Action Plans

The actions listed in this document form the core of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB Historic Environment Action Plans. A hard copy can also be downloaded.

The Historic Environment Action Plan Implementation Groupwhich is overseeing the implementations of this action met for the first time on the 29th June 2011. This group is open to any interested party. The action plan was lasted updated on the 30th July with eight actions being now underway.

Please click on the links below - a '+' sign denotes expandable content.

ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH HERITAGE UNDER THREAT
ACTION 1 (UNDERWAY): Provide an AONB wide synthesis of the distinctive character of historic settlements

The Threat and the Opportunity - Guiding change within the AONB's numerous historic villages is done best when there is an informed understanding of their particular development and character. Over half of the Conservation Areas in the AONB do not have a Conservation Area Appraisal, and there are only three Village Design Statements. Only one District has a design guide. This means that there is no easily available information source identifying the distinctive character of either individual settlements or the rural settlements of the AONB overall.

The Potential Mechanism - Characterisations of local settlements could be prepared to provide an accessible source of information on the historic characteristics of individual settlements and the range of characteristics found in the AONB's settlements as a whole to inform planning decisions and ensure that the distinctive character of the AONB settlements is conserved and enhanced.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Determine scale and format of settlement characterisation
- Scope of project defined by AONB Volunteer (Judy Howles)
- Presented to AONB Planning and Transportation Topic Group ( 13th April 2011)
2 Develop methodology for settlement characterisation
- AONB Volunteer (Judy Howles) defined range of key relevant sources
- Determination of contents of pilot workshop underway
3 Pilot study completed to show as good practice
- Sarah Jennings, North Dorset District Council suggests Pimperne Council as pilot study as part of Village Design Statement
- Emma Rouse (AONB) and Judy Howles present to Pimperne Village meeting 21st June 2011 - workshop is scheduled for 25th July 2011
- Emma Rouse to make contact with Rural Community Action Networks
Underway
4 Encourage the adoption of the methodology for other settlements/areas/districts
5 Promote the use of the pilot studies to demonstrate the usefulness of the survey.

OVERSEEING ORGANISATION: AONB Volunteer & AONB Team

ORGANISATIONS WHO HAVE PROVIDED SUPPORT: North Dorset District Council, John Tanner & Pimperne VDS Committee

Linked to: Areas 1,2,3,5,8,9,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 11.

ACTION 2 (UNDERWAY): Record and maintain historic orchards

The Threat and the Opportunity - Orchards were once found on the edges of most of the AONB's villages, but few survive. There is no coherent approach to the maintenance of surviving traditional orchards in the AONB. However before this issue can be dealt with more information is required on the location, extent and survival of historic orchards.

The Potential Mechanism - Orchards were once found on the edges of most of the AONB's villages, but few survive. There is no coherent approach to the maintenance of surviving traditional orchards in the AONB. However before this issue can be dealt with more information is required on the location, extent and survival of historic orchards.


- Assessment of potential underway by AONB
- Potential volunteer project being scoped by AONB
Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Make contact with groups already interested in orchards and determine current extent of knowledge.
- Charles Routh (Natural England) contacts Sarah Wilkinson, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on behalf of AONB about Wiltshire Traditional Orchard Project currently in abeyance
- Meeting between Emma Rouse, AONB & Sarah Willkinson WWT on WWT project data passed to AONB
- AONB assess information
- Information passed to AONB from Dorset Cider Project
2 Make contact with groups already interested in orchards and determine current extent of knowledge. Underway
3 Determine what additional information is required and how it would be recorded. Establish logistics and organisation needed to gather information. Underway
4 Gather further information perhaps via written survey to landowners
5 Collate responses
6 Publish a list of findings
7 Review potential for orchard restoration & maintenance.
8 Determine the next steps in the process

OVERSEEING ORGANISATION: AONB Team

ORGANISATIONS WHO HAVE PROVIDED SUPPORT: Natural England, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Dorset Cider Project

