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Frosts near Hamstead Marshall - Peter Orr
Frosts near Hamstead Marshall - Peter Orr

Find the publication you need here

All our publications are listed here. Simply find what you need and click the link.

Annual Review

Annual Review 2019-2020

Annual Review 2019-2020

Annual Review 2019-2020

This highlights our work during 2019-2020 to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the designated landscape for the benefit of those living, working or visiting in and around this special place.

AONB Management Plan

Management Plan 2019-2024

Management Plan 2019 front page


BeWILD Legacy Report


This report is an evaluation report of the BeWILD Project, an ancient woodland management project delivered across Berkshire from 2008-2011.

The Report pulls together the successes and achievements of the BeWILD Project, and aims to share the experiences and findings from the Project for the benefit of those involved in new and existing woodland management in Berkshire and beyond. It has been written in an accessible toolkit format with case studies, project summary tables, and Top Tips for woodland projects boxes. It contains guidance on woodland management for wildlife, timber production, marketing and woodfuel, as well as lots of links to woodland and woodfuel organisations and guidance material. The Report is designed to be dipped into and read at different levels depending on the reader’s interest and time.

Written and produced by Meg Chambers, Karen Davies and Mel Hardie.

BeWILD Legacy Report

Arable Biodiversity Strategy

This research develops a target area approach to landscape scale restoration of the arable habitat and associated species, whilst identifying management strategies to enhance and extend these biodiversity hotspots. It was initially published in 2008, and updated in February 2010.

Download the Arable Biodiversity Strategy

Chalk Grassland Strategy

A report published in 2005 to build a clear picture of the extent, status and condition of chalk grassland within the AONB and to set a clear strategy for its management. It continues to form the baseline for work conducted through the North Wessex Downs ‘Big Chalk’ project.

Chalk Grassland Strategy

Bumblebee Conservation Leaflet

Bumblebee Leaflet

The North Wessex Downs is home to one of just six populations of the shrill carder bee in England and Wales.

It is vital to retain and expand habitat in these areas to prevent the national extinction of this native bumblebee. Bumblebees need large areas of pollen and nectar rich flowers in order to forage and areas of long grass or hedgerows in which to nest. This leaflet, produced in partnership with Bumblebee Conservation outlines measures that can be taken through environmental stewardship to provide such habitat.

Bumblebee Conservation Leaflet


Veteran Trees Project

Veteran Trees can tell us tales of their lives, of when they were planted and what they provided for the people who lived near them. They can tell how the land was used and give clues to the age of the landscape features they stand on. To add to this, their scars and