S Chalk Trees And - The Chilterns

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					                                                                   SPRING/SUMMER 2012

Chalk                                      & Trees

Inside this issue:

Olympics - get inspired, get fit   The Diamonds of the Chilterns    Lots of summer events to enjoy

                               an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
                         Telephone: 01844 208401 Mobile: 07732 329118

The professional design and
build service for residential
 and commercial property                                                              5/10/18 mile
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                                  walls and planting, driveways,
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                                  features, ponds...

                                                                         Event starts at The Clare Foundation
                                                                         18 mile participants - should arrive at 8am for registration,
                                                                         5/10 mile participants – should arrive between 9am-12pm for registration
                                                                         All participants to be fnished by 5pm
                                                                         To register and download a sponsorship pack go to
 Avoid the Spring rush! Call now for details of our                       The Clare Foundation, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire HP14 4BF
Early Bird Discount - contact Rodney on: 07732 329118                     Visit                                               The Clare Found

                                                                          Call us on 0300 777 7000
                                                                          Registered Charity Number 1131949

Exceptional Trees Deserve Exceptional Care
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 and services that make your landscape thrive. No matter the size
      or scope of your needs, our arborists bring a rare mix of
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Spring/Summer 2012
                       & Trees
                       and                                   Where can you meet the wicker man this summer?
                                                             See page 5

Published by the Chilterns Conservation Board
The Lodge 90 Station Road Chinnor Oxon OX39 4HA
Tel: 01844 355500     Email:
Chairman: Mike Fox


Steve Rodrick        Chief Officer
01844 355505
Colin White          Planning Officer
01844 355507
Kath Daly            Countryside Officer
01844 355524                Highlights in this issue
Cathy Rose           Activities and Learning Officer
                                                            Walking, Cycling and Events                                                      pages 4-5
01844 355506
                                                            High Speed 2: The fight goes on                                                  pages 6-7
Claire Forrest       Information & Interpretation Officer
01844 355521             Get inspired by the Olympics                                                     pages 10-11
Annette Venters      Strategic Access Officer               Sustainable Development Fund                                                     pages 12-13
01844 355508               The Diamonds of the Chilterns                                                    page 14-15
Allen Beechey        Chalk Streams Officer                  Reveal the stories of commons                                                    page 16
01844 355502
Neil Jackson         Conservation & Landscape Officer
01844 355523
Donna Hunter         Administration Officer                                                                                                                   Hitchin
01844 355500                  AN AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY

Rachel Sanderson Commons Project Officer                                                                                                              Luton

01844 355525

Advertising: contact Advance Publications at                                             Aylesbury
or call 0118 926 9120
                                                                                        Risborough                                           Hemel        St Albans
Wildlife and Countryside events

Find details of many events taking place across the          River Thames
Chilterns at              Wallingford                           Wycombe                     Beaconsfield

There are guided walks, talks, family activities, open
days and more and lots are free.

                                                                          Goring                                                       River Thames
The Chilterns Conservation Board is the public
body established to conserve and enhance the
Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
                                                                                                          Landscapes                            CHILTERNS
Its 27 members are drawn from local communities                                                               for life                          One of the
                                                                                                                                                AONB family
and it has a staff team of 10 based in Chinnor,                                                                      
                                                             The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
                                 C ONSER VATION B OARD       was designated in 1965 and covers 833 sq kms. It is one of 46 AONBs
                                                             in the UK. AONBs, along with National Parks, are nationally-protected
Photo credits: Chris Smith, Kevin Harrington,                as the finest landscapes in the country.
Stephen Craven, Rebecca Pitman, Edwin Mitchell-Finch,
Keith Tomey, Chris Reynolds
                                                             To find out more about the Chilterns AONB visit
Main cover picture: Cyclists on the Chilterns Cycleway
near Stokenchurch

                                                                                              Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012                                3
                                                                          Walking, Cycling and Events

Cycleway gets the
thumbs up
T      he Chilterns Cycleway is nearly two years old and is so
       popular it was recently listed on the Guardian's website
       as one of the best bike rides in the UK. A survey
of cyclists using it last year revealed very high levels of
satisfaction with their experiences of the Cycleway.
60 people were interviewed, including visitors from
New Zealand as well as local residents that regularly use
the route. Those staying overnight in the Chilterns whilst
doing the Cycleway spent an average of £71 per head each day
which is good evidence of the economic benefits the route is
bringing to local communities.
      Kevin Harrington from Chester did most of the Cycleway on a short                                                              ay
                                                                                                                                c lew
break with 18 friends last October. “We had a wonderful ride and visited                                                      Cy
                                                                                          Visi                            the
some great places along the way like Ewelme Watercress Beds and                               tors fr
                                                                                                      om Chester enjoying
Frithsden Vineyard,” he said. “I didn't know just how beautiful the
Chilterns is. We also found some good pubs on the route.”
      You can enjoy the Chilterns Cycleway in a number of ways – from
taster circular routes taking in part of the Cycleway that are perfect for a
                                                                                   i   Visit
                                                                                       for detailed information and route maps for
day's cycling to two day short break itineraries, cycling up to 68 miles in      the day rides and short breaks.
total and finishing where you started.

