History and heritage
Thousands of years of human activity have influenced the Chilterns, leaving behind a legacy of archaeological sites, buildings and routeways.
The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a landscape that has seen many millennia of change and settlement, from the first humans that arrived in Britain to the growth of modern towns. Its wealth of grasslands, woodlands, chalk stream valleys and fertile soils have drawn human life and activity. This long history of heritage and culture is integral to the identity of the region. The Chilterns AONB is one of the richest archaeological and historic landscapes in the country. This abundance of evidence for our human story in one special place deserves not only recognition and understanding, but also protection and support.
The AONB – and the landscape it represents – is overseen by the Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB). We understand that the region is a living, breathing landscape, where people and nature are inextricably tied together. As such, our core work and flagship projects focus on the relationships and links between the landscape and human life. Whether we are looking to discover new Iron Age hillforts, or capturing the stories of those that worked in traditional industries, we consider how the topics, challenges and opportunities of each theme that we champion affect the special qualities of this wonderful landscape as whole.
We work to look after our heritage and culture now and for future generations.
From Neanderthal hunters to Iron Age chieftains, tens of thousands of years of human life have shaped the Chilterns landscape.
Prehistoric settlements came and went, but the Romans bought changes that reflected a new permanence to human ways of life.
Industries of all types have thrived for years along the riverbanks, in the woodlands, and on hills of the Chilterns.
Living in the landscape
For thousands of years, people have lived in and changed the landscape, but it has also changed and inspired them.
Discover the timeline of the Chilterns
There has been a rich and varied geology and history in the Chilterns – from the Cretaceous Period, when shallow seas laid down the distinctive chalk of the area, right up to today’s working landscape.
The Heart of the Chilterns: Volunteers #6, Susan Holmes, Woodlanders Lives Researcher
Hazel spent a year learning butterfly, bird and plants identification and survey methodology with the 'Tracking the Impact' project.
Historic England and AONBs sign joint statement to conserve and celebrate iconic historic environment
England’s AONBs and Historic England have signed a joint statement outlining their ambition and intent to work together to conserve and enhance the historic and cultural environment of England’s 34 AONBs.
Celebrating the Chilterns in literature – a new collection of ten tales
The Chilterns will soon have its own collection of stories celebrating the diverse cultural and natural heritage of the AONB.