Linked to: Areas 3,9 Linked to: Theme 9

ACTION 3 (UNDERWAY): Identify and record components of historic highways

The Threat and the Opportunity - The historic highways of the AONB are an under appreciated component of the environment of the AONB and there is no coherent approach to their management and maintenance. The forms of the numerous routeways that thread through the AONB's countryside, and the lines they take, reveal much about their complex history. They are often the means by which people still move around and appreciate the Area's landscape, but like all other parts they are subject to change and the erosion of character and fabric can lead to a loss of historic meaning. Although individual historic features associated with ancient highways, such as milestones, are recorded, the way that these features relate to each other, and the setting of the historic highways, is often ignored. This action would increase understanding, appreciation and knowledge of historic highways and by doing so ensure that their key features are retained and appropriately managed. This action is intended to draw attention to the issues at the same time as realising the potential of routeways to enhance people's enjoyment of the AONB.

The Potential Mechanism - attention could be focused initially on the droveways of the AONB as these represent some of the oldest routeways and are served by a good Rights of Way network. One possible Mechanism could be through the creation of self-guided trails.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
New The AONB Team has held discussions about the possible scope of a volunteer led survey of the historic features of routeways Underway
1 Choose location for a pilot trail and identify its key features
2 Create example self guided trail
3 Advertise trail
4 Review success of pilot and roll out others as appropriate

OVERSEEING ORGANISATION: AONB Team

Linked to: Areas 3,9 Linked to: Theme 12

ACTION 4: Identify historic water mills and associated features under threat

The Threat and the Opportunity - Historic mills are an unstudied and under appreciated component of the AONB, although historic 19th century Ordnance Survey maps demonstrate that there were numerous examples along the chalk river valleys of the AONB. Lack of awareness of the history, numbers and condition of surviving mills leaves this important historical resource vulnerable, especially at a time when many rural buildings are subject to alteration in advance of reuse. The lack of information about this historic feature means that key features may be lost through development, lack of maintenance, lack of modern use or unsympathetic land management.

The Potential Mechanism - This action, as a starting point, could determine the extent of former and surviving mill buildings and associated features such as water wheels and mill races. It would also determine their general condition and suggest further steps which could be taken to ensure their preservation.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Contact key stakeholders to establish current level of interest in this issue
2 A desk based project could map former locations of historic mills
3 Develop community project to identify, map and record surviving features associated with historic water mills
4 Use the material gathered to more thoroughly assess the state of the resource in the AONB, and to consider its historic importance as a whole and that of individual mills. Consider preparing guidance on management, maintenance and reuse, aimed at owners and planners.
5 Develop community project to identify, map and record features associated with historic water mills

Linked to: Areas 3,9 Linked to: Theme 12.

ACTION 5: Reduce unintended/accidental damage to buried archaeology or extant monuments

The Threat and the Opportunity - Approximately 55% of the agricultural land in the AONB is cultivated. One result of this activity is the unintended damage and loss of buried archaeology. This is especially damaging in the AONB due to the complex archaeological remains which survived into the 19th century, for example prehistoric settlements set within extensive field systems. This damage can be mitigated against through advice to land owners delivered, in part, through agri-environment schemes. Another area where advice can be of assistance is in increasing awareness and appreciation of more recent components of the historic landscape such as historic field boundaries (see Action 17).

The Potential Mechanism - Examples from other areas in the country suggest that advice to landowners aimed at reducing damage is most effectively delivered by specialist advisors. Many local authorities maintain a Historic Environment Countryside Advisor Service (HECAS) to maximise the gain for the historic environment from the various schemes designed to support the environment and rural economy (Higher and Entry Level Environmental Stewardship, Woodland Grant Schemes the AONB's own Sustainability funding, etc). A HECAS officer can be crucial in transforming the potential of these schemes into reality and in so doing help a range of agencies achieve their wider aims with regard to managing and enhancing the historic environment. In the CCWWD AONB it may be expected that a key role for a HECAS would be to provide targeted agri-environment advice aimed at reducing damage and loss of buried archaeology through ploughing.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Explore Historic Environment Countryside Advice Services and other similar schemes adopted in other areas, to determine best model for AONB
2 Explore funding opportunities for HECAs

Linked to: Areas 1,2,3,4,5,7,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 8.


ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH LACK OF INFORMATION OR KNOWLEDGE
ACTION 6 : Gain AONB wide coverage of mapping and interpretation of archaeological features from aerial photographs

The Threat and the Opportunity - The buried or surviving archaeology of the AONB has never been systematically recorded from crop marks or earthworks displayed in aerial photographs. This means that there is potential for important archaeological sites to be damaged or inappropriately managed because they have not yet been recognised.

The Potential Mechanism - A mapping project for the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB could fill gaps in knowledge of plough damage sites, uncover new sites (through crop marks, earthwork patterns etc.), and spatially link known buried archaeology. The aim of English Heritage's National Mapping Programme (NMP) is to enhance the understanding of past human settlement, by providing primary information and synthesis for all archaeological sites and landscapes visible on aerial photographs, or other airborne remote sensed data.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Contact EH for update on progress and plans for NMP Programme, including establishing degree of commitment to completing NMP of Designated Areas (or Protected Landscape)
2 Define objectives of a NMP project for the AONB
3 Explore funding opportunities should they be required to support the EH programme
4 Apply for funding for project

Linked to: Areas 2,3,4,5,7,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11.

ACTION 7 (UNDERWAY): Record information on hazel underwood trade

The Threat and the Opportunity - Hazel coppice is a major component of the woodlands of the Cranborne Chase which until recent times were still managed traditionally. However, there is a lack of easily available information on the recent economic and social history of the industry (who practiced it, what the markets for produce were, why it flourished here in particular, and why it declined, etc). there is also a lack of information recorded on historic management practice and the condition of surviving hazel coppice. With increased understanding should come better material for presenting this part of the AONB's history, and a clearer rationale for any efforts to revive aspects of the industry. This information would help assist with the modern management of the woodland and provide an opportunity for increasing awareness and understanding of this important historic land use.

The Potential Mechanism - It is likely that such understanding would best be developed through discussion with people of the area, those who may have practiced coppicing or those who remember aspects of the activity. The individuals who were involved in the traditional hazel underwood trade are now retired and there is an opportunity to record their memories and knowledge of managing the hazel coppice via an oral history project.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Establish reasonable scope of the project, including identifying communities and individuals to target for interview.
2 Determine funding opportunities perhaps via Landscape Partnership Scheme bid
3 Oral History project commences
4 Review results; publish as appropriate and consider the potential and feasibility of further positive management.

Linked to: Areas 6,10 Linked to: Theme 13.

ACTION 8 : Increase knowledge of woodland archaeology in the AONB

The Threat and the Opportunity - The woodlands are a feature of the AONB which conceal a wealth of information on past human activity. This includes archaeological sites such as settlements and field systems, as well as information on the historic management of the woodland, such as ancient pollards and wood banks, and evidence for historic woodland industries including saw pits, charcoal burning pits and lime kiln. The lack of information on the archaeological and historic features in the woodland means potentially nationally important and locally distinctive historic assets could be under threat from inappropriate management.

The Potential Mechanism - One approach to filling the gap in our knowledge of the archaeology concealed in the ancient and new woodlands of the AONB is undertaking a LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) survey. This could provide woodland owners and managers with the information they need to conserve and enhance these features. LIDAR is an optical remote sensing technology, normally used when flying over a study area. It is normally able to penetrate the canopy of woodland and accurately record as dense arrays of points the positions of earthwork and structural remains that would take considerable resources to plot with traditional ground survey. Quality of LiDAR results in tree cover is very dependent on how much finance was invested in the original air coverage, and it is likely that this action will require new surveys to be commissioned


- The potential scope of the project has been determined
Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Investigate scope of project, including the qualities of the canopies of the AONB's woods in relation to the effectiveness of LIDAR, the HLC to assess which woods might have the greatest potential to contain important remains, etc
2 Investigate other alternative recording schemes
3 Define the scope of project
2 Identify funding opportunities and project timescales

OVERSEEING ORGANISATION: AONB Team

ORGANISATIONS WHO HAVE PROVIDED SUPPORT: Andy Poore

Linked to: Areas 1,6,10 Linked to: Theme 13.

