walks with his family and dogs especially along the coast.

Tel: 01488 685440
Email: harry.bell@wiltshire.gov.uk

Susan Clarke and Claire McCorquodale, Partnership Coordinators (Job Sharing)

Susan and Claire joined the team in October 2016. Susan's background in local authority governance and administration is an ideal fit for taking on the role of Co-ordinator for the Council of Partners and the Management Working Group. Claire's background in IT and finance has led her to look after the finances of the team and develop the IT to meet the challenges ahead.

Tel: 01488 685440
Email: susanclarke@northwessexdowns.org.uk   clairemccorquodale@northwessexdowns.org.uk 

Ann Shepley, Communications Officer

Ann's role within the AONB team encompasses all areas of communications including supporting project work.  She joined in October 2018 and her previous experience has included marketing and communications in this country and overseas, working in the arts, airline, and education sectors as well as local government.  Ann spends as much time as possible walking or cycling in the area and her perfect holiday would be taking up the challenge presented by a long-distance path.

Tel: 01488 680457
Email: annshepley@northwessexdowns.org.uk