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



Projects 2009 - 2010

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

Ashampstead Parish by its Parishioners

Residents of Ashampstead produced a book about the parish, featuring articles that range from the light hearted to the scholarly.

Local people felt that Ashampstead was very much a community which people 'passed through'.

Dick Greenaway, Project Leader, said; “Residents tend to buy houses, stay for a few years and then move on.

The hope is that this book will help to introduce them to the community on arrival and encourage them to learn about, value and contribute to the parish”. The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund Contributed to publication costs of the book.


Archaeological Excavations at the Whittenhams

During 2003 and 2006, the Northmoor Trust worked with Oxford Archaeology, Channel 4’s Time Team and hundreds of local volunteers to undertake excavations on the Wittenham Clumps.

Analysis of the findings from these excavations including flint artefacts revealed that hunter-gatherers visited Castle Hill during Mesolithic and Neolithic times.

Thousands of Iron Age finds were uncovered including pottery, animal bones, wool spinning weights and well-preserved human skeletons.

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund supported production of a book, detailing the results of these excavations, which will be made available to local people and heritage specialists.


You can download the book by visiting the Oxfordshire Archaeology Website






Ashampstead Parish Plan

As part of the community-led planning process, the North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund contributed to the cost of producing the Ashampstead Parish Plan.

Sections in the plan include the environment, traffic, planning and the maintenance and development of the village hall and the recreation ground.

David Kiggell, treasurer of the Ashampstead Parish Plan Steering Group said; “The whole community are determined to protect and improve the natural peace and beauty of the parish”.

It is intended that the plan be reviewed in five years time.

Download the Plan here.



Bumblebee Conservation

The Bumblebee Habitat Project is working throughout southern England and Wales to help conserve the shrill carder bee Bombus sylvarum, one of the two rarest bumblebees in the UK. Bumblebees are key pollinators for the majority of our crops and wildflowers, so it is imperative that we look after them.

Assisted by the North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund, The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has produced a leaflet to inform farmers and land managers about managing habitats for the shrill carder bee.

For further information on the leaflet, or opportunities for habitat maintenance and restoration, please visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.

The North Wessex Downs Interactive Management Plan

The interactive Management Plan is a web-based version of the North Wessex Downs AONB Management Plan. It will enable the public, local authorities, parish councils and land managers to access the policies and guidance that form the management framework for the AONB. It has been developed to a second pilot stage through a partnership between Hampshire County Council, North Wessex Downs AONB SDF and Natural England. The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development fund has contributed towards the technical development of this resource, which will be invaluable in communicating the work of the AONB team and its partners.

You can visit the Interactive Management Plan here.

Farm Trail Information Project

The Organic Research Centre at Elm Farm (Hamstead Marshall) has produced a range of materials to publicise its interactive farm trail.

Aimed at both adults and children, the leaflets and interpretation boards are designed to stimulate an interest in the wildlife features that can be found around a working farm.

The trail is a permissive path, open to the public throughout the year.

For more information contact Elm Farm on 01488 658298

Goring and Streatley Hydroelectricity Project

Located on the River Thames, where it forms the boundary between the North Wessex Downs and Chilterns AONBs, this project demonstrates the support of the North Wessex Downs AONB for locally appropriate solutions to renewable energy production. It aims to produce clean, sustainable hydro-electric power on the weirs at Goring & Streatley.

With financial help from the North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund, The Goring and Streatley Sustainability Group have undertaken flood risk modelling at the site. This follows a Feasibility Study (2006) and Design Study (2007/08) which were also supported by the North Wessex Downs SDF. These studies determined that three fish and eel friendly Archimedes Spirals - endorsed by the Environment Agency - positioned at the weirs next to the lock-keeper's house could produce enough electricity to supply the equivalent of more than 500 homes (over 24 hours) with an estimated life exceeding 50 years This should equate to a saving of more than 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.

Parish Wildlife Map Toolkit

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund has assisted the Hampshire Wildlife Trust in producing a parish wildlife map toolkit to help local people include biodiversity in their community-led planning process.

A parish wildlife map is a graphical representation of some of the key habitats and species within a parish, town or village boundary, created by surveys and background information.

The North Wessex Downs AONB is currently offering support to any communities in the area who wish to help pilot this toolkit.

For more information please contact the North Wessex Downs AONB office on 01488685440 or the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust on 01256 381186.

You can download the toolkit by visiting our Publications section.


Hungerford Food Festival

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund helped to launch an annual local food festival in Hungerford.

It featured cooking demonstrations and tastings from a number of local producers and caterers.

Rural skills and crafts including butchery and thatching were also on display and local gardeners were on hand to offer tips and advice for the green-fingered.

