Promoting sustainable tourism and business

Promoting sustainable tourism and business

We promote sustainable tourism across one of the country’s most popular and pressured landscapes, benefitting local businesses and communities.

A popular and accessible landscape

The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is one of the most popular and accessible protected landscapes in the country because of its proximity to London and several large urban centres, which sit on its fringes. Its outstanding landscape and wealth of countryside attractions are the main reasons why people visit the area, bringing many benefits to the local economy.

This popularity brings both benefits and pressures to the landscape. Visitors benefit the local economy, support local businesses and initiatives – from cafés to craft workshops – and help care for our landscape through donations, volunteering and parking fees. But too many visitors can cause problems. Some of our best-loved countryside sites are fragile habitats and sensitive to high numbers of visitors, many of whom arrive by car. Residents and those working in the Chilterns also feel the effects of large numbers of people arriving in the area’s ‘hot spots’, particularly at peak times.

The Chilterns Conservation board (CCB) helps both residents and visitors to enjoy the Chilterns’ countryside, while respecting and protecting this precious landscape. One of the ways we do this, is by working closely with tourism organisations, businesses and communities to develop and promote sustainable tourism initiatives.

Sustainable tourism:

Has a low impact on the environment

Tourism initiatives of an appropriate scale and in the right locations, car-free visits, and experience-based activities that provide a deeper appreciation of the Chilterns.

Protects the natural beauty and wildlife of the area

Tourism initiatives that consider or reduce visitor impact to ensure that the AONB retains its natural beauty and special qualities.

Encourages an appreciation of the landscape

Tourism initiatives that help people to enjoy and understand the area, establish an appreciation of its qualities, and create a desire to protect the environment.

Gives back to the area

Tourism initiatives that reinvest in the economy and communities, and support the landscape.

Find out more about what the CCB is doing to combat climate change and manage the pressures on our AONB landscape.

Supporting sustainable tourism

We work closely with tourism organisations, businesses and communities to develop sustainable visitor initiatives. This includes promoting car-free exploration of the Chilterns, starting from market towns and other places that have good public transport links.

We have developed a series of Train to Trail routes, working with rail companies to promote days out by rail. We are also working with Chiltern Railways to promote the Chess Valley – and the newly revitalised Chess Valley Walk – as an accessible, car-free destination.

We are developing new and improved walking and cycling routes, and short-break itineraries.

We encourage responsible visiting with consideration for the landscape and other users by promoting the Countryside Code through our materials, activities and social media.

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Creating car-free activities and short breaks

The Chilterns has some outstanding walking and cycling trails, from the iconic Ridgeway National Trail to the 173-mile Chilterns Cycleway. They take in the best of the landscape and attractions along the way, from tucked away tea rooms to country houses. We have developed walking and cycling itineraries and short breaks along these routes to help you explore the Chilterns car-free and at a leisurely pace.

Encouraging new countryside experiences

We encourage a deeper level of engagement with the Chilterns by supporting the development and marketing of bookable countryside experiences from foraging and outdoor cooking to wildlife watching and costumed heritage tours.

Experience-based tourism is also a feature of our Chilterns Walking Festivals, with an extensive programme of small-group guided walks, tours and workshops giving participants a deeper level of understanding and connection to the Chilterns. The Festivals take place out of the main tourist season and the walks are spread throughout the Chilterns, encouraging exploration away from the busiest locations.

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Chilterns Food & Drink

There are many ways to enjoy local food and drink in the Chilterns through pubs and restaurants, farmers’ markets, farm shops, and foodie tours and experiences. We are encouraging visitors and residents alike to shop local and enjoy local produce, so that we don’t lose the independent shops which give our market towns and villages their character. We produce guides to showcase our local producers and foodie market towns, and organise Chilterns Food & Drink Festivals.

Simply find something you fancy, or find wider inspiration for your own business in our Food & drink section.

 

Supporting businesses and the local economy

We offer advice and support to managers or owners of tourism-based businesses in the Chilterns. If you share our vision for sustainable tourism, want to develop your business in an environmentally friendly way, or want to get involved in local initiatives and events, we can help.

We offer opportunities to get involved with local networks and business collaborations, such as the Chilterns Tourism Network. We can help put you in touch with like-minded people and organisations.

We can also help with marketing your destination, by promoting the Chilterns and its sense of place through the provision of images, logos and editorials – simply drop us a line to see what we can do for you.

  • We encourage businesses to promote the Chilterns and its sense of place in their destination marketing. We can provide images, logos and editorial on request.
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Join the Chilterns Tourism Network

The Chilterns Tourism Network provides support and connects businesses with each other to build a vibrant, sustainable and welcoming visitor economy. It is an inclusive and friendly group of local tourism and hospitality businesses. Through the Network, we encourage collaborative working and hold events to share best practice, learn from industry experts, promote businesses, take advantage of training and development opportunities, and get to know one another. Find out how to get involved.

Find support through our Open for Business programme

We can support your tourism business in developing and marketing visitor experiences through our Open for Business programme. This three-year funded project aims to maintain and build a vibrant visitor economy in the central Chilterns. It includes a series of festivals and events, communications and other initiatives to drive footfall to the area.

 

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Advice and contact

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Annette Weiss

Role: People & Society Officer
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Mary Tebje

Role: Chilterns Tourism Network Coordinator
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Bookable experiences

We have carefully chosen our most immersive and memorable Chilterns Countryside Experiences to share with you here. Choose from Active Countryside, Chilterns Food & Drink, Countryside Learning and Chilterns Sightseeing. All are bookable online.
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Plan your trip to the Chilterns!

Search the interactive map: select from a list of categories to bring up icons showing the location and information of walks, bike rides, places to visit, tasty local products and plenty more across the Chilterns area
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Featured walks

A selection of some of the best walks in the Chilterns, from short easy strolls to all day walks, and all through beautiful scenery. The best way to shake off the cobwebs, enjoy tranquil surroundings and burn a few calories!
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Visit the Chilterns

Quintessential English countryside, an impressive selection of pubs and restaurants, and historic market towns, the Chilterns AONB has it all.
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