Many people, businesses, communities, and local groups have great ideas for projects to care for the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and make it a better place to live, work and visit. The Chilterns Conservation Board can help turn those ideas into reality through grants available from its easy-to-access Special Projects Scheme.
What kind of projects can be supported?
Projects that make a difference to the Chilterns and for those who live, work in and visit the AONB. Projects must clearly meet the following priorities:
Projects within one of these themes are particularly encouraged:
You don’t have to live or work within the Chilterns AONB to apply, but you must demonstrate that your project will benefit the area.
Download and read the full Guidelines and Terms and Conditions below, and then complete and return the Application form.
It is best to discuss your application with Neil Jackson (details below) before sending in the application form.
The following are example of projects which have been supported by a grant from the Chilterns Conservation Board in the past. They are good examples of the range of work and types of organisations that the Board likes to support.
Finding places to buy locally-produced food in the High Wycombe area is now much easier thanks to the production of a local food directory. The community group Transition Town High Wycombe researched the area within a 10 mile radius of the town centre and compiled a list of the farmers, growers, retailers and caterers who produce or source food locally. The result is a listing of over 100 sources of local produce, from farm shops and farmers’ markets to vineyards, local retailers, pubs and at the farm gate. Transition Town High Wycombe produced a booklet called Food on Our Doorstep containing full details of all these sources. They also established a website www.food-on-our-doorstep.org.uk for those who want to access the information online.
In 2007 Chiltern Archaeology began a one year project using local volunteers to investigate the Roman archaeology of the Hambleden Valley near Henley-on-Thames. The fieldwork focussed on two Roman villa sites. Yewden Villa was originally excavated in 1912 and much of the work involved reassessing the artefacts found and the original interpretation of its structure. Amongst the finds were the bones of 97 infants, and research produced the shocking discovery that they all died around the time of birth, suggesting they were the victims of infanticide. In addition to this gruesome revelation the project also catalogued and dated thousands of pieces of pottery and determined the precise size and shape of a Roman villa at Mill End next to the Thames. Chiltern Archaeology completed the research, produced a publication detailing the extensive discoveries of the project and gave talks and workshops.
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust manage Wilstone Reservoir near Tring, which is surrounded by one of Hertfordshire’s largest reedbeds. Reedbeds are highly important to birds as places to shelter, feed and breed but they need regular management to make them suitable for a wide range of species. HMWT was keen to make the reedbeds at Wilstone and the neighbouring Marsworth Reservoirs more attractive to nationally-rare birds including bitterns and corn buntings, and obtained a grant from the SDF to carry out a variety of works. Channels in the reedbeds were opened up and a number of new beds planted. The work is paying off as four bitterns were recorded at Marsworth Reservoir on 6th February 2011, a record for the site. In addition an otter has been seen in one of the new channels and the wetter reedbed has attracted a roost of over 100 corn buntings.
Studham Common next to Studham village near Dunstable covers 68 acres and contains a mosaic of open grassland, scrub thickets, ancient hedgerows and woodland. It has great value for wildlife and is one of only two sites in Bedfordshire where the common dormouse is found. Like all commons, Studham needs regular management to keep it in good shape for wildlife and for people wanting to enjoy its green tranquillity. The Friends of Studham Common is a very active local group which has been carrying out monthly work parties since 1997. A grant from the SDF helped to fund equipment needed by the group.
Trailblaze is a new kind of endurance challenge, in which trail runners attempt to complete as much as possible of one of the UK’s National Trails in one go. The runner inserts a timing tag into small battery powered checkpoints installed along the Trail to record their progress and the results go into an online leaderboard to provide proof of their achievement and a challenge to others. Endurancelife Ltd, the company behind the Trailblaze concept, received a grant from the SDF to help fund the installation of checkpoints along The Ridgeway National Trail.
The Trailblaze challenge is not a race, but something that can be completed by individuals at any time because of the permanently-installed checkpoints. 20% of entry fee income will be given to Natural England for the upkeep of The Ridgeway.
“The concept is not just about offering an endurance challenge but to give participants the chance to enjoy stunning countryside, explore places they haven’t visited and to provide some resources to help look after our National Trails,” said Bob Maycock of Endurancelife Ltd.