ACTION 9 : Gain greater understanding of the components of the Medieval hunting areas of the AONB.

The Threat and the Opportunity - The Historic Environment Action Plans have identified the Medieval hunting forests of the AONB (Cranborne Chase, Grovely Forest and Selwood Forest) as one of the most important components of the historic landscape of the AONB. However although the history of these areas has been studied their physical archaeological and historical components have not received similar attention. The role of the Medieval hunting areas, combined with the ecclesiastical powers who dominated land ownership within the AONB, and the relationship to land use and feudal society is poorly understood.

The Potential Mechanism - A forum could be established of local people and experts to direct research into the Medieval landscape of the area. This would help to fill the gap in our knowledge of the landscape legacy of Medieval hunting areas of the AONB.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Define scope of hunting forest forum
2 Contact people to determine interest
3 Organise first meeting perhaps in the form of a seminar
3 Forum to decide scope and range of group's activities, and whether outcomes would be related in any way to AONB management and presentation.

Linked to: Areas 1,6,10 Linked to: Theme 5.

ACTION 10 (UNDERWAY): Gain greater understanding of historic farm buildings and farmsteads

The Threat and the Opportunity - Historic farm buildings and farm complexes are a key feature of the locally distinctive vernacular architecture of the AONB. There is, however, a lack of information on the location and character of historic farm buildings in the AONB, including their types, ages, typical components, materials, the ways buildings and spaces like yards work together within farmsteads, and the ways they have changed in the last few decades.

The Potential Mechanism - The national farmstead characterisation work championed by English Heritage could be built on to fill gaps in our knowledge of historic farm buildings and thereby help to ensure that they are properly conserved and enhanced in the future, or to ensure that any reuse is undertaken sensitively and on the basis of full understanding of the original form and function of the structures and spaces. One approach would be to collate existing information and make it accessible and undertake additional research & survey


- Meeting held between Emma Rouse, AONB and Nigel Wlaker of Wiltshire Building Record 13th June 2011
- Options in discussion with Wiltshire Buildings Record
Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Make contact with groups already undertaking farmstead characterisation work (such as the Wiltshire Buildings Record's project that is also using the EH farmstead characterisation method)
2 Synthesise information from listed building records as a first step Underway
3 Investigate characterisation techniques adopted in other areas
4 Define scope of project
5 Apply for project funding

OVERSEEING ORGANISATION: AONB Team

RELEVANT ONGOING PROJECTS: Wiltshire Farmsteads Project

ORGANISATIONS WHO HAVE PROVIDED SUPPORT: Wiltshire Buildings Record

Linked to: Areas 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 2.


ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH LACK OF APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING
ACTION 11 (UNDERWAY): Enhance appreciation of the Prehistoric archaeology of the area

The Threat and the Opportunity - Although the Cranborne Chase is widely accepted in academic circles as containing internationally important complexes of Prehistoric archaeology, this is not widely appreciated by local people and visitors.

The Potential Mechanism - The lack of appreciation of the AONB's Prehistoric archaeology could be combated through the establishment of a series of self guided trails through which people could explore different aspects of the Prehistoric archaeology of the AONB.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
New Planned programme of events through Festival of British Archaeology in July including:
- Tour of Whitesheet Hill by Wiltshire Archaeology Service
- Seminar on Archaeology and History of the AONB
- In the Footsteps of Pitt Rivers being led by Adrian Green, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
Ongoing
New Discuss a series of shared stories or messages for the landscape Ongoing
New Explore interlinkages with ongoing education and museum projects including:
- HLF bid Salisbury & south Wiltshire museum
- Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum temporary exhibition programme
- Revamp Shaftesbury Gold Hill Museum
- Proposed education project (Claire Ryley and Julian Richards)
Ongoing
1 Review current provision of public access to Prehistoric sites and supporting presentational literature in the AONB. Identify areas with potential for improved access and presentation.
2 Determine if trails are the most important mechanism for increasing appreciation.
3 Establish whether there might be land ownership or other issues relating to establishing access.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS: Wiltshire Archaeology Service, AONB Team, Laura Bullivant, South Wilts Museum, Martin Green

EXISTING INITATIVES: CBA Festival of Archaeology

Linked to: Areas 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 8.

