North Wessex Downs AONB, Units 3-4, Denford Manor, Lower Denford, Hungerford, RG17 0UN
01488 685 440 firstname.lastname@example.org
Following completion and publication of the Aldbourne Village Plan, a book of walking, running and cycling routes has been published. These were researched by local resident Simon Knighton, a keen walker and experienced mountaineer. Copies are available in Aldbourne either from the Post Office or the Crown at a very reasonable £2.50 each.
It includes 11 walks with clear colour maps, photos and directions as well as an overview map showing all the routes. The walks range 2 to 20 miles in length so there is something for everyone.
A grant was provided to the gardeners of Fairfield Allotments in Hungerford to provide storage through repair of existing brick sheds. This has helped to ensure the sustainability of the site and plotholders hope to enjoy a bumper year!
A grant to the Andover Trees United project funded the launch of a new community woodland. The aim of Andover Trees United is also for every young person in the town and surrounding villages, over a ten-year period, to have contributed to the project by planting a tree in their school nursery bed and later moving it to the wood itself. Through their involvement with the project we hope that they will learn about the importance of trees in helping to maintain the health of the planet and to act as ambassadors within the community by involving their families, friends and colleagues.
Agricultural land near Enham Alamein was donated for the woodland and there are further plans to develop access and create varied habitats such as meadows. The project was launched in Autumn 2012 by HRH Princess Anne, followed by a fortnight of tree planting activities, celebrated through songs, artworks and community engagement.
A Youtube video has been created for the launch. Visit the Andover Trees United website for further details.
A further grant was awarded for the community led chalk grassland restoration in Blewbury. The broad aim of the project is to identify remnants of original calcareous grassland and then to preserve and enhance them where possible. This was achieved through directly seeding the ground, germination of specialist plants in trays, clearance of invasive species and planting downland shrubs.
Visit the Sustainable Blewbury website here.
A grant was given to provide a technical workshop exploring issues regarding management of species rich chalk grassland. Specific topics include managing sensitive sites, controlling invasive species and a demonstration of scything. The event is a partnership between Flora Locale, North Wessex Downs AONB and the Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area. A number of free places have been made available for farmers and land managers based in the North Wessex Downs AONB.
For further information contact Flora Locale.
The SDF funded Five a Day Market Garden, located in the Englefield estate to provide a series of Wildlife Gardening Workshops for adults and families. Those attending helped to create new habitats and features to attract and support native wildlife, both at the Five A Day Market Garden community project and in their own gardens at home. This will benefit wildlife and increase local and national biodiversity. The programme covered a range of topics including; wildlife Gardening, Wild Flower Meadows, Butterflies, Bees & Beetles, Ponds, amphibians & Reptiles and Trees & Hedgerows for Garden Wildlife.
As said by one participant; “not only do i enjoy volunteering at the market garden, but my children also love coming along to help out in the holidays and join in some of the family events”.
A grant sponsored this event, kindly hosted by Charles Flower at his farm in Wiltshire. The theme was ‘promoting good science and practice’ and featured talks from Peter Thompson of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Wildflower Expert Charles Flower.
Acquired by Charles Flower in 1980, Carvers Hill Farm, Shalbourne is situated at the foot of a beautiful stretch of downland. Charles and his team successfully managed this mixed farm, with corn crops, sheep, wild flower meadows and wild flower seed commercial crops, with 5000 new trees, 2 miles of restored hedgerows and several ponds to create habitats to support native wildlife and flora.
A geophysical survey by Berkshire Archaeology Research Group revealed evidence for a large building, near Boxford. This is probably a Roman villa, set within a ditched enclosure and a wider landscape of ditches, trackways, and possible ‘industrial’ features. The surveys, taken together with the evidence of surface finds and aerial photographs, have been successful in revealing new information about the size and nature of this site. Roman finds have been recorded at Boxford since the late 19th century.
A grant was awarded for local residents and members of the Boxford History Project to undertake an archaeological investigation during the summer of 2013.
The Hungerford Town Plan is a vision for the future of the town based on the views and wishes of residents and local businesses. Over the past couple of years a team of volunteers has worked to prepare a refresh of the previous 2010+ plan which was published in December 2005. This grant was approved for printing and delivery to every household in the town.
See link for details.
Established as an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS), Kennet Community Energy Limited (KCEL) is developing renewable energy resources for the benefit of the communities in north and east Wiltshire.
It has grown from an initiative of the Energy Group of Transition Marlborough, and has been set up as a practical response to the challenges that we face with our future energy supplies and climate change.
The Society was formally incorporated in January 2013 and has commenced operations with the development of a solar photovoltaic installation in Devizes.
A grant helped to re-establish the Marlborough communities market, selling local produce in the town. Members of the town council and Transition Marlborough were concerned that, following the loss of the farmers’ market, small producers no longer had a regular outlet and they invited Wessex Community Markets to establish the new market.
Project Manager Ellie Gill said: “In the early stages of this process it soon became clear that while the new market would have a farmers’ market section, the criteria for farmers’ markets does not always support other local business such as Ramsbury Tea, who supply a range of Fairtrade products".
“In addition we were keen to create a market that provided as wide a product range as possible, so local arts and crafts have been included.”
New businesses are encouraged to get involved under the markets Table for a Tenner Scheme and they are still looking for producers selling eggs and preserves. Another initiative that has been set up by the coordinator are the services of the Ramsbury Flyer. For a donation, the community bus will be visiting outlying villages on market day to take people into town who have to rely on public transport, or simply for those wishing to reduce their carbon footprint.
