Mr Tony Hams, Natural England Board member with special responsibility for Protected Areas (AONBs and National Parks), made a special visit to this AONB on 11th November. To date, Natural England has provided 75% of the funding for the AONB Partnership.
He wanted to specifically see and hear about work undertaken by the AONB Partnership in relation to landscape and planning issues and the South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project. After a very, very wet morning travelling across the West Wiltshire Downs, the sun shone through as the party approached Win Green and Cranborne Chase, giving him the stunning, far reaching views we’re all familiar with. The vital importance of farming, forestry and local community life was not lost on Mr Hams. He originates from Devizes and not only feels the downland as home, but understands how this deeply rural, agricultural landscape works.
In these austere economic times, Mr Hams discussed with AONB team members how best they might continue to ‘conserve and enhance’ the natural beauty of the AONB – the primary, statutory purpose of the designation. The AONB Partnership and Team were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss ongoing projects, future plans and the challenges that await the AONB, with Mr Hams in person.