New walks along                                                       Chilterns Countryside
the Thames                                                          and Food Festival 2012
                                                                               etting bigger and better every year, this popular event

        wo new circular walking routes have been
        created, taking in the River Thames and                                is being held on Sunday 16th September at the
        some stunning Chilterns scenery in                                     National Trust Ashridge Estate near Berkhamsted.
south Oxfordshire. The Whitchurch Circular
                                                             The Festival's name has been expanded to reflect the wide range of
Walk is a 6 mile route from the pretty
                                                            local food and drink on offer. New for this year is a stage with live
village of Whitchurch-on-Thames. It
                                                           bands and an area where you can have a go at medieval archery.
passes through woodland and farmland
                                                           There will also be lots of crafts stalls, conservation displays,
and reaches the Hartslock Nature
                                                            demonstrations of countryside skills such as sheep-shearing, pony
Reserve which has breathtaking
                                                              rides, children's activities and refreshments available.
views over the Thames Valley.
                                                                Jointly organised by the Chilterns
There are no stiles and some
                                                                 Conservation Board and the
steady climbs, plus one very
                                                                   National Trust in the beautiful
steep section on the Thames
                                                                   surroundings of Ashridge,
Path National Trail.
                                                                   the event runs from
The 5 mile North Stoke to
                                                                   10am – 4pm. Entry
South Stoke Walk near
                                                                   price is £3 per adult,
Goring-on-Thames hugs the
                                                                  children free.
riverbank and is level with
no stiles.                                                     View over the
                                                              Thames from
    Full details and route maps
 i  for both of these walks can be
                                                            Hartslock Nature
                                                         Reserve near Goring
downloaded from

  4    Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012
           Walking, Cycling and Events

                                                                                 ancy spotting wildlife and enjoying stunning
                       Wildlife on the Move                                      Chilterns scenery while relaxing on a Thames
                                                                                 cruiser or a vintage train?

                                                                           The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway and
                                                                           Hobbs of Henley cruises are offering a number of
                                                                           wildlife-watching trips this spring and summer.
                                                                           Climb aboard and enjoy the views while a volunteer
                                                                           from the Chilterns Conservation Board points out
                                                                           animals and birds en route. The train rides depart
                                                                           from Chinnor in Oxfordshire for a seven mile round
                                                                           trip at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. The Hobbs
                                                                           cruises sail down the River Thames from Henley to
                                                                           Hambleden and back.
                                                                                Visit for
                                                                            i   more details or pick up one of the 'Wildlife on
A child on a wildlife-watching cruise on the Thames                        the Move' leaflets in your local library or information

Wicker Man                                                                           Glow worm walks
comes to
Aston Rowant                                                                     F    ollow a guide on a late summer evening
                                                                                      to spot these fascinating, neon-bright
                                                                                      creatures on the grassy slopes of Aston
                                                                                Rowant National Nature Reserve near

        elebrate the ancient wicker                                             Watlington.
        man and traditional crafts at    The 2011 Wicker Man on                 Walk dates: 21 and 27 June, 6 and 10 July.
        the Aston Rowant National        display at Aston Rowant                  Meet at the Reserve car park at 9.45pm for
Nature Reserve near Watlington on                                                  10pm start, finish at 11.30pm.
Saturday 4th August. You can help to construct a huge wicker man head                Booking essential, contact Cathy Rose at
by weaving hoops out of willow. There will also be craft-making displays, all          Conservation Board on 01844
set in the glorious surroundings of this hilltop reserve which has far-reaching            355506 or email
views over the Vale of Oxford. Bring a picnic and take a walk though the            
woodland and downland. This event is being organised by the Chilterns
Conservation Board which is working in partnership with Natural England and
Field Farm in Lewknor to run events for schools and the public on the Reserve.

Meet William Morris – maker of the Mini and Minor
N        uffield Place near Nettlebed in Oxfordshire, home to William Morris,
         whose company built the famous Morris Minor and Mini cars
         amongst others, has been opened to the public by the National
Trust. William Morris, known properly as Lord Nuffield, and his wife
lived at Nuffield Place from 1933 until 1963. They lived a
relatively modest lifestyle, given their enormous wealth, and
the house with all its furnishings and décor has remained
almost unchanged since their deaths. You can even see the
tool cupboard in his bedroom, built to give him something
to do when insomnia struck!
      Nuffield Place is open from Wednesday – Sunday every
 i    week until the beginning of November. Visitors are required
to book tickets in advance by calling 01491 641224.
Find out more at
                                                                                               Nuffield Place

                                                                                   Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012         5
High Speed 2

HS2: the fight goes on
        espite overwhelming public opposition to High Speed 2, made clear by the results of its own consultation and various
        opinion polls, the Government announced in January that it is proceeding with proposals to build the high speed rail line
        from London to Birmingham and beyond. This has caused anger and disappointment amongst all those who oppose this
hugely-expensive project and who thought the consultation process would carry weight.

HS2 is economic basket case
In an extraordinary turn the economic case for HS2, already
very weak, has been demolished by the Government itself
which has downgraded the Benefit Cost Ratio of the project
to 1.2. This means that the country gets back just £1.20 over
60 years for every £1 spent on HS2, prompting the following
reaction from the Conservation Board's Chairman Mike Fox:

“   Even the Government now accepts that HS2 is an
economic basket case. A return of 1.2 is not a good
investment in anyone's eyes. It is about time the
Government cancelled this enormously-expensive project
and spent the £35 billion of taxpayers' money on

investments the public actually wants.

Another nail in the coffin for HS2 is a damning report on the
performance of the HS1 Channel Tunnel link, published by
the National Audit Office in March. It reveals that the
number of passengers using HS1 is less than half of the
hugely optimistic original forecast – 9 million against a
forecast of 21 million. The costs of the HS1 line are also far in
excess of what it has generated. All of this should be ringing
                                                                                                                 Hs1 line in Kent
alarm bells at the Department for Transport but it seems
not. They are ploughing ahead with HS2 despite its case also
being based on unrealistic predictions of huge passenger
numbers and the discredited idea that time spent travelling
                                                                    Legal challenges to decision
is not economically productive.
      The case for HS2 is even weaker than the Government           Opposition groups have instigated a number of legal
is admitting because no account has been taken of the               challenges to the Government's decision on HS2. The HS2
negative impact constructing and operating the line will            Action Alliance, supported by the Conservation Board and
have on existing businesses along                                   many other local groups, is challenging the Government
it. In the Chilterns a number of                                    over its failure to carry out a proper Strategic
businesses, like Annie Bailey's                                     Environmental Assessment of the HS2 plans, as required by
restaurant near Great Missenden,                                    EU legislation, and failing to consider all possible
will be destroyed completely,                                       alternatives, before deciding to proceed with the proposed
farms will be severed and there                                     route.
will be widespread impacts on                                            The 51M group - an alliance of local authorities
others as route construction causes                                 opposed to HS2 - is challenging the HS2 plans on the basis
great disruption and tourism is                                     that the public consultation was flawed and the
blighted. These impacts will be                                     Government has ignored the outcome of it.
replicated all along the route.                                          If, as a result of these challenges, High Court judges
                                                                    decide that there should be a judicial review of the