ACTION 12 (UNDERWAY): Widen knowledge of ways and means of maintaining historic farm buildings .

The Threat and the Opportunity - The Historic Environment Action Plan Steering Group identified that although there had been some good examples of schemes which had reused historic farm buildings, while still maintaining their historic characteristics, these were not widely known.

The Potential Mechanism - Good examples of the maintenance and reuse of historic farm buildings could be celebrated and shared with Local Planning Authorities and land owners thereby helping to inspire the conservation and enhancement of other historic farm buildings and farmsteads.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Contact LAs for examples of good practice [and liaise with Jeremy Lake of EH Characterisation Team who has wide experience of farmstead and farm building issues, and has a clear idea of best practice.] There may need to be an early appraisal of what trends are for farm buildings and farmsteads in the AONB, whether many have a viable future as farm buildings and if not what sorts of uses can be found to ensure that they have a viable future and will be maintained as important structures in the AONB landscape. Ongoing
2 Collate examples of good practice
- East Dorset DC has agreed to help AONB team assess examples collated.
- On agenda of AONB P and T Group Wednesday 6th July
Ongoing
3 Determine format of output
4 Publicise results

OVERSEEING ORGANISATION: AONB Team, supported by East Dorset District Council, and AONB P&T Topic Group

Linked to: Areas 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 2.

ACTION 13 (UNDERWAY): Enhance appreciation of the military history and archaeology

The Threat and the Opportunity - The military history and archaeology of the AONB landscape is an under appreciated component of the story of the AONB. This includes the camps established for Kitchener's new armies in 1914, Second World War camps and airfields, and Cold War sites, including RAF Chilmark.

The Potential Mechanism - The lack of appreciation of surviving military remains in the AONB could be combated by making information on the military historic and archaeology of the AONB more accessible and by identifying private collections of information which will shed light on these important aspects of the historic environment of the AONB. Individuals who have drawn together historic material could be encouraged to become involved in a study of surviving remains. An event could be organised to coincide with the centenary of WW1 in 2014.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
New Wiltshire Museums undertaking joint bid for WW1 in Wiltshire contact made and AONB on steering group Ongoing
1 Contact military history organisations in the AONB
2 Promote publicly available information and ask for other sources of information.
3 Determine how to present information so it is accessible
3 Plan event to coincide with 100 year centenary of WW1

POTENTIAL PROJECT LINK: Proposed joint Wiltshire bid to HLF for 2014 anniversary of WW1

Linked to: Areas 3,7,8,9,12 Linked to: Theme 7.

ACTION 14 : Increase understanding of extensive woodland not part of former Medieval hunting areas

The Threat and the Opportunity - Several large woodlands in the AONB, including Great Ridge, are notable for not forming the core of a Medieval hunting forest. This means that their development and history, which is likely to have been different from that of woodland in the hunting grounds, is not very well understood.

The Potential Mechanism - This action will target these areas and historical and archaeological investigations will provide the context to their key archaeological and historical features; investigate the likely reasons why they were not incorporated into a Medieval hunting landscape; and establish how their medieval and later histories may have differed from the hunting landscape woodlands.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Identify which woodlands were not within medieval hunting grounds and establish whether these are considered to have been anciently woodland.
2 Establish level of community and land owner support for a project that investigates these woods from historical records and by archaeological field work,
3 Draw up a draft project design and determine funding opportunities

Linked to: Areas 3,7,8,9,12 Linked to: Theme 7.

