North Wessex Downs AONB, Units 3-4, Denford Manor, Lower Denford, Hungerford, RG17 0UN
01488 685 440



Projects 2005 - 2006

The links below will take you to the project item on this page:

All Cannings Community Store

All Cannings Community StoreAll Cannings Community Store received £6,290 SDF grant to develop and promote the new Community Shop in the Wiltshire village.

All Cannings is a special village with a strong community spirit. When the owners of the Post Office and shop retired and closed the business in December 2002, residents felt the village had lost some of its heart.
Three years later, and after many meetings, form-filling and fund-raising, the new Community Store opened in a converted and carefully disguised Portakabin in the Village Hall car park on 17 December 2005.

The 'official' opening took place on 7 January 2006 when local celebrity chef Peter Vaughan from the Healthy Life Bistro in Devizes cut the ribbon and gave one of his famed cookery demonstrations using local produce.

The Store is popular with people using the nearby Kennet & Avon Canal as well as village residents. A traditional Delivery Bicycle has been bought for local deliveries. The Association is developing plans for a permanent shop in due course.

More information from All Cannings Community Store Association.

BTCV Wiltshire with the Oxenwood Field Study Centre

BTCV Wiltshire received £7,360 SDF grant to run a project at Oxenwood Field Study Centre. This enables disadvantaged young people from urban areas around the AONB to gain skills by learning about the environment and landscape.

Increasing people’s understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the North Wessex Downs is one of the primary outcomes of the project.
Young people taking part will learn about the unique environments and heritage of the AONB, through outdoor activities rather than more traditional education methods.

The project’s objectives are to enable socially excluded young people from areas such as Swindon, Newbury, Basingstoke, Reading, Andover, Tidworth and Ludgershall to:

Young people and young carers are referred to the project independently by housing associations and local authorities. About half the young people involved come from within the North Wessex Downs.

More information from BTCV Wiltshire e-mail Giles Aspinall on or BTCV

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)

BBOWTBBOWT received £9,714 SDF grant for conservation and training projects at Hungerford Marsh, Kintbury Newt Ponds, Inkpen Common and Inkpen Crocus Field in West Berkshire.

The four sites – all Nature Reserves open to the public – represent distinctive and characteristic habitats within the AONB: marshland, pond and reed bed, heathland and neutral grassland. All are rare or rapidly declining, and this project is essential to the survival of wildlife dependent on them.

The conservation project:

The training project ensured that the volunteer conservation trainees working on these conservation projects received chainsaw training, appropriate personal protective clothing, and are proficient in First Aid for working in the Nature Reserves.

More information about BBOWT, including how to get to the Nature Reserves, and what you can see there.

Blewbury Energy Initiative

This project won the Energy Efficiency and Renewables category of the Oxfordshire Sustainability and Conservation Awards in October 2006.

Blewbury Village Society, working in partnership with the Vale of White Horse District Council, received £2,710 SDF grant for a project to:

This project aims to combat climate change through the reduction of carbon emissions, identify and alleviate any cases of fuel poverty, cut people’s fuel bills, and promote local businesses that support energy efficient and renewable energy installations. People taking part in the household questionnaires were given low-energy light bulbs as an incentive to reduce their fuel bills.

Blewbury Village Society will create a methodology and process which can be replicated in other villages across the North Wessex Downs AONB.

More information about the Blewbury Energy Initiative.

Flower Farms seed store

Flower FarmsFlower Farms, Shalbourne received £1,306 SDF grant for a chiller room to enable the storage of wild-flower seed by community and voluntary groups from across the AONB.

High quality storage facilities are now available free of charge to community groups and others (e.g. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, English Nature and the Ministry of Defence), who are restoring chalk grassland or wanting to store brush-harvested seed from Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and MoD land.

Flower Farms has produced crop grown wildflower seed since 1988, and more recently brush-harvested seed. For seed to be successful it needs to be dried slowly in traditional farm buildings and stored carefully in chilled conditions.

Seed that comes late to harvest in September often has to be stored for sowing the following year. Small amounts of seed have to be stored until there is enough to be sown to ensure a reasonable crop.

Flower Farms is one of the key partners in delivering the chalk grassland strategy for the North Wessex Downs. The re-establishment of high quality chalk grassland increases biodiversity and improves the environment for everyone to enjoy.

Great Western Community Forest Green Infrastructure Project

Great Western Community Forest (GWCF) received £6,250 SDF grant for a Green Infrastructure project on the urban fringes of Swindon.

Funding is for the first phase of a Green Infrastructure plan for the southern fringes of Swindon town and into the North Wessex Downs landscape. This work builds on the Urban Fringe Action Plan to help Swindon, one of the fastest growing urban centres in England, create and maintain green spaces, links with the landscape and improve biodiversity for wildlife.