  6     Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012
                                                                                                                      High Speed 2

Government's decision-making process on HS2, this is                      Planning Forums to discuss issues of design, planning
likely to take place in the autumn. Ultimately, it could mean        and mitigation are being set up on a county basis and these
the Government is forced to go back to square one on its             will be attended by local planning officers including the
plans for HS2.                                                       Board's Planning Officer.
     In addition, the Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust                 The Environment Forum is only open to national
has lodged a formal complaint with the European                      bodies and the Conservation Board, despite being the
Commission that the Government has ignored EU                        principal statutory body for the Chilterns AONB, is excluded
legislation and failed to carry out a full assessment of the         from it.
impact of the HS2 route on nature reserves, protected
species and important wildlife sites.
                                                                     Route changes – impact on Chilterns
                                                                     On close inspection the Government's claimed
Government's next steps                                              improvements to the route through the Chilterns AONB
                                                                     have not reduced its impact. The changes include:
Rather late in the day, HS2 Ltd, under the direction of the              A longer bored tunnel, but still 9km of line scarring the
Government, is starting an Environmental Impact                           landscape
Assessment to examine in detail the effects of constructing              More ancient woodland destroyed at Sibley's Coppice
the HS2 line on the environment along the route. It will also             and Mantles Wood near Little Missenden
identify ways these impacts can be reduced. The EIA will                 Shallower cutting between South Heath and Wendover
take a year to complete and the resulting report will                     Dean – this will have bunds to reduce noise levels but
accompany the hybrid bill that goes before Parliament.                    they will be ugly and their effectiveness is in doubt
     HS2 Ltd is setting up a number of Forums to discuss                 The height of the viaduct and embankments south east
local concerns along the HS2 line, design details and                     of Wendover has been raised by 4 metres.
environmental impacts. Attendance at the Forums will be
strictly limited however and there are doubts over the
extent to which the route of the rail line and its design will       What next?
be up for discussion.
     The Community Forums have already begun, with two               HS2 represents an environmental and social disaster for the
taking place in the Chilterns (at Chalfont St Giles and              Chilterns AONB and the Conservation Board is fighting on
Wendover) attended by invited local organisations                    to protect this nationally-important landscape. The
including the Conservation Board. The Board and others               disintegrating economic case and legal challenges to the
have pressured HS2 Ltd into opening the Forums to the                Government mean that Plan A – to get HS2 stopped – is
public but they have not agreed to this.                             still very much on track. Only in the last resort will Plan B,
                                                                     to get the best possible mitigation of the line's impact, come
                                                                     into play.

                                                                           Visit for the latest
                                                                           news on the fight against HS2, events and detailed
                                                                           maps showing the impact of the route on the Chilterns.

Mantles Wood near Little Missenden: line will emerge from tunnel portal on the left and cross this field in a deep cutting

                                                                                    Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012         7
A quarry in a quandary Latest from
       urnt out cars, propane gas bottles, motorbikes and more shopping trolleys
       than you can count – not the usual back-drop for a nature reserve, but
       Houghton Regis Chalk Pit on the edge of Dunstable is a special place
which badly needs conserving.

Despite the chaos which greets you at the site, this enormous 131 acre
                                                                                         I   f you haven't visited our new-look
                                                                                             website for the Chilterns AONB
                                                                                    yet then pay a
                                                                                         visit – you'll find lots of news, events,
                                                                                         walks, bike rides and plenty more.
abandoned quarry on the north-west facing slope of the Chilterns escarpment is
protected for its wildlife interest as it contains chalk downland, woodland,             Updated daily, the site is a one-stop shop
lakes and wetlands. It holds some wildlife gems such as small blue                       for anyone planning time out in the
and chalkhill blue butterflies, great crested newt and                                   Chilterns countryside or wanting to know
Chiltern gentian.                                                                        more about how the special features and
                                                                                         wildlife of this protected area are being
                                                                                         cared for. Why not log in while you're on
                                                                                         the go? Our interactive map means that
                                                                                         you can find a nearby walking route and
                                                                                         follow it, or search for full details of local
                                                                                         visitor attractions, farm shops, picnic
                                                                                         sites and much else.

                                                                                         Find a bargain online – our website shop
                                                                                         has a range of glossy, full-colour
                                                                                         publications on the history and wildlife
                                                                                         of the Chilterns, at excellent prices.
                                                                                         You can also browse lots of free
Marl lake at Houghton Regis Chalk Pit
                                                                                         downloadable walking and cycling
The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire                 leaflets.
recently took over the management of the chalk pit with financial support from
Bovis Homes which is building 131 houses on the eastern boundary of the site.                   Keep in touch –
The new nature reserve is part of the Trust's visionary 'North Chilterns Living                 sign up for news feeds and
                                                                                                the Conservation Board's
Landscape' project. This aims to create an extensive landscape which is rich in
wildlife within and on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural
                                                                                                follow our Twitter page
Beauty in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, whilst providing recreational
                                                                                                and find us on Facebook.
opportunities for local people.
      The Wildlife Trust is appealing for local people to come and help with the
                                                                                                All at
clean-up effort and habitat management to return this reserve to its former
glory. Without local residents once again feeling a sense of pride and ownership
for this place, the problems of
motorbike scrambling and
other anti-social behaviour
will never be alleviated.
      If you are interested in
 i    volunteering with the
                                                                     Curious to know if you
                                                                     have something of value?
Houghton Regis
                                                                     • Free valuation days in the Henley office every
Chalk Pit project, or would        Bovingdon Brickworks Ltd.,        Thursday, 10am to 4pm (no appointment necessary)
                                                                     • Visiting Specialists by appointment
simply like more information           Ley Hill Road, Bovingdon,
                                                                     • Valuation days around the Chilterns
                                             Herts. HP3 0NW
please contact Reserves                                              • Insurance and probate valuations
                                      Tel: 01442 833176 & 832575     • Home visits
Officer Rebecca Pitman on
                                            Fax: 01442 834539        01491 413 636
07595 090776 or email             E-mail:
                                                International Auctioneers and Valuers - bonhams .com/henley

