Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Cranborne AONB logo

This nationally designated area covers 380 sq miles of countryside overlapping the boundaries of Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset.

The primary purpose of the AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area, now and for future generations.

The parishes and communities within the AONB are important elements of the Partnership. We meet informally once a year to discuss local issues and to report on the AONB’s work; highlighting key subjects for you to pass back to your community.

Our SDF grant scheme supports projects that bring environmental, social and economic benefits to the communities of the AONB.

AONB Office, Shears Building, Stone Lane Industrial Estate,

Wimborne, Dorset. BH21 1HD

01725 517417


TITLE: Foundations of Archaeology

Bringing local people and archaeological expertise together, this two year project will seek, through field walking and archaeological survey, to explore the legacy of the founding fathers of British archaeology, to raise awareness of conservation issues for archaeological sites and to promote access and engagement in the heritage-rich landscape of the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). We will focus on two aspects of heritage: firstly the Antiquarians and secondly, carefully selected ancient monuments.

It is well known that Cranborne Chase and South Wiltshire are particularly rich in archaeology and that the pioneers of modern archaeology were attracted to it and worked here. William Cunnington, Sir Richard Colt-Hoare, Stephen and John Parker and General Augustus Pitt-Rivers were the first excavators to make detailed recordings of their finds and use stratigraphy to elucidate phases of construction.

In consultation with local archaeologists, and land owners, we have chosen three fascinating sites (Wor Barrow, Stockton Down and Winkelbury Hill) to act as Focus Areas for the project. They are spread across the area to give ready access to as many communities as possible. They all share strong historical links with the antiquarians named above and demonstrate different aspects of former civilisations across nearly 6,000 years.

We have recently appointed Wyvern Heritage to act as the Project Coordinators and we will be recruiting volunteers at the Chalk Valley History Festival towards the end of June.

For further information, please see the website:
Contact: David Blake at the AONB Office on 01725 517417 or email


TITLE: Ancient & Veteran Trees

The Cranborne Chase AONB holds thousands of very special individual trees. Within the ancient woodlands can be found huge old forest giants and in the hedgerows and along the lanes ancient coppice stools still exist. The parks and gardens that grace the houses of the area hold wonderful exotic trees of great interest and antiquity.

We are working with partners such as the Ancient Tree Forum and voluntary parish tree wardens to record, monitor and conserve these special trees. They hold reservoirs of biodiversity not found elsewhere and are also of great social and cultural importance.

In 2012, volunteers carried out a survey of the five Hampshire parishes to ascertain if we could identify new groups of ancient and veteran trees using landscape features such as boundaries and deer parks.

Currently, volunteers in the Donhead parishes are getting trained up so that they can identify the ancient and veteran trees that remain in the landscape and plant a new generation of special trees.

For further information and updates to the project, please see the website:

Contact: Steve Russell



Posted on

9 January 2015