The Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a landscape of national significance.
The primary purpose of AONB designation is the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty.
Natural beauty is not just the visual appearance of the countryside, but includes flora, fauna, geological and physiographical features, manmade, historic and cultural associations and our sensory perceptions of them. These factors in combination give each locality its own sense of place, contributing immensely to the quality of life.
The AONB designation embraces a collection of fine landscapes, each with its different landforms, soils and wildlife habitats.Whilst the chalk downland is a dominant feature, the escarpments, valleys, greensand terraces and clay vales reflect the geomorphology and impact of the underlying geology.
Sometimes the changes between these landscapes are slow and gentle; in other cases such as above and below escarpments, they are quite swift and obvious. Views across and along these landscapes can be wide and expansive whilst in the valleys they are more focussed and channelled.
Unspoilt and panoramic views are characteristic of this AONB.
Ruined Norman Church – Knowlton Church near Wimborne
“It is special to me because it is deserted, very eerie and several layers of history on view with the church and the underlying henge. This combines with an ‘unspoilt’ landscape to create a special feel. The yew trees and peoples offerings also add to the sense that people care”
Ancient Woodlands – On steep sided hills particularly around Sixpenny Handley
“It puts humans and their activities into perspective, it is something we could never create but have potential to destroy if we don’t take care of the area in the most sensitive way”
Chalk Downs – Martin Down and Bokerley Dyke
“It is special to me because it is the only place where you can walk, totally surrounded by chalk grassland and downland evoking what the landscape may have been like in the past when flocks of sheep were the key source of wealth and the downland landscapes supporting those sheep were extensive. Bokerley Dyke and other archaeological features provide a link to an even more distant past”
Drove Ways – Junction of Ox Drove with track from Alvediston
“It is special to me because I can think of all the drovers who passed by taking flocks between Salisbury and Shaftesbury, stopping at the Old Inn just to the west of this point. Also the views are spectacular right over to the Isle of Wight where I was brought up, across Cranborne Chase, north over the Ebble Valley and a little further down the track you can see the spire of Salisbury Cathedral”
Castle – Old Wardour Castle
Is a medieval castle that was badly damaged in the Civil War. It has a very beautiful position near a lake, flanked by wooded hills. It is important to me as you can clamber over the ruins
Hill Fort – Badbury Rings, north west of Wimborne
“It is special to me because there are stunning earthworks, fantastic views and lovely walks”