ACTION 15 : Increase understanding of Medieval landscape elements of the AONB by academics, teachers and public.

The Threat and the Opportunity - There is perceived to be a lack of appreciation of the Medieval components of the AONB's landscape: settlements, buildings, castles, fields, pastures, woodlands, roads, mills, hunting chase, parks, etc, all of which contribute greatly to the fabric and character of the AONB as it survives today.

The Potential Mechanism - The lack of appreciation of the Medieval components of the AONB landscape could be combated by a seminar and the creation of a research framework that encourages and sets out a range of achievable goals for further research in the area.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Organise field day/seminar to identify themes and learn what is currently known of this period.
2 Create research framework and identify projects that will help deepen understanding while drawing a range of interested parties together, including academic and local archaeologists and historians, and members of the wider community.

Linked to: Areas 3,7,8,9,12 Linked to: Theme 7.


ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH LACK OF APPROPRIATE MANAGEMENT
ACTION 16 : Make more widely available enhanced and targeted information on managing archaeology in woodland.

The Threat and the Opportunity - The Historic Environment Action Plan Steering Group felt that there was a lack of simple readily available information targeted at woodland owners to help them more effectively manage the heritage assets in their woodland. The use of the heavy machinery involved in woodland management and harvesting can be very damaging to archaeological remains and lack of awareness of issues amongst forestry operatives has so far been a major stumbling block.

The Potential Mechanism - Invest effort in improving working relationships between forestry operatives, managers and archaeologists. An information base could be created for forestry operatives to help them better conserve and enhance the archaeology of woodlands, including information on protected heritage, good practice, information sources and heritage grant schemes for woodland. This could be promoted through a training day.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Draw together examples of positive woodland management and from published guidance material
2 Create resources
3 Organise training day

Linked to: Areas 1,6,9,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 13.

ACTION 17 : Improve management of historic field boundaries and ensure they are retained

The Threat and the Opportunity - The historic fieldscapes of the AONB are key characteristics of the AONB landscape which are not at present subjected to integrated and holistic management. There has consequently been loss and gradual removal of the historic patterns of pre 1800 boundaries, including the distinctive pattern of small curving irregular fields around the Donheads. Elsewhere older field boundaries have not been maintained and are either degrading or, if originally hedgerows are becoming overgrown.

The Potential Mechanism - This action would aim to halt the decline in the condition of particular field boundaries and the legibility of historic field patterns by providing training for agri-environment and other land management advisors. There is already much advice available on historic field boundary conservation (including implementation of the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations) and management, often generated via the HECAS officers mentioned under Action 5, but most of this is specific to the region's where it was generated. However, this material can be reviewed and tailored to suit the needs of the AONB once a clearer understanding has been gained of the character and needs of the field boundaries within the Area. This material should then form the basis of training sessions for farmers and land managers working within the AONB. Involvement in such an initiative might be attractive to partners such as FWAG, the National Trust, Natural England and the local Wildlife Trusts.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Establish the nature of the two issues - boundary management and boundary loss
2 Review current knowledge of the range of field boundary types within the AONB and establish whether further study is required before realistic management recommendations can be produced. Involve interested members of the farming community in this process.
3 Review and adapt any relevant material dealing with conservation and management of field boundaries that might be readily available
4 Establish through liaison with the key players, such as NFU, CLA, local Farming Clubs, Defra, Natural England etc the likely level of interest in organising training sessions.
5 Determine content of training sessions
6 Organise training day

Linked to: Areas 1,2,3,9,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 3.

ACTION 18 : Identify key characteristics of hundreds and associated beneficial management

The Threat and the Opportunity - The Medieval hundreds in the AONB are associated with unique patterns of historic land use and management. For example the Chalk Hundred centred on the Ebble Valley was the focus of a consistent pattern of landownership until the 20th century. This has resulted in a recognisable and locally distinctive historic landscape character in the area which is not widely recognised and understood. The distinctive patterns of land use that underpin that character may be in danger of erosion through management that may not be based on historical awareness.

