Ancient landscape to be brought back to life
£1.68 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded to Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
A largely forgotten, ancient landscape will be brought back to life thanks to a £1.68million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded to Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for the Cranborne Chase and Chalke Valley Landscape Partnership project.
Made possible by National Lottery players, the five-year project, which totals £2.7million thanks to additional match-funding from partners*, aims to unlock the secrets of Cranborne Chase and the Chalke Valley.
Hidden treasures will be revealed using ground-breaking technology to turn back the clock, uncovering the largest Neolithic monument in Britain, the Dorset Cursus, and the project will restore and protect some internationally important habitats and historic sites.
The Adonis blue butterfly, thousands of school children and some of the oldest walking routes in the country will benefit from the project. Over 5,000 volunteer days will be made available for people to get involved by recording bird and butterfly species, digging dew ponds and capturing the memories of past ways and traditions.
Linda Nunn, Director of Cranborne Chase AONB, said: “It’s like dusting down an old book that you find in the attic and opening it to find a mass of truly wonderful stories that you can’t wait to share with everyone. It’s a special place that remains largely unknown and, as a result, has become undervalued. This project will reignite a love for the area and will foster a sense of pride for generations to come.”
Roger Goulding, the scheme’s development officer, continued: “Over 6,000 local people have already been involved in the creation of this project with more than 350 volunteer days donated. This project is for everyone. Whether you live in or around Cranborne Chase and the Chalke Valley, we welcome everyone who wants to join in and get involved. We can’t wait to get started.”
A selection of the project highlights include:
- Nurturing Nature: a biodiversity programme which aims to improve 375ha of habitat for species including Adonis blue butterflies, farmland birds including yellow hammer and corn bunting and mammals such as water voles, with 3,400 volunteer days on offer involving practical training.
- Crystal Clear Ebble: to protect, restore and improve 22km of this important chalk river to tackle run off and alien species.
- Wonderful Woodlands: to create, manage or improve at least 115ha of woodland and to train 90 people in woodland skills and crafts.
- Greater Grazing: to transform grazing on the third largest unbroken chalk grassland in the UK to benefit 15 key species and 10 ancient monuments.
- Starry, Starry Nights: to monitor the dark skies to aid International Dark Sky Reserve status and train at least 12 new Dark Sky Champions.
- Champions for the Past: an extensive archaeological programme to engage people in the towns around the AONB. More than 4,000 children will receive ‘dig boxes’, there will be ‘Horrible History’ style roadshows and an app to help bring the hidden landscape to life.
- Ancient Ways: to improve or restore 110km of rights of way with newly promoted walks, cycle rides and walk leader training.
- Community Arts: to include writing competitions, theatrical productions and an oral history project to capture stories of traditional land management, such as water meadow management, coppicing or hurdle making.
The scheme is expected to get underway towards the end of 2019. For anyone wanting to get involved in volunteering or to receive project updates, sign up to our e-newsletter at www.cccvlps.org.uk by clicking on our ‘Get Involved’ link on the home page or follow our social media pages @Cranbornechaseaonb on Facebook, Cranborne.ChaseAONB on Instagram and @cranbornechase on Twitter.