  8     Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012
A hedge a day...
         re you interested in learning the traditional skill of hedge-
         laying? Nigel Adams of Watlington, who is Chairman of the
         National Hedgelaying Society, is offering training courses
next winter. No special knowledge is required, just a thick pair of
work gloves!
“Hedges help to define the landscape, and they're also very
important wildlife corridors,” says Nigel. “We need to look after
them, and one of the best ways of rejuvenating a hedge is to lay it
so that it grows strongly from the base again.”
      With support from the Conservation Board's Sustainable
                                                                                    Nigel Adams with an award-winning laid hedge
Development Fund Nigel has set up a website with lots of
                                                                              If you are interested in attending a hedge-laying
information on the ecology of hedgerows and the best ways to
manage them:
                                                                          i   course please contact Neil Jackson at the Board on                                 01844 355523 or email

Win a short break in beautiful countryside
W           hat do you love about the Chilterns - and can you say it in 140 characters? If the answer's yes you could win a short
            break in one of the south east's
            many beautiful landscapes.

Love Our Land...
Love Our Land is a campaign promoting
visits to the nine Areas of Outstanding
Natural Beauty and National Parks in south
east England, which includes the Chilterns
AONB. It's part of a project to encourage
visitors to explore the distinctive character of
these areas and boost local economies
through spending money on accommodation
and activities.
or and
share what you love about the Chilterns, or
maybe another favourite spot like the South
Downs or the New Forest. You can also send
in photos and video clips. You'll be in with a
chance to win a great prize, and your contribution will be                                     Early morning near Ivinghoe, Bucks
added to a unique Experience Map highlighting everything
that's best about the south east's countryside.                                         CARLTON CLOCKS
      You can find out more about the Our Land project at
                                                                                        sales and restoration
 i where the Chilterns has its                                         Large showrooms
own page displaying the details of many B&Bs, hotels,                                    with an impressive range
attractions and activity-providers who have already signed                               of clocks and barometers
up. Funded by nearly £1 million from the UK Government
and EU, Our Land is working closely with the UK's leading                                      Long guarantees
marketer of ethical tourism If you                         
have a tourism-related business in the Chilterns and would
                                                                                             Chalfont Station Road,
like to get involved, visit the website to register. It's free for
smaller enterprises.
                                                                                       Little Chalfont, Bucks. HP7 9PN
                                                                                                01494 763793

                                                                                     Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012           9

Be inspired by the Olympics..
        lympic fever is spreading as the country gears up for the London 2012 Olympic
        and Paralympic Games. This article highlights the Olympic-related events which are taking place in the
        Chilterns area. There are also lots of ideas of activities and sports you can try if the efforts of the world's
top athletes inspire you to get fit.

What’s happening locally
9-10 July          Olympic Torch Relay             The Torch will be carried through a number of Chiltern towns and
                                                   villages as part of its 70-day journey around the UK. You can turn out
                                                   and cheer on the Flame and the Torchbearers in these locations:

                                                   9 July      The Torch is travelling through Dunstable, Aylesbury and
                                                               Stoke Mandeville:
                                                                  7.43am Church St, Dunstable
                                                                  11.15am Buckingham Road, Aylesbury
                                                                  11.54am Wendover Road, Stoke Mandeville
                                                                  2.17pm High Street, Waddesdon

                                                   10 July     The Torch is travelling from Oxford to Wallingford,
                                                               Nettlebed, Henley-on-Thames and then on to Reading:
                                                                  8.25am Glyn Road, Wallingford
                                                                  8.43am The Street, Crowmarsh Gifford
                                                                  8.57am Port Hill, Nettlebed
                                                                  9.09am Fair Mile, Henley
                                                                  9.37am by boat on Thames through Henley from
                                                                  River and Rowing Museum to Leander Club

28 July to
  4 August           Olympic Rowing events at Dorney Lake in south Buckinghamshire

6-11 August           Olympic Canoe Sprint events at Dorney Lake.

28 August             Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville to create flame to be
                      carried to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics.
                      Evening celebration in Aylesbury town centre.
31 Aug to
    2 Sept            Paralympic Rowing             events at Dorney Lake.

Olympic connections
      he Chilterns area can boast a number of historic
      connections with the Olympics. On the previous two
      occasions that London has hosted the Games, in 1908
and 1948, the rowing events took place on the River Thames
at Henley. The sports competitions developed at the National
Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville near Aylesbury
eventually gave rise to the Paralympic Games. Sir Steve
Redgrave, winner of 5 gold medals for rowing and arguably
Britain's greatest Olympian, is from Marlow in
                                                                                         Olympic rowing in Henley in 1948
 10    Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012

.. and get fit in the great outdoors
T       his summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games will         Run the Trail – if the marathon inspires you to test
        put a huge range of sporting activities onto our TV    your own endurance you could take up the Trailblaze
        screens, and those with tickets will be lucky enough   challenge on the Ridgeway National Trail which crosses
to see the action live. If the courage and performance of      the Chilterns. The Conservation Board has supported the
all those men and women from around the world                                installation of small electronic checkpoints
pushing themselves to the limit inspires you to get                               along the Trail into which runners can
fit or to take up a new sport, there are lots of                                       insert timing tags to record their
opportunities to get out and get active in the                                            progress. The results are also
Chilterns countryside. Why not try                                                          entered into an online
something new, or dust down your old                                                          leaderboard.
bike and take it for a spin? Whatever
your age or ability, the natural arena of                                                      Get on your bike –
the Chilterns offers fun, exercise and                                                         there's lots of ways to get
new challenges, and you don't have to                                                           fit on two wheels and
break any world records! Here are a                                                              enjoy our stunning
few ideas:                                                                                       landscape at the same
                                                                                                 time. Take a day ride on
Be a gymnast – children and adults                                                               the Chilterns Cycleway
can have fun on the National Trust's                                                             – there are a number of
natural play trails at Coombe Hill                                                              ready-made circular
near Wendover and Dunstable Downs.                                                             routes on quiet roads. For
Practice your agility, balance and                                                            families and beginner
strength on the wooden stepping stones,                                                     cyclists the Phoenix Trail
beams and climbing frames or find your                                                    from Princes Risborough or
rhythm with the natural percussion feature.                                             the National Trust's Ashridge
                                                                                      Estate near Berkhamsted offer
Flex your weightlifting muscles on the                                             plenty of safe, easy cycling.
fitness trail at Wendover Woods and lift a log or two.
                                                                        Paddle a canoe – if you'd like to try your
Try out mountain biking at Aston Hill Bike Park next           hand at canoeing the River Thames is a great place to
to Wendover Woods. One of the South East's premier             have a go. The Adventure Dolphin Centre at Pangbourne
mountain biking facilities, there are trails to suit all       runs courses for beginners, and there are a number of
abilities and they run courses for beginners. Or you could     locations where canoes can be hired.
head off on one of the many bridleways in the Chilterns
and find your own thrilling descents.                              Visit for more
                                                               i   information on all the activities and sites mentioned.
Test your rowing skills – at Henley-on-Thames you
can hire rowing boats on the River Thames and practice
your oarsmanship on the Royal Regatta course, or just
take a gentle pootle down the river and enjoy the Chiltern

Walks for all – if you use a wheelchair or mobility
scooter there's a good range of easy access routes at some
of the best countryside sites across the Chilterns. You can
get great views of the red kites from Watlington Hill in
Oxfordshire or see boats and birdlife at Tring Reservoirs
and the Grand Union Canal. Find a full list of routes at                              Rowers on the Thames near Henley (photo: Jonathan Bowen)

                                                                             Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012      11
Sustainable Development Fund

Sustainable Development Fund 2011-2012
         ow in its seventh year, the Chilterns AONB Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) has become an important source of
         funding for small-scale projects which help to conserve the Chilterns' landscape or promote the special qualities of the
         area. Since 2005 grants worth £412,000 have been awarded to support 172 projects with a total value of £1.6 million.
During 2011-2012 the SDF gave grants totalling £38,000 to 23 projects across the Chilterns. Whilst budget cuts mean that the
SDF pot has got smaller Conservation Board members are determined to keep it going and applications are encouraged for
projects planned this year.

Here are some examples of projects that were supported during 2011-2012.

Tring Spring Fayre                                                 Getting bees in education

                                                                   M           any schoolchildren learn about the importance of
                                                                               bees as pollinators and providers of honey but
                                                                               Queensbury School in Dunstable decided to go one
                                                                   step further and set up bee hives so that students could get
                                                                   hands on experience of caring for these important insects.
                                                                   With the help of a £863 grant the school now has several
                                                                   bee hives in its grounds
                                                                   and students have been
                                                                   trained by the
                                                                   Bedfordshire Beekeepers'
                                                                   Association to look after
                                                                   the bees and collect the
                                                                   honey. Sue Cooke, a
                                                                   teacher at Queensbury
Meeting animals at the launch of Tring Spring Fayre
                                                                   School, said: “We're

F      or a very busy two weeks in April 2011 the Spring Fayre
       celebrated all that's best about Tring and the
       countryside around it. There was a full programme of
guided walks, wildlife-watching opportunities, a Spring
                                                                   hoping that this project
                                                                   will help produce a new
                                                                   generation of beekeepers
                                                                   and that students really
Fayre Farmers' Market and over 20 other events that                get to understand the
attracted more than 2,000 people. Organised by Tring               vital role bees play in our      Students at the hives holding a
Together, the Fayre was supported with a grant of £762.            local habitats.”                   smoker used to calm the bees

New visitor centre for Withymead Nature Reserve

T      he Withymead Nature Reserve is an area of water
       meadows and woodland adjacent to the River Thames
       between Goring and South Stoke in south Oxfordshire.
It's something of a hidden gem, home to a wide range of
plants, birds and insects and probably best known for its
displays of Loddon lilies in April and May. The Anne
Carpmael Trust which looks after it has opened up the site to
visitors by installing boardwalks through the reedbeds and
woodland and erecting bird hides overlooking the Thames
and wetland areas. The reserve now receives regular visits
from school groups which prompted the trustees to raise
funds for a small building on the site to act as a classroom
and provide facilities to schools and visitors. A grant of
£3,000 was awarded to the new visitor centre.
                                                                      Goring Primary School visit to Withymead Nature Reserve

 12    Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012
                                                                                                          Sustainable Development Fund

Natural play trail at Dunstable Downs

          unstable Downs is one of the most popular
          countryside sites in the Chilterns, with its far-
          reaching views and modern visitor centre.
It's best known for open chalk downland, but the
National Trust-run site also contains woodland, and
one of the woods has now been made accessible
with the creation of a natural play trail. Staff and
volunteers from the Trust built play equipment
along a trail through the trees using natural
materials and a lot of imagination. There is now
'Fort Scramble' – a row of upright chestnut posts
good for climbing on and a sunken tree which also
makes a great natural climbing frame. Piles of
rotting logs and nestboxes have been added along
the trail to encourage wildlife. The National Trust
received a grant of £600 towards this great new
addition to the visitor facilities at Dunstable Downs.
                                                                                     Volunteers installing the sunken tree climbing frame

Woolly workers turn a                                         Walking with suffragettes
                                                                       ne hundred years ago the campaign for
                                                                       women to gain the vote was very active
                                                                       in Buckinghamshire. To celebrate the
                                                              achievements of local campaigners, Colin
                                                              Cartwright has created 6 heritage trails
                                                              through towns and villages including
                                                              Princes Risborough, Chesham, Great
                                                              Missenden and Wendover. The trails
                                                              range from 2.2 to 13 miles in length and
                                                              a booklet has been published containing
                                                              route maps and directions for each accompanied
                                                              by a lot of detailed information on the activities of local suffragettes.

       he Nude Ewe project was established four
                                                              £500 was awarded to support the production of the booklet.
       years ago by a partnership of the
                                                              You can download a copy here:
       Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity
Partnership and the Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust.
It has been selling yarn spun from the fleeces of
sheep flocks on nature reserves and returning the
profits to the graziers to help them pay for                  Sustainable Development Fund
fencing, animal care and shearing. As a result,
flocks of native breed sheep are helping to                   2012 – 2013
maintain some of the best chalk downland sites                Funding is available for projects which bring environmental, social and
in the Chilterns like the Pegsdon Hills near                  economic benefits to the Chilterns AONB, especially those which
Hitchin and Aston Rowant National Nature                      involve new methods of achieving a more sustainable way of life. Grants
Reserve in Oxfordshire. Such is the success of                are normally no more than £5,000. Applications from local businesses,
Nude Ewe, that it has recently been turned into a             voluntary and community groups, particularly those showing joined-up
company. A £1,500 grant helped to fund an                     working, are encouraged. Deadlines: 29 June, 24 August.
upgrade to its website to allow customers to                        For more information about funding criteria and the application
purchase wools online. The site has also been                  i    process visit
improved with more interactive content and lots     
of information on how conservation grazing                    Please contact Kath Daly at the Board to discuss a potential application.
benefits local wildlife sites.

                                                                                          Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012            13
                                        The Diamonds of the
                                          n this year of royal celebration it is fitting to look at the many visits Queen Elizabeth II,
                                          and her ancestors, have made to the Chilterns. In this article we explore the area's
                                          extensive royal connections, and we invite you to help us build a list of the 60
                                       Diamonds of the Chilterns –the gems that make this place really special.

                                        The Queen has visited the Chilterns several times during her life, both for public and
                                        private engagements. These have included:

                                              Bekonscot Model Village on the eve of her 8th birthday in April 1934 and
                                              several times thereafter
        Henley Royal Regatta, several times from 1946 to the present day
        RAF Benson, three times; in 1956, 1989 and 1995
        High Wycombe in April 1962, where she unveiled a
        plaque at the Royal Grammar School and visited the
        Town Hall
        St Mary's Church, Ewelme in April 1962 for her
        goddaughter Edwina Hicks' christening
        Chequers, in October 1970, to dine with Prime
        Minister Edward Heath and President Nixon
        Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St Giles in 1987
        Henley-on-Thames in November 1998 to open the
        River and Rowing Museum
        Higginson Park, Marlow in May 2002 to unveil a
        statue of Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave
                                                                                   The Queen and President Nixon at Chequers

60 Chilterns’ Gems - Where’s Your Favourite?
W         hat are the gems of the Chilterns? Do you have a                  Cathy is fascinated by Cholesbury Camp, between
          favourite walk, picnic site, visitor attraction or        Wendover and Chesham. “This amazing hillfort is tucked
          viewpoint? Where's your favourite place to eat or         away in woodland behind the village hall in Cholesbury, so
drink? Where is the best place to take the kids?                    could be easily missed, but once found, its beech-clad
                                                                    ramparts evoke such a sense of history, it's well worth a
To commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, we've                   visit.”
started a collection of these gems called the Diamonds of the               Colin's Diamond is on the John Bunyan Trail just to
Chilterns, but we need your help to reach our target of 60          the east of Ward's Wood, near Lilley in Hertfordshire. “The
Diamonds. Some of the team at the Chilterns Conservation            gently undulating enclosed pastoral landscape can't have
Board have revealed their own personal gems:                        changed in hundreds of years.”
       Donna enjoys picnics with her fiancé at Chinnor Hill.
                                                                    Nominate your Diamond of the Chilterns and tell
“It's so peaceful up there and the views are stunning. We
                                                                    us why you think it should be included in our jewel box.
love watching the steam trains chuffing along from Chinnor
                                                                    Be creative! The best suggestions will be added to our
station at weekends.”
                                                                    website at
                                                                    You can nominate your Diamond of the Chilterns via


                                                                     e-mail us at

 14    Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012
A landscape fit for Kings and Queens
        ur current queen isn't the only Royal to have been captivated by the Chilterns. The towns, villages and countryside of this
        area have many royal connections, dating back hundreds of years. Here, we've highlighted some of the places with the
        strongest links to royalty.

Berkhamsted                                                         Hitchin
Berkhamsted's connections with kings and queens through             The market town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, at the
the ages stem largely from its royal castle, built by William       northern tip of the Chilterns AONB, was frequented by King
of Normandy's brother following the conquest of England.            Henry VIII who enjoyed hunting in the surrounding
The castle passed through many royal hands between the              countryside. In his youth he was quite an athlete and it is
11th and 16th centuries including Henry II, Edward the              said that he once tried to pole vault across the River Hiz.
Black Prince, Henry V, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.                  However, having become heavier than he realised, the pole
Nowadays this picturesque ruin and green space in the               snapped from underneath him and he fell into the river,
centre of Berkhamsted is the ideal location for a picnic. Why       much to the amusement of his servants. This event is
not celebrate the Jubilee in a space once occupied by               commemorated today on the sign of the Buck's Head pub in
feasting kings and queens?                                          nearby Little Wymondley.

Princes Risborough                                                  Ewelme
The Manor of Risborough was owned by royalty for over                The beautiful medieval village of Ewelme near Wallingford
600 years. Its most famous royal owner, whose name is now            is known for its historic school (the oldest Church of
attached to the town, was Edward, the Black Prince. After            England primary in the country), almshouses and restored
his death, the Manor was handed down through royal                   watercress beds. Centuries ago the village contained a royal
generations until eventually in 1628 Charles I sold the              manor house which was visited by Henry VIII and Elizabeth
Manor of Princes Risborough to the City of London in part            I. The house is no more but the village is still well worth
repayment of his large debts.                                        visiting – the church contains magnificent medieval
                                                                     monuments and the author Jerome K Jerome is buried in
Chenies Manor                                                        the churchyard.

Chenies Manor, near Amersham, is a Tudor manor house,                     To find out more about places to explore in the
built around 1460. Henry VIII is said to have been                    i   Chilterns with royal connections,
entertained here. Queen Elizabeth I visited several times,          visit
and in July 1570, according to an entry in a wardrobe book,
she lost some small gold
fastenings called aglets
from her dress. There is a
huge oak tree in the
grounds of the Manor,
known as Queen
Elizabeth's Oak, under
which it is thought she lost
the jewellery. You can visit
the house and its beautiful
gardens which have been
restored by the current

             Chenies Manor
            near Amersham

                                                                                    Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012          15

                                 Reveal the stories of commons
                                 There's a great opportunity on offer to help the Chilterns Commons Project uncover the long
                                 and intriguing history of our local commons.
Illustration by Richard Allen

                                        ommonland has been at the heart of Chiltern villages for the best part of 1,000 years. It derives from a time when
                                        everything was shared, and even the poor land in the village was put to good use. Nowadays, we only have a fraction of
                                        the commonland that used to exist, but what is left is still very important to local communities and is rich in history.
                                       In the Chilterns we live with the evidence of this rich history all around us but sometimes it can be hard to understand.
                                Where was the common that Christmas Common is named after? Why are there so many Common Woods? Do local people
                                still have rights to graze animals or collect firewood on commons?

                                    Get stuck into research                                                                         Join a team
                                Over the next three years the Chilterns
                                                                                    “Commons are                        The Commons Project is also offering
                                Commons Project plans to answer these and           woven into the                      people the chance to join other volunteers
                                many other questions about the history of                                               in carrying out historical research projects
                                our commons. The Project, which is run by
                                                                                  fabric of England”                    on some of the most important commons
                                the Chilterns Conservation Board and                         Graham Bathe,              in the Chilterns. Archaeological surveys
                                funded principally by the Heritage Lottery           Foundation for Common Land are planned for Moorend Common near
                                Fund, is offering training to anyone who                                                High Wycombe, Studham Common near
                                wants to undertake some research into their local common.            Dunstable and Nettlebed Common in south Oxfordshire.
                                If you are interested there are training workshops, advice           Led by an expert, each survey will investigate the long
                                sheets and help from experts to get you started and your             history behind some of the curious mounds, banks and pits
                                results will be published on the Project's website.                  found in these places. You could get involved in a project to
                                       There are many different angles you could investigate.        map the network of ancient drovers' routes from Aldbury
                                Was your local common a resting place for drovers walking            across Berkhamsted and Northchurch Commons to Hemel
                                their livestock to London? Has it been used by the military          Hempstead.
                                in the past, for troop training or tank testing? Is there a
                                tradition of local celebrations, fairs or festivals taking place
                                on it?
                                                                                                      i    If you'd like to help uncover some of the intriguing
                                                                                                           stories of how commons were used in the past the
                                       Often there are clues to the history of commons right         Commons Project would love to hear from you! Visit the
                                under our noses. Road names such as Kiln Lane or Common              Project's website at
                                Road can giveaway the location of long-lost commonland.              for more information on how to get involved and how to go
                                Pub names like The Brickmakers Arms hint at industries               about researching your local history, or contact the Project
                                once associated with commons.                                        Officer Rachel Sanderson on 01844 355525.

                                 16     Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012
Wildlife suffers from lack of water
T    he majority of counties in England are now in official drought status, following two dry winters and 20 months of below
     average rainfall. Despite the heavy rain which arrived with the hosepipe ban, the situation is serious for the Chilterns' rivers.
     Streams like the Misbourne, Gade and Chess are suffering very low flows and all have long dry sections. Winter rainfall was
completely insufficient to re-charge the chalk aquifer from which the streams get their water and the lack of flow is causing insect
numbers to decline and fish to die.

                                                                                                                                                              Very low water levels at Startops Reservoir near Tring

The drought is having very obvious effects on other                                                                                                 The Environment Agency is warning that the drought could
waterbodies in the area. Near Tring, water levels in the                                                                                            last until Christmas or beyond and is urging everyone to use
Startops, Marsworth, Wilstone and Tringford Reservoirs                                                                                              water wisely. In the Chilterns and surrounding areas the
which supply water to the Grand Union Canal are much                                                                                                average amount of water used per head is one of the highest
lower than normal. Efforts are being made to maintain                                                                                               in Europe, so it is vital that we all take action. Every litre we
water levels in the main Canal for boaters by restricting lock                                                                                      save means more water for our chalk streams.
opening times but the Aylesbury Arm has been shut to boat                                                                                                 Find out the latest on the state of flow in Chilterns'
traffic.                                                                                                                                              i   rivers and what you can do to save water at