The first phase includes identifying existing Green Infrastructure, assessing the quality, and finding out where the gaps are that need to be filled. GWCF is also working with local residents to find out what people like about the network of green spaces, how they use them, and what they would like to see in future.

Green Infrastructure provides the essential ‘breathing spaces’ in urban areas where people enjoy walking, cycling and relaxing. For people in south Swindon, Green Infrastructure also makes the vital link with the beautiful downland, historic Liddington Hill Fort, and local farmers.

The Green Infrastructure Project is supported by Swindon Borough Council, and is connected with local community and regional spatial strategies.

More information about Great Western Community Forest.

Hampshire Country Learning

Hampshire Country LearningHampshire Country Learning, the Hampshire wing of the national charity The Countryside Foundation for Education received £7,500 SDF grant to identify host farms for educational visits, and work with farmers and teachers to promote greater knowledge of food, farming and the countryside.

Since 2003 Hampshire Country Learning (HCL) has enabled more than 3,000 children to visit the countryside through educational visits to farms and estates.

The SDF-funded project aims to extend the number of farms hosting visits across the whole of the North Wessex Downs AONB, including west Berkshire, east Wiltshire and south Oxfordshire.

Hampshire CLIn conjunction with Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) Hampshire Country Learning provides advice to farmers and training under the Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS).

Jo Britton, the education co-ordinator, is a trained teacher and works with schools to develop curriculum-based activities on farm visits including Linkenholt Estate, Manydown Estate, Binley Farms and Faccombe Manor Estate.

This project promotes reconnection along the food chain, which is a priority task in the delivery plan for Sustainable Farming and Food in the South East.

More information from Hampshire Country Learning.

Kennet and Avon Wigglywalks

Kennet and Avon Canal Rural Transport Partnership received £3,300 SDF grant for the development of a new set of Wigglywalks on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

This project aims to

Members of West Berkshire Ramblers are working with British Waterways, Wilts & Dorset Bus Company and Kennet & Avon Canal Rural Transport Partnership to develop walks that link with bus and train timetables. Some will be short for an easy stroll, others longer with opportunities to explore the countryside.

The Wigglywalks guide includes information about interesting historic and geological features in the countryside around the canal, as well as the wildlife to be found in the area.

More information from Kennet & Avon Canal Rural Transport Partnership

Wiggly Walks

Lambourn Parish Plan

Lambourn Parish PlanLambourn Parish Council received £750 SDF grant to help with the publication and distribution of the Parish Plan for Lambourn.

The Plan was published in September 2005 and sets out a vision for Lambourn for the future with specific objectives set for the next five years. It represents a major milestone for the parish. For the first time, a clear direction has been documented which is based on more than a year of public consultation and debate. It will guide activities in the parish and also be the basis of attracting partnership funding and grants to the parish in support of the actions listed.

With assistance from the SDF grant, the council was able to print and distribute colour copies of the Parish Plan to key individuals and organisations, and summaries of the Plan will be delivered to every household and business. It is also available on the village website.

More information from Lambourn village website.

Northmoor Trust – Neptune Wood

Northmoor TrustThe Northmoor Trust, Oxfordshire received £6,060 SDF grant for interpretation and publicity at Neptune Wood, the Trafalgar Wood planted in the autumn 2005.

Neptune Wood is one of 27 sites across the UK where oak trees were planted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar – each site is named after one of the ships in the line of the fleet at the battle.

This community wood at the Northmoor Trust, near Long Wittenham, was planted by local people and Royal Navy representatives, and will become part of an international survey of the effects of climate change on different species of oak and other native trees.

Neptune Wood lies in the Moreton Plain, a landscape area on the north-eastern edge of the North Wessex Downs AONB, and will provide much-needed improvement for biodiversity and landscape character. Signage and interpretation boards at Neptune Wood explain how and why the site integrates with the North Wessex Downs landscape

The Northmoor Trust aims to reconnect people with the countryside for a sustainable future. The Neptune Wood project is a major attraction for schools and community groups.

More information from Northmoor Trust (now renamed The Earth Trust).

Oxfordshire Geology Trust – Discovering the Earth’s Heritage

The Oxfordshire Geology Trust received £8,295 SDF grant for a project to encourage people to learn about the Earth Heritage on the Ridgeway.

The aim of this project is to provide exciting and innovative ways for people to learn about the rich and varied Earth Heritage on both sides of The Ridgeway in the AONB.