Visit the Hungerford Food Festival website.


Hunting Henry’s Chapel

As part of ongoing archaeological investigations in the Hampshire Downs, the Kingsclere Heritage Association have been carrying out an historic landscape survey in partnership with the University of Southampton.

Significant sites that have been explored include a Bronze Age round barrow, a Romano-British settlement and a mediaeval hall built for the Angevin Kings.

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund supported the costs of undertaking investigations at the site.

During the course of the excavation an open weekend was organised to allow public access to the site. A number of activities were provided during the course of these two days, including medieval re-enactors in the form of an armourer, an archer and cook.

Site tours were given throughout each day, demonstrating to members of the public the excavation at the hunting lodge, and the array of finds that the site has produced over the years. Over 500 came, mainly in family groups. Further School visits also took place during the year.

Nature Box

Burbage Sports Club secured a grant to make their ground more wildlife friendly. Club members of various ages got together to construct and install a number of ‘Nature Boxes’ to house wildlife such as Barn Owls and Bats.





Dark Skies Expedition

The Richmond Fellowship were awarded funding by the North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund to build and equip a mobile observatory. According to Daniel O’ Donaghue, who led the project; “Equipped with star maps and red lights, binoculars and telescopes young people are invited to explore the craters and the floors of their near-sky neighbour the moon; to travel by sight to distant planets, double stars and clusters and to return home understanding how it is that the darkest sky lets you see the furthest."

In partnership with St Johns School and Community College in Marlborough, the observatory will now be used for groups of young people from local schools, youth groups and other organisations to investigate the impacts of light pollution on the night skies.

For more information regarding the project, including how to arrange a visit from the mobile observatory, please contact the Richmond Fellowship on 01672 516 393 (

The Great Stones Way

The Friends of the Ridgeway proposed to create a new path, the Great Stones Way, between the current end of The Ridgeway National Trail at Overton Hill (The Sanctuary) and Old Sarum near Salisbury, linking the ancient monuments of Avebury and Stonehenge.

As a first step, a feasibility study was commissioned; partly funded by the North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund to investigate the best route and potential benefits of the route as an aid to securing capital funding.

Traditional Stone Crafts of the North Wessex Downs

Joss Nankoo, a local stone craftsman noticed that with more local groups taking on the management of cemeteries, some were falling into disrepair.

The cost of complying with Health and Safety requirements can be prohibitive, which is compounded by a lack of traditional craftsmen. This project offered a series of free consultations and  presentations/workshops for church groups and parish councils on the opportunities and obligations of preserving such sites.

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund provided tools and equipment that were required for these workshops and to undertake work identified by the condition assessments.

Joss explains “I am an avid supporter of retaining the traditional crafts that I specialise in. I think it is really important to use local materials and sensitive methods in the work that I undertake”. More information on this work can be found at

Trout Redd Survey

Action for the River Kennet (ARK) is a charity that aims to protect and restore the River Kennet.

The Kennet is a classic chalk stream, but has been under pressure from man's activities and is struggling to maintain a good chalk stream ecology.

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund supported ARK in finding out more about the number of wild brown trout in the upper Kennet and where they were spawning. A training course was held for volunteers to enable them to recognise, survey and record the distribution of brown trout nests (redds) in the river bed. The volunteers then surveyed a stretch of river, and ARK collated the results to build a picture of wild brown trout in the Kennet. This information was also spatially mapped using GPS technology.

Hamstead Marshall Walks Leaflets

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund supported the production of a number of leaflets describing country walks centred on the parish of Hamstead Marshall.

Each leaflet contains a clear route map, illustrations, indications of terrain features, descriptive information about topography, land use, flora and fauna, historical associations, viewpoints and the Country Code. The leaflets have been distributed free to all households in Hamstead Marshall and to focal points within the village for the use of visitors.

For more information regarding the leaflets, please contact the Hamstead Marshall Parish Plan Steering Group on 01488 658759.




White Horses and Hill Figures Exhibition

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes, supported by the North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund has recently launched an exhibition of Wiltshire White Horses and Hill Figures.

Exploring their location, design, history, legends and folklore, the exhibition features some stunning aerial photographs historical items and ephemera, as well as interpretations from local, national and international artists.

Items from the Museum's own collection not usually on show are included, together with items from other organisations and private collectors.

The exhibition launch also featured an announcement regarding the discovery of what could be a previously unknown hill figure cut into the chalk of the North Wessex Downs. A series of walks has also been planned using parts of the White Horse Trail. For further information regarding the exhibition please contact the Wiltshire Heritage Museum on 01380 727369 (