You can watch a short film about the market here.
A contribution was made to the Marlborough Community Orchard project to sponsor a tree. The small apple orchard in the shape of a diamond has been planted at Marlborough Common to commemorate the year of the Queen's diamond jubilee.
Marlborough Community Orchard Group chairman Philippa Davenport told enthusiasts, who had paraded up Kingsbury Hill from the town hall, led by a piper: “This is the first time we are going to plant a full quota of Wiltshire varieties
“We are saving them for posterity, to be enjoyed by our children's children. We are planting trees here and at other spots around the town, so that we truly become a town in an orchard.”
A grant was awarded for the repair of wooden steps on a footpath in East Woodhay. The footpath is close to the edge of an old chalk pit and after gaining some height, the views are breathtaking. The footpath carries on uphill through a large meadow and joins the Wayfarers Walk.
The SDF helped local Bat conservation group to purchase bat detection equipment. Linked to the West Berkshire Living Landscape project it will be used in various walks, talks, surveys and practical methods to help learn more about bats in the area, bring a variety of wildlife groups together and gaining important records. Bat walks are scheduled to take place in partnership with local groups during 2013. Keep an eye on our events pages.
Local groups were invited to attend an event looking at current best practice in managing chalk grassland, jointly hosted by the North Wessex Downs and Chilterns AONBs. With site visits either side of the Thames, participants brushed up on their plant identification skills and saw the results of different grazing regimes.
One of those attending, Peter Cockerill of the Blewbury Sustainability Group, said of the day: "All the site visits were superb examples of species rich swards worked under quite different management and grazing regimes. The speakers were well chosen to give great depth to the day, talking about everything from plants, fungi and snails to butterflies and farming methods".
There was also a demonstration by our very own SWEAT (Scything Without Effort or Tears), a company set up with assistance from the Sustainable Development Fund. Special thanks to our hosts at Lardon Chase, Chalkhills Farm, the Hardwick Estate and Coombe End Farm. Also to speakers including Dr Chris Smith and Des Sussex from Natural England.
Following the success of gaining eco-school status, supported by the North Wessex Downs, Preshute received a grant to purchase a chicken house so that the children can gain an understanding of where food comes from, and how to take care of animals. Some pond clearance work was also carried out to improve the habitat for biodiversity.
A grant was awarded towards the cost of printing this community led Conservation Plan. As David Fox, Chairman of the Brightwell cum Sotwell Parish Council explains; “It is necessary to document what has happened and what is important, and give some pointers to what we must try and achieve if we are going to conserve what we know and love in an ever more quickly developing world”. The Plan will be distributed free to all households in the Parish and provided to certain outside bodies and individuals. It is designed to inform, shape and enhance knowledge and understanding of the environment and its sustainable use and encourage increased community participation in the Group.
Rock Detectives is a children’s geology club, with the emphasis on fun and discovery. As well as providing exciting educational opportunities for children, they also create an ideal environment for family learning, as many parents stay for the activities and can join in the fun.
There are events being held at a number of locations across the AONB during 2013. These include field visits, fossil and cast making, fossil and rock identification and other events. There will be a small fee payable for each event.
Events are being coordinated by Berkshire Geoconservation Group, Hampshire Museums, Oxfordshire Geology Trust and Wiltshire Geology Group. Each of these groups also organises a regular programme of events such as walks and quarry visits. Keep an eye on our events pages for further details. For other information contact Lesley Dunlop
Students on the Foundation Degree in Environmental Conservation and Heritage Management at Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester have been busy working with farmers and the Wiltshire Ornithological Society recently on the new Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area (MDNIA). This is one of a series of placements supported through the North Wessex Downs Sustainable Development Fund.
Matt Prior, expert ornithologist, was on hand to advise students on creating ‘tree sparrow villages’. Tree sparrows are one of a number of farmland bird species whose populations have dramatically declined in recent decades. Creating pockets of ideal habitat or ‘villages’, which provide year round food and suitable nest sites and are linked across the landscape, will lead to stronger sparrow populations.
Residents of Tangley near Andover identified a small area of land that the wished to turn into a vegetable allotment. Following negotiation with the land owner and Parish Council, they applied for an SDF grant to provide infrastructure such as paths and water storage.
This grant continues a campaign to treat and eradicate an outbreak of oak processionary moth in Pangbourne. This man-introduced pest defoliates oak trees and poses a respiratory health risk to humand and animals. Last year only 4 nexts were found compared with 29 the year before and shows that the treatment which was assisted by a grant from the AONB is working. It is hoped to continue with further treatment in 2013 with a view to eradicating the pest.
The project is a collaboration between West Berkshire Council (WBC), the Forestry Commission (FC), residents and landowners. A specialist contractor has been employed to treat all of the trees at the same time, thus realising the ecomomies of scale and further reducing costs.
A local aborist and Tree Surgeon received an SDF grant to diversify his business into providing recreational tree climbing activities. The Project will enable people to experience a great day out in the woods. It can be used as an activity for educating people about trees and the woodland environment, be it the trees themselves or the wildlife they support. Recreational tree climbing can also be used to challenge people both physically and mentally and could be used to build peoples confidence. It is intended to provide these experiences for school children, young offenders, or youth groups. There is also the potential to link to the tourism economy.