Through geological specimens displayed at the information centre in the Ridgeway Youth Hostel, Court Hill, Wantage, and interpretation boards in both Streatley and Ridgeway Hostels, people will find out

Geology DayThe education programme will involve local children and others visiting the Ridgeway Hostel. The Hostel’s information centre is open to the public, and with the café is often used by local community groups as a meeting place.

Discovering the Earth’s Heritage is a partnership with the Ridgeway Youth Hostel and is sponsored and supported by several funders including Oxfordshire Community Foundation, the Youth Hostel Association and the Court Hill Trust.

More information about Oxfordshire Geology Trust and the project.

Pewsey Area Community Trust – King Alfred’s Trail

Pewsey Area Community Trust (PACT), Wiltshire received £4,800 SDF grant for a project to take forward their exciting project, The King Alfred’s Easy Access Trail, which will allow more people to enjoy the footpaths and landscapes of the Pewsey Vale.

The grant will fund the consultative process involving the wider community as well as landowners to create a 14km circular walk built to high accessibility standards. The trail around the Vale of Pewsey will include riverside and canal areas, open farmland, small villages with interesting buildings and Pewsey itself. The underlying aims of the project include regeneration of the local economy through increased tourism, improved access to heritage landscape, and new educational resources.

PACT is creating a partnership of organisations supporting this project. Already in association with Wiltshire County Council and Kennet District Council, feasibility studies show that the benefits to the community are very positive.

The next phase of work will build on business and financial planning, and move forward with community consultation and negotiations with landowners. Access audits already carried out identify targets within the villages and countryside that need priority attention for the trail to be developed successfully.

More information about Pewsey Area Community Trust.

Richmond Fellowship Employment & Training, Marlborough

RFET, Marlborough is a mental health project committed to delivering high quality volunteer experiences in conservation and rural crafts to people living with or recovering from mental health difficulties. The charity received £614 SDF grant to set up an all-weather market stall in Marlborough from which the group will sell a variety of products and raise awareness of their activities.

Products on sale include greenwood products such as wattle hurdles and garden willow sculptures, some of which have been made from wood on a site close to Mud Lane, and the Hat Gate Reserve which RFET manages on behalf of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Future products will include honey, nesting boxes, dried herbs, own-label fruit juice and charcoal.

The market stall will raise interest in the charity’s work, create new volunteering opportunities for client-volunteers and encourage them to develop new skills and confidence in managing money and dealing with the public, and attract new volunteers to the project to increase the range of social experiences and reduce the social stigma often attached to mental health problems.

More information about the work of RFET, Marlborough

Rural Pathfinder Project – Hampshire County Council

The Land Management Rural Pathfinder, a Hampshire County Council project received £2,000 SDF grant to research the different sources of information that land managers in the AONB use.

Rural Pathfinder is a national programme set up by Defra (Dept of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to make the delivery of rural services more effective, efficient, customer-focused and publicly accountable. Hampshire County Council is hosting the pilot Rural Pathfinder project in the south east.

The grant helped to fund a study and analysis of the relationship between the many and varied sources of support, advice, regulatory and funding schemes that land managers use in the North Wessex Downs AONB. Evaluation will show those programmes that will continue to stand alone, propose the linking of some schemes, and identify the constraints and blockages that prevent people accessing information.

West Berkshire Council – Snelsmore Common education project and disabled access to walks and trails

West Berkshire Council received £5,000 SDF grant for educational materials at Snelsmore Common Nature Reserve, and to install seven new gates and stiles in the AONB to enable people in wheelchairs and families with pushchairs to access walks and trails.Snelsmoor Common

80% of West Berkshire’s population live in towns, yet 74% of the local authority’s area is within the North Wessex Downs AONB. West Berkshire Council is encouraging more people to take advantage of the recreational benefits of the landscape in a responsible way.

The council’s Countryside Management team has set up a new educational programme at Snelsmore Common Country Park, which will focus on school children accessing the countryside, and will extend to families so that people can learn how to read a map, and explore the countryside safely.

In addition the West Berkshire Ramblers group is working with the council to install dozens of new stiles and gates throughout the countryside; seven will be located specifically on access trails that are suitable for families with pushchairs and people in wheelchairs.

More information from West Berkshire Council Countryside Service.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust – assessing the ecological capital of the North Wessex Downs

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust received £10,000 SDF grant to survey County Wildlife Sites within the AONB that have never been surveyed before.

Wildlife Sites represent the best remaining fragments of wildlife habitat outside nationally designated sites. This project aims to visit 62 unvisited Wildlife Sites in the AONB to establish links with the landowners, assess site condition and status, ensure information is recorded in the Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre and North Wessex Downs AONB databases, and provide management recommendations.

The outcome of the project will:

More information from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust