Friday, 29 July 2011

Just took part in the Day of Archaeology #dayofarch - so you can see a snapshot of my day and 399 other archaeologists

My name is Emma and I am the Historic Environment Action Plan Project Officer for the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. What a mouthful! Basically what this is about is a gorgeous piece of protected landscape on the Wiltshire Dorset border which incorporates the amazing prehistoric archaeology of the Cranborne Chase, a host of Medieval hunting landscapes, the Vale of Wardour and the chalk landscape of the West Wiltshire Downs. Since 2009  we have been prodocuing a landscape scale vision for the conservation and enhancement of the historic environment of this landscape, and have developed a series of 20 actions to achieve this. We were lucky to secure English Heritage funding for this project as a best practice exemplar for other protected areas.

We are now at the stage of implementing these actions, which leads to a snapshot of my day which has been as is typical very varied...

... first thing i had a meeting with a AONB volunteer who is leading on an action to help our parishes and communities to analyse record the historic landscape character of their villages and the surrounding landscape to inform Village Design Statements and the like. We had a trial workshop at Pimperne on Monday evening and we went through the results and looked at what worked and what didnt

... i drafted a proposal for South Wiltshire CPRE outlining how they might potentially help with the implementation of the Historic Environment Action plans

...i  sat down with my manager Linda and discussed the arrangements for a guided walk we have organised in conjunction with Martin Green on Down Farm on the Cranborne Chase. This is the second event which we have organised as part of the  festival of archaeology. The first was an archaeology seminar last Saturday on the history and archaeology of the area which 85 people came to and which was a fantastic day

...i then coordinated with Laura the eductaion officer at Salisbury Museum over a meeting she is hosting next week focusing on interprepation, education and access to the historic environment of the AONB, and how the various museums, organisations etc can work together better up i responded to a proposal for a Higher Level Stewardship scheme from Natural England on one of the designed landscapes in the AONB and gave some feedback

... i sent some details on a historic farmstead i visited yesterday to one of our local councillors 

... finally I got some GIS files and maps ready for next week. I have scanned some slides for Martin Green and amgiving him the .jpegs tomorow. On Tuesday am visiting the Wiltshire Archaeology Service to hand over the AONB Historic Landscape Characterisation and some other GIS files, popping into the Wiltshire Building Record and then going to see our collegues at North Wessex Downs to chat through some Historic Landscape Characterisation data with them.

...the last thing i am doing today is completing this for the Day of Archaeology and will probably post it to my own blog too. See

Thats all for me if you want to know more about our project visit



Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Annual Sting in the Tale storytelling festival is coming to East Dorset in August

The 8th Sting in the Tale festival will be full of wondrous stories from the enchanting and adventurous, to salty sea tales and legends of love and laughter.
The festival offers stories in some of East Dorset’s most resplendent and atmospheric settings; including the Iron age Earthouse at the Ancient Technology Centre and  the Neolithic site of Knowlton. Click here for the programme.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Future Meetings of the Cranborne Chase AONB HEAP Implementation Group

The Implementation Group will initially split into 2 subgroups focusing on different types of actions. These groups will meet for the first time by the end of August and determine format and regularity of meetings.
Sub Group One (Chaired by Laura Bullivant & Claire Ryley) will focus on: -
Actions that deal with a Lack of Information or Knowledge AND a Lack of Appreciation or Understanding

Sub Group Two (Chair to be decided) will focus on: -
Actions that deal with Heritage Under Threat AND a Lack of Appropriate Management

If you would like to be involved please email

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Heritage Updates from around the Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs AONB

At the HEAP implementation group several partners provided relevant updates of work they are currently engaged in. Please email if you would like more information.
  • The Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB is waiting to hear about their bid to the HLF for a Landscape Partnership Bid for the Cranborne Chase area. They are also gearing up for the biannual woodfair at the Larmer Tree on the 8th and 9th October.
  • Gold Hill Museum will be reopening this month
  • Claire Ryley, Julian Richards and the CBA are working on a HLF bid entitled ‘What’s under your School?’ This will feed information back into the HERs, and will be a model of best practice.
  • The Wiltshire Historic Environment Record has been upgraded to improved GIS systems and a funding application has been submitted to English Heritage to create a Wiltshire wide Historic Landscape Characterisation
  • Work is ongoing with the Dorset County Monument Management Scheme, with examples being completed in the AONB at for example Cranborne Castle. This particular piece of work was a nominee for the Dorset Archaeological Awards
  • South Wiltshire & Salisbury Museum are submitting a HLF bid to create a new Archaeology of Wessex gallery, and have several relevant forthcoming exhbitions including exploring the Archaeology of the Cranborne Chase.
  • The Dig It Project at the Priest's House Wimborne was a deserving winner of the 2011 Dorset Archaeology Awards
  • Wiltshire museums are exploring a joint project on Wiltshire and WW1 ready for 2014.
  • The Wiltshire Building Records 'Historic Farmstead Project' is well underway.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Eight Cranborne CHase AONB HEAP actions now underway

Eight actions out of twenty in the Historic Environment Action Plan are now underway:-
  • ACTION 1: Provide an AONB wide synthesis of the distinctive character of historic settlements
  • ACTION 2: Record and maintain historic orchards
  • ACTION 3: Identify and record components of historic highways
  • ACTION 7: Record information on hazel underwood trade
  • ACTION 10: Gain greater understanding of historic farm buildings and farmsteads
  • ACTION 11: Enhance appreciation of the Prehistoric archaeology of the area
  • ACTION 12: Widen knowledge of ways and means of maintaining historic farm buildings
  • ACTION 13: Enhance appreciation of the military history and archaeology
For more information on the delivery of these actions and partners currently involved see the Action Plan page on the AONB Historic Landscape website. Or download the updated action plan as a pdf.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

National CBA Festival of Archaeology has kicked off with events happening across the Cranborne Chase AONB

Rockbourne Roman Villa

The annual extravaganza of heritage events is coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology. Each year the Festival showcases the very best of British archaeology, and this year the landscape of the AONB is really flying its flag. Events include:

  • A guided walk lead by the Wiltshire Archaeology service at Mere Castle and Whitesheet Hill (Sun 17th July)
  • Finds identification day at Rockbourne Roman Villa (17th July) & Legio II Augusta (24th July)
  • In the footsteps of Pitt River, guided walk in the northern Cranborne Chase (22nd July)
  • The Dorset Historic Environment Team on the road at Kingston Lacy (23rd & 24th July)
  • AONB Archaeology Seminar at Tisbury (Sat 23rd July)
  • Open day at Teffont Excavations (Sun 24th July)
  • A guided walk of Cranborne Chase (Sat 30th July)
There are also numerous events at the Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum in Salisbury and the Priest's House Museum & Garden, Wimborne Minster. For more information on these events visit the Festival Website.

Monday, 18 July 2011

First Cranborne Chase Historic Environment Action Plan E-Bulletin now available

Knowlton Church and Henge
This new bi-monthly newsletter provides an update on progress with the implementation of the HEAP actions. It also provides an opportunity to share archaeology and history news and initatives occuring across the AONB.

The July 2011 newsletter contains the following articles:
  • Eight HEAP actions now underway
  • National Festival of Archaeology kicks off this weekend
  • HEAP Implementation Group Meets for the first time
  • Updates from around the AONB
  • Future Meetings of the HEAP Implementation Group

Last chance to get tickets for Archaeology Seminar on Saturday 23rd at Tisbury

"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
9.30am to 4.30pm

Celebrate 30 years of the AONB
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, Martin Papworth (National Trust), Martyn Barber (English Heritage), David Roberts & Patrick Morton (Sheffield University), Emma Rouse (CCWWD AONB), and Dr Helen Wickstead (Kingston University).

Who can attend?

The day is open to everyone, tickets are £10 per person including a light lunch and £5 per person without lunch.


To book your place, please download and fill in the booking form (PDF). Please send, with your payment, to:
AONB Office, Castle Street, Cranborne, Dorset BH21 5PZ. Telephone 01725 517417, fax 01725 517916.
Cheques should be made payable to Wiltshire Council.

Enquiries to Emma Rouse, Historic Environment Action Plan Officer, 01725 517417 or email

We look forward to seeing you on the day!

Really enjoyed visiting the WW1 exhibition in Devizes on Friday

EXHIBITION:  Devizes District Great WarI thoroughly recommened the exhibition currently running at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum.

Local author Richard Broadhead, has been researching the lives of soldiers commemorated on Wiltshire war memorials and to date has published four books, and his fifth Devizes District Great War will be published to co-incide with the exhibition. His work is helping to uncover more about the men who fell, ensuring that future generations will continue to remember them.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Off to see the WW1 exhibition at Devizes Museum

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum at Devizes is hosting an exhibition by the historian Richard Broadhead of soldiers of the great war who dies in Devizes and the surrounding area. Richard's research extends across the whole of Wiltshire and he will be researching Dorset next. I hope to meet him to find out more about his database.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wardour Castle the perfect venue to see Shakespeare

Last night I sat and enjoyed a wonderful production of Much Ado About Nothing in the grounds of ruined Wardour Castle. If you haven't been to the castle which is a English Heritage property I thoroughly recommend it. The castle was mined in the English Civil War and was then incorporated as a romantic ruin into the designed scheme for the parkland surrounding New Wardour Park.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Travelled down to Tamar Valley and had a brief explore round their mining heritage

I journeyed down to the Tamar Valley today as I had meeting with one of the AONB officers on Historic Environment Action Plans. I also took the opportunity to explore the valley which is on the Dorset Cornwall border. I learnt a little about Turners work in the area including his seminal painting "Crossing the Brook". This work has been documented by the Tamar AONB. Visit the BBC webpage for a review of the book.

Of course my thoughts also turned to home because Turner is also associated with the Nadder Valley and undertook several sketches of Fonthill splendeens.

A major feature of the valley a lot less familiar however is the mining heritage present, part of which is in the wider Mining World Heritage Site. Everywhere you look there are ruined wheel houses, chimneys and spoil heaps, and there are excellent trails to help you explore this industrial heritage.

I am now back home looking forward to tomorrow as the team from North Wessex Downs AONB are visiting us in Cranborne.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Congratulations to the Priest's House Wimborne winners of the 2011 Dorset Archaeology Awards

I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Dorset Archaeology Awards on Friday night and the Dig It Project being run by the Priest's House, in Wimborne where extremely deserving winners. The venue was the Tithe Barn at Hinton St Mary and the gardens of the manor where we had a picnic before hand were beautiful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 8 July 2011

Looking forward to the Dorset Archaeology Awards this evening

The AONB Historic Environment Action Plans are nominated this evening in the Dorset Archaeology Awards. However even if we don't win it will be nice to have a picnic in the surroundings of the Tithe Barn at Hinton St Mary - i will let you know how i get on tomorrow.

Off out today to Baverstock to see a Farmstead survey in action

Really loking forward to taking part in a Wiltshire Farmstead Project survey today at Baverstock.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

AONB working with Wiltshire Farmsteads Project

I had a very successful meeting with Nigel Walker from the Wiltshire Farmstead Project yesterday. This is a great initative which the AONB is very please to help support.

The Wiltshire Buildings Record is undertaking a major project to do this.  We are recording Wiltshire’s farm buildings for future generations.  The work is held in our archives.  The project is led by experts in historic buildings and the work is carried out by trained volunteers.

Wiltshire has a rich farming tradition and its farm buildings are a familiar part of our landscape.  Each one is unique and gives us a fascinating insight into how we used to live and farm the land.  Wiltshire, like all counties, is losing farmsteads at an alarming rate.  The changes in agriculture in recent history have caused older buildings and yards to become redundant.  Expensive to maintain, they are lost to demolition or conversion or are simply falling down.     

There is an urgent need to study and record farmsteads before it is too late. For more information visit the project website

Monday, 4 July 2011

Cranborne AONB featured in new EH Guide to 'Knowing Your Place"

The new English Heritage guide 'Knowing Your Place' deals with the incorporation of local heritage within plans that rural communities are producing, reviewing or updating and focuses particularly on parish plans and village design statements.

It features theAONB Historic Landscape Website and an image from one of our successful planning events.

Helping villages to understand their heritage and fed it into community plans is something this AONB is committed to. We are currently working with North Dorset District Council and the village of Pimperne to see how this process can work in our own landscape. This forms one of the actions in the AONBs Historic Environment Action Plans.