The Potential Mechanism - This action aims to help deal with the erosion of the distinctive landscape scale character of the Hundreds in the AONB first through study of changing land management and then through the use of the results of that to inform the raising of awareness among land managers and farmers.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Organise historical and archaeological studies of the changing land use and land management systems that have created the unique landscape characteristics of the hundreds in the AONB
2 OCollate results and prepare material that can be disseminated to land managers and farmers.
3 Organise event for land managers in which present and past land management systems can be discussed with a view to developing viable ways of working that maintain the valued character of the hundreds landscape.
4 Use the outcomes of those discussions to develop a model management plan that farmers and land maangers are able to work with.

Linked to: Areas 3, 4 Linked to: Theme 1.

ACTION 19 : Coordinate advice on historic parks and gardens management

The Threat and the Opportunity - Historic parks and gardens are a key characteristic of the landscape of the AONB but some historic parks and gardens are under threat from lack of resources and inability to become involved in management schemes to conserve and enhance their key features.

The Potential Mechanism - An initial approach to this issue might be to provide the owners and managers of historic parks and gardens with advice and a readily accessible source of information on achievable best practice. Such material is available elsewhere in southern England (often generated by HECAS officers and usually based on carefully constructed Conservation Management Plans). This could be reviewed and tailored to the needs of the AONB as a whole and to particular parks and gardens as required. Registered Parks and Gardens and those that contain assets subject to other forms of designation (Scheduling, Listing, SSSIs, etc) should ideally be subjected to the preparation of a fully and carefully considered management plan.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Draw together examples
2 Create resources
3 Organise training day

Linked to: Areas 1,3,9,10,11,12 Linked to: Theme 4.

ACTION 20: Promote understanding of positive management of water meadows systems by identifying good practice, benefits and skills and training required.

The Threat and the Opportunity - The sheep-corn system of agriculture was a dominant part of the rural economy in the AONB landscape between AD 1600 and AD 1900, and is still represented by the extensive pattern of historic water meadow systems which exist throughout its chalk valleys of the AONB. These extensive features have never been surveyed and are no longer in a landscape scale system of management.

The Potential Mechanism - This action will help to combat this threat by providing, as a starting point, a survey of the extent and surviving components of the water meadows in the AONB; and identifying good practice examples of their management. If a National Mapping Programme project can be established for the AONB then this could include the careful plotting of the patterns of water meadow systems.

Stage Details Achieved yet?
1 Determine locations, extents, forms and original working methods of water meadows in the AONB
2 Review and adapt any relevant material dealing with conservation and management of water meadows that might be readily available
3 Establish through liaison with the key players, such as NFU, CLA, local Farming Clubs, Defra, Natural England etc the likely level of interest in organising training sessions
4 Determine content of training sessions
5 Organise training sessions.

Linked to: Areas 3,9 Linked to: Theme 12.


The actions flow from assessments, by area and theme, which describe the key historic and archaeological characteristics of the landscape of the AONB, and set out the significance, condition and forces for change affecting these historic characteristics.

These twenty actions have been identified by the Historic Environment Action Plan Steering Group as representing either solutions to the threats facing the historic environment of the AONB or opportunities to enhance management and understanding.

The actions are aimed at all people or organisations who have an interest in conserving and enhancing the history and archaeology of the AONB. The actions have been subdivided into smaller potential stages to enable people or organisations to sign up to deliverable actions without being overwhelmed by a given task. This will also allow the implementation of actions to be effectively monitored. The Actions could be prioritised by threat level or scale of likely benefits but the success of the action plan will be to respond to opportunities as they arise.

The production of the HEAPs is overseen by a dedicated implementation groupwith individuals or organisations signing up to oversee the implementation of a particular action. A crucial spin off from these meetings and the activities generated through the implementation of actions will be to raise awareness of the special characteristics of the history and archaeology of the area. Actions are targeted at the landscape of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB but they can naturally be implemented by programmes of work across larger areas such as districts or counties.