Cranborne Chase National Landscape Annual Forum 2024

23rd April 2024

On Tuesday 16th April, the Cranborne Chase National Landscape team welcomed attendees, including volunteers, parish councillors, partner organisations and fellow National Landscapes, to our Annual Forum in Dinton Village Hall. The first in-person Forum on the Landscape since 2019, the day was buzzing with conversations and ideas.

The audience was treated to a range of talks from the team and guest speakers. To everyone’s surprise, the audience was transported back to the year 1080 when a special guest appearance was made by Queen Matilda, the first Norman Queen and owner of Cranborne Chase. Matilda was the wife of William the Conqueror, and had her own coronation as queen of England, however relatively little is known about this remarkable woman who was the first queen of England to have a distinct coronation ceremony in her own right. Storyteller Lizzie Bryant brought Queen Matilda back to life, treating the audience to tales from Cranborne Chase’s past.

The Cranborne Chase National Landscape team provided updates on areas of activity including planning, branding, communications and dark skies. Director of the National Landscape Linda Nunn introduced the Management Plan, a document which contains aims and objectives for the conservation and enhancement of the National Landscape, which is currently under review. Ideas  were invited from the room in a break-out session. More news about consultation for the Management Plan will be coming soon…

We welcomed guest speaker Rosie Buck of Tisbury Parish Council, who outlined the fantastic work of the Environment Committee in the parish which includes the improvement of biodiversity through green spaces and community gardens. To find out more, download the slides from Rosie’s talk.

A seated group looking at a screen

Charles Routh joined us from Natural England to discuss Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) and outlined the work taking place to support Government targets and the progress taking place in Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire. While Linda Nunn discussed the Nature Recovery Plan on the National Landscape, inviting consultation. Download the slides from the event for more detail.

Dr Sean Beer, shared the scope of his recent survey of Parish Churches on Cranborne Chase, commissioned by the National Landscape. With 99 churches being identified in the area, Sean spoke of the historic, architectural, spiritual and personal significance of these listed buildings. More will be shared from Dr Sean Beer’s fascinating work soon…

In the afternoon, the successes of the Chase & Chalke Landscape Partnership were celebrated, with the National Lottery Heritage funded scheme coming to an end later in the year. Rebecca Bennett of Pushing the Sensors joined as guest speaker, providing a fascinating talk on the ‘Champions of the Past’ Chase & Chalke project, which uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to survey the land. As part of the project, volunteers have received specialist training in how to recognise and interpret archaeological features on LiDAR images to help us digitally record unmapped archaeology on the landscape. See Rebecca’s full presentation here.

Thank you to our guest speakers and attendees for a fantastic day full of lively conversation.

Download the slides from the Annual Forum

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