                         Bucks County Show                                                                                        Call us on 01844 352 119
                                             Weedon Park, Aylesbury
                                  THURSDAY 30th AUGUST 2012
                                                                                                                                   Chinnor based family business
Consistently still the best one-day agricultural show in the country

Lots of fun for all the family!
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 Tickets can also be purchased online
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                                                                                                                                                                                   11a High Street, Aylesbury,\\
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Tourist Offices in Aylesbury, Buckingham, Bicester Village, High Wycombe, Marlow, Princes Risborough, Wendover
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                                                                   Tel: 01296 423198  
   Admission: ADULTS: £13 (pre-show £11); CHILDREN (5-16): £6 (pre-show £5);                                       
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                                                                                                                                                                           Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012                      17
Flights over                                                        PETERLEY MANOR FARM
                                                                      Peterley Lane, Prestwood Tel: 01494 863566
                                                                                  BEDDING PLANTS - Spring and Autumn

Chilterns could                                                                   Ready Planted Hanging Baskets and Garden Tubs
                                                                                  Shrubs, heathers, herbaceous, bulbs and conifers
                                                                    PICK YOUR OWN seasonal fruit and veg - June to October

double                                                                         FARM SHOP - Open all year
                                                                    Fresh and Frozen fruit and vegetables, honey, fresh flowers and eggs
                                                                      Good selection of local produce from small independent suppliers
                                                                           HOME GROWN CHRISTMAS TREES - December
                                                                    Large selection of sizes and varieties of trees and home made wreaths

      uton Airport has plans to double passenger numbers           TO
                                                                   HIGH WYCOMBE      PRESTWOOD
                                                                                                                       Opening Times
      which would seriously threaten the tranquillity of the
                                                                                                                          Tues - Sat
      Chilterns AONB.                                                                                                   8.30 - 5.00pm
                                                                                   GREAT MISSENDEN
                                                                                                                     Sunday 9.00 - 1.00pm
                                                                                                                       Closed Monday

Flying over the Hertfordshire Chilterns on the approach to Luton
                                         (photo: Glenn Morley)

The owners and operators of the Airport want to increase
passenger numbers from 9 million annually up to 18 million
by 2025. The plans, which were subject to public
consultation in the early spring, do not include building a
new runway but using the existing runway to maximum
                                                                          Join hundreds of artists and designer-makers from across the UK at
capacity.                                                                  this annual extravaganza promoting the very best of British crafts.
      Such a huge expansion would result in double the                   More than just a craft show, with lectures, workshops, demonstrations
                                                                           and food & drink, Living Crafts is an experience not to be missed.
number of flights, most of which will arrive and depart over
                                                                       Open 10am - 5pm • Advance Tickets                  0845 230 5176 • Details   02392 863 871
the Chilterns countryside. The vast majority of passengers
will arrive by car resulting in greater traffic levels on the                                   
roads around Luton.
      The Conservation Board has objected strongly to the
proposals which would have a very damaging effect on
people's enjoyment of the countryside as they suffer more
noise from planes overhead, more pollution and busier
roads. It will make these objections clear to Luton Borough
Council, which owns the Airport, as the proposals go to
planning application stage. The Board is also concerned that
the proposals for Luton Airport have been produced well
before the Government's national strategy for aviation is
published later this year.
                                                                                                            PE Mead & Sons
                                                                                                        Farm Shop, Wilstone, Tring
 18     Chalk and Trees - Spring/Summer 2012
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                                                                                   Caring for the Chilterns-
                                                                                   Getting Involved
                                                                                    Over 40 years of working to help keep the Chilterns
    Gardens  Parks  Landscapes                                                   a good place in which to live or work, or to visit.
    Design and creativity  Powered
   equipment  Plant knowledge and                                                  For more information on Getting Involved, and how to
   selection  Propagation and pruning                                              become a member, visit:
    The practical skills to run your                                               The Chiltern Society, White Hill Centre, White Hill,
   own business.                                                                    Chesham HP5 1AG Telephone: 01494 771250
   At BCA, we’ll find you the right course
   to maybe become your own boss and
   develop your career as a horticulturist.
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                                                                                                                                        You can hire our collection of Vintage crockery
                                                                                                                                            for a taste of freshly brewed nostalgia
                                                                                   throughout the year including:                                     any time of the year
                                                                                   Coppicing 9th & 10th November                            
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             A place to celebrate life
Now The Chilterns has a stunning new venue for funerals and memorial services – a place where a
life that has ended can be honoured and remembered amidst the timeless beauty of nature.
Set in 72 acres of mature woodland, the ceremonial buildings of Chiltern Woodland Burial Park,
near Beaconsfield in Bucks, offer families who have been bereaved a completely different
experience. Dedicated in an interfaith ceremony in 2009, the award winning Woodland Hall is
suitable for services of all faiths as well as secular funerals, and the Gathering Hall provides space
for a reception, with catering facilities if required.
With a minimum of two hours for each funeral, compassionate and experienced staff offering free
and impartial advice, the freedom to personalise each ceremony, complimentary refreshments,
access to the public 365 days a year, and long term security with Rights to Burial until 2107, this is
a completely new approach to funerals – a 21st century choice for those who want more than the
current options available when it comes to the end of life.
For those whose preference is burial, graves may be selected and purchased within the beautiful
woodland – either in advance of the time of need as part of one’s future planning, or by the family
when arranging the funeral.
Where cremation is chosen, the ceremonial buildings at Chiltern Woodland Burial Park may be
hired either prior to departing for the crematorium, or for memorial services, providing families
with the uniquely special experience that can only be had here.
Following a cremation, ashes can be scattered or buried in the woodland if desired, giving families
a place to visit in future years.

                       To find out more about this
                     remarkable place or to request
                        a brochure and price list,
                      telephone 01494 872158, or
                             visit the website.

   Potkiln Lane, Jordans Beaconsfield, Bucks. HP9 2XB


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