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AONB Staff Newsletter August 2020

As lockdown continues to ease and we reach month four of the school holidays (!), we hope you are all managing well. We'll be sending out another newsletter later in the month with more sector news. 

In the meantime, if you have content for the next issue of the newsletter or would like to welcome a new member of staff to your team, please get in touch via or

In this issue:
Taking the Lead shortlisted for major business psychology award
North Pennines AONB secures £5.7m to lead farmer-focused recovery project
Environmental Land Management Scheme
Cotwolds Ourboretum Project
Happy Anniversary Tamar Valley!
Welcome to the family
Milestone studies published by Cannock Chase AONB

Taking the Lead shortlisted for major business psychology award 
The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) has been shortlisted for the 2020 ABP Workforce Experience Awards, in the ‘Excellence in Change Management’ category, for its ‘Taking the Lead’ programme. Every year the Association for Business Psychology celebrates excellence in applying psychology in business, to enable the exchange of experiences and best practice.
The ABP Workforce Experience Awards are a well-respected distinction and the NAAONB is absolutely delighted to be amongst the shortlisted entries. Award winners will be announced at the award ceremony on 14 October 2020, during the 20th Annual ABP Conference.
‘Taking the Lead’ was a professional and personal development programme for a cohort of 37 AONB staff across England and Wales. Running from October 2018 to December 2019, this programme was part of an effort to increase collaboration across the network of AONBs. The key principle was to enable a culture shift towards more collaboration, by encouraging a change in individual behaviours. This was achieved through a blend of psychometric profiling and coaching, as well as the forming of Topic Working Groups, to put learning into practice.

The NAAONB would like to thank its partners in this project, for making it happen: Lumina Learning, for providing the psychometric profiling model and ongoing support on how to make the most of it; Odyssey Learning and Development, for delivering the coaching and training programme and accompanying each participant on this journey; and Resources for Change, for conducting the project evaluation and helping us assess failures and successes.
You can visit our dedicated webpage for more information.

North Pennines AONB secures £5.7m to lead farmer-focused nature recovery project
Congratulations to the North Pennines AONB Partnership on securing a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £5.7million for their ambitious and innovative Tees-Swale: naturally connected programme which they will be leading and delivering in collaboration with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.   
Tees-Swale will be the country’s leading example of farmer-focused nature recovery and will centre on two nationally treasured upland landscapes: Upper Teesdale in the North Pennines AONB; and Upper Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The ambitious programme covers an area of 829 km2, creating a significant nature recovery area in the northern uplands and through mitigating climate change, improving wellbeing and boosting biodiversity will aid the post-Covid19 green recovery of the UK – a proposition that has seen strong support from the British public.
Over its five-year lifespan, Tees-Swale will put farmers and landowners at the heart of nature recovery. The project team has been working closely with farmers in preparation, with over 60 farmers and landowners already committed to carrying out work to benefit people and wildlife in the first two years of the scheme. The partners aim to work with all 300 farmers in the area over the life of the programme. 
Chair of the Tees-Swale board is Professor Sir John Lawton: “It was a huge privilege to be asked to chair the Board of ‘Tees-Swale: naturally connected’ and to help steer the project during our successful bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The area is a stunning cultural landscape, moulded by human activities for millennia; it is also one of the most biodiverse parts of the English uplands, partly as a result of some of the nature-friendly farming practices that take place there. The programme allows us to build on those practices and put farming at the heart of nature recovery. From a personal perspective the programme allows me to be part of putting into practice the central principles of the Making Space for Nature report which I led ten years ago: nature recovery needs ‘more, bigger, better managed and joined up’ habitats.”

Environmental Land Management Scheme
As promised we are launching the first tranche of website content on ELM Tests and Trials. The initial information focuses on what the AONB T&T is all about, and why it’s critical to the rollout of ELM. If you’d like more information on what the participating AONBs are doing and why, take a look at the website.
Information will be added as the Tests & Trials progress, summarising results and giving recommendations for the pilot phase and beyond. The website has been designed so new content can be added throughout the project; if your AONB is taking part please remember to send Anna Trant information on anything that inspires you during your trial so we can include it.
Feel free to share the link with anyone who would like more information. The introduction is intended for anyone who would like to know more about ELM, and the sub-sections go into more detail. We hope it will be a useful resource for the AONB family.

12 AONBs are working together to run the only collaborative T&T out of a total of 44 projects managed by Defra, and it is the only one that is taking place across multiple areas of England.

Cotswolds Ourboretum project
A grassroots project will see Gloucestershire people growing new trees to replace the hundreds of thousands being wiped out by ash dieback.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire and Cotswolds AONB will lead an army of volunteers to grow at least 2,020 saplings at home over the coming year in a scheme dubbed ‘Ourboretum’.

According to the Woodland Trust, 95% of British ash trees will vanish over the coming years because of ash dieback, an incurable disease. Gloucestershire is home to hundreds of thousands of ash trees – it is the third most common tree in the county – and experts fear the loss could have a disastrous effect on the landscape and wildlife.
Ourboretum will begin replacing the lost ash trees with oak, beech and hazel.

Garden designer and broadcaster Chris Beardshaw, an Ourboretum ambassador, said: “Ourboretum is such a fabulous idea. It’s beautifully simple; we go and collect seeds and we create a new generation of trees and woodlands in our own communities for our children and their children to enjoy.

How to get involved:

  • Volunteers will be asked to collect seeds, during autumn, using the guidance online
  • Visit to find more information and tips for growing seeds at home
  • These home-grown saplings will then be planted across Gloucestershire next year. BBC Radio Gloucestershire and the AONB will identify locations where the fledgling trees can be planted and aim to log each one to create a permanent record of where they are growing

To find out more contact or go to

Happy Anniversary Tamar Valley! 
The Tamar Valley AONB will be turning 25, celebrating its silver anniversary on 31 August. 

As part of their celebrations, Bere Brewery, in Bere Alston, has created a very moreish light & hoppy blonde ale, made with 100% Tamar Valley hops, named Ale of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Monarch Liqueurs, home of the Tamar Tipple, near Launceston, have blended a refreshing blackberry & elderflower gin liqueur. 

Congratulations Tamar Valley AONB. Cheers!

Welcome to Chilterns AONB's new planner, Matt Thompson. Matt joins the Chilterns team from the CPRE where he was Head of Land Use and Planning. Welcome to the family Matt!
Milestone studies published by Cannock Chase AONB
Cannock Chase has just published two major planning guides, as announced in its latest Annual Review 2019-20.
High quality, landscape-led design
The Design Guide aims to promote good practice and encourage any future development to be landscape-led and sympathetic to existing character, so it does not detract from the natural beauty of the AONB.  The Guide has been produced to assist anyone proposing new development in the AONB as well as local authority officers making decisions on planning applications and preparing local plans and other community planning guidance that has the potential to affect Cannock Chase AONB.
Understanding and protecting the view
A complementary Views and Setting guide has also been produced.  The AONB Management Plan recognises that wide-ranging uninterrupted views from the AONB are one of the AONB’s special qualities.  Views towards the distinctive profile of Cannock Chase are also an important attribute within the surrounding area.  The Guide sets out principles which should be considered by those involved in planning and new developments so that they don't detract from people's enjoyment of views from or towards the AONB.
Both documents can be downloaded from the publications section on the Cannock Chase website.
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