Thursday, 26 May 2011

Information on Knowlton Henge available via new EH website

Portico: Researching English Heritage Sites

English Heritage have launched a new database called Portico which explores the histories of the sites in their care. Using this database you can find out  about the history of the English Heritage sites in the AONB looked after by English Heritage, such as Knowlton Henge, what we know about them and why they are worth conserving.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

West Wiltshire Downs to be visited by Countryfile

Following on from my last blog discussing the BBC4 programme featuring historic sites in the AONB. This is not the only time this year that BBC cameras will be trained on the West Wiltshire Downs. My collegue Tracy Adams is preparing to help a presenter from the BBC's Countryfile explore the Downland in search of farmland birds.

South West Farmland Bird Initiative logo
Tracy is the AONB officer for the South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project. This is part of an exciting initative working closely with farmers to stablise and increase the numbers of farmland birds and rare arable plants

The South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project is part of the Wessex Water Partners Programme which provides funding to projects which will conserve and enhance biodiversity.

The bird species

The project concentrates on six bird species, the ‘Arable 6’, and hotspots for arable plants. The ‘Arable 6’ are:
  • Grey partridge
  • Lapwing
  • Turtle dove
  • Yellow wagtail
  • Tree sparrow
  • Corn bunting
They are specialists which depend on arable farmland.

Why not follow Tracy on Twitter to keep up to date with her progress.

BBC4 show A303 Highway to the Sun features AONB locations

Map of Area 5

Tom Fort has presented a sometimes whimsical but interesting journey along the A303 in a new one off BBC4 programme entitled A303 Highway to the Sun, which is still available on iplayer . The A303 of course traverses east west across the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB transecting the open expanse and woodland caps of the West Wiltshire Downs. Tom Fort choose to visit the majestic King Alfred's Tower on the Stourhead estate. He could however have devoted a whole programme to the archaeology of the West Wiltshire Downs which includes amongst other sites extensive Iron Age and Romano-British archaeology, for example Stockton earthworks. The woodlands on the Downs are equally fascinating including Grovely Forest a former Medieval Hunting forest. You can find more information on these topics by looking at the descriptions i have written of the archaeology of the AONB by area which include a section dedicated to the West Wiltshire Downs. These can be accessed from the AONB Historic Landscape Website.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Salisbury Museum running guided walk celebrating the history of Pitt Rivers

Friday 22 July 2011. A guided walk around Cranborne Chase visiting the sites of Pitt Rivers led by Adrian Green, Director of Salisbury Museum.

An enjoyable circular walk on uneven ground including some steep climbs. The walk lasts approximately 4-5 hours stopping at Rotherley and Tollard Royal along the way with fantastic views of Cranborne Chase and the Ashcombe Estate.

Please bring clothing suitable for the weather and stout footwear, sun protection, drink and snacks as required. Picnic or pub lunch at Tollard Royal.

Location: Meet at the Win Green Hill car park, grid reference ST 922 204. Turn off the
A30 at Ludwell, a few miles east of Shaftesbury and continue south for about a mile and a half. Take the gravel lane on the left (signposted ‘By-Way to Win Green’) at the top of the hill, to the National Trust car park on Win Green.

This event is part of the Festival of British Archaeology 2011. For further information see the
FoBA website.
Booking: Booking required. Please contact the Museum to book.

Cost:  Museum members £4.00; non-Members £5.00

Monday, 23 May 2011

AONB pilot provides window on Historic Routeways of the Cranborne Chase

Historic Routeways of the AONB

Historic Routeway Characterisation provide a method to allow the AONB partnership to characterise the distinctive, historic dimension of the routeways of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB.

Historic Routeway Characterisation is a relatively new concept and the AONB has undertaken this pilot study of the wooded chalk downland of the Cranborne Chase to investigate the potential of this technique for revealing information about the routeways of the AONB. This pilot complements work which has been undertaken in the Chilterns (Green and Kid 2009) and forthcoming worked planned for the Hoo Peninsula in Kent (Herring 2010). This pilot study can be downloaded as a pdf

Discover the protected heritage places within the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB

English Heritage

 English Heritage have launched a searchable database of all nationally designated heritage assets including Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments, Registered Parks and Gardens, Registered Battlefields and Protected Wreck Sites. This provides a window on the nationally important archaeological and heritage features in the AONB.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Guided Walk on the Archaeology of Mere Castle & Whitesheet Hill

The Wiltshire Archaeology Service is taking part in this years Festival of British Archaeology

The first event is an exciting guided walk from Mere Castle, which is located just north of Castle Street in the village of Mere.  Mere lies at the extreme south western tip of Salisbury Plain, close to the borders of Somerset and Dorset.  The walk takes in the medieval castle and it’s adjacent Bronze Age round barrows as well as the prehistoric monuments of the down edge.  Surrounded by an incredibly beautiful landscape, the walk will continue across to the spectacular Neolithic Causewayed Camp of White Sheet Hill.

To book your place or to find out more information please contact:
Nancy Jane Danks, Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN, telephone: 01249 705504, e-mail:

For more information about other Festival of British Archaeology events in Wiltshire and beyond visit the official website at

Friday, 20 May 2011

AONB Archaeology Walk as part of Festival of Archaeology - Fully Booked Twice Over

The AONB has had an excellent response to the opportunity to visit Down Farm, near Sixpenny Handley and go on a guided walk with local archaeologist Martin Green - this event which is part of the Festival of Archaeology has now been booked up twice over!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB celebrates 30 birthday

Celebrate 30 years of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty by visiting the AONBs Photostream on Flicker

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

AONB holds Seminar 23rd July as part of Festival of British Archaeology

“New Discoveries and Perspectives on the archaeology and history of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”

Saturday 23rd July 2011 at the Nadder Hall, Tisbury, Wiltshire 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

Tickets £5 or £10 including lunch - available by emailing

Celebrate 30 years of the Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a one day seminar aimed at local people and interested persons from farther afield. You can find out about the special qualities of the history and archaeology of the area. The event will also introduce the latest methods and techniques which are being used to investigate this landscape.

This event will be held in the heart of the AONB at the Nadder Hall Tisbury, Wiltshire, which is on the main Exeter-London Waterloo train line.

Contributors include Dr Mike Allen, Dr Martin Papworth, Martyn Barber (English Heritage), David Roberts & Patrick Morton (Sheffield University), Emma Rouse (CCWWD AONB), and Dr Helen Wickstead (Kingston University).

Topics to be covered include:

New discoveries from English Heritage aerial survey work in the AONB
New research on Roman Archaeology centred on Teffont, Wiltshire
New discoveries of prehistoric archaeology at Damerham, Hampshire
The archaeology and palaeo-environment of the Wylye Valley, Wiltshire

There will be a follow up an optional field visit to a site of interest on the Sunday.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Historic Routeways Characterisation discussed at Annual AONB Planning Seminar

On Wednesday 11th May thirty-eight people, not including AONB staff, attended the annual AONB planning and transportation seminar. This included a good mixture of people from other AONB teams, development control staff, planning policy, and heritage conservation staff, and highway planners and engineers.

  • Local Distinctiveness and character and their relationship to localism
  • New trends in applications and the landscape issues surrounding them
  • New approaches to rural highways including historic routeways characterisation
  • The increasing importance of ‘setting’
  • Green infrastructure
As with previous years seminars the day was comprised of a mixture of short presentations and group exercises. The groups seemed to be very engaged while undertaking these exercises and there were some lively comments during the feedback.

The presentations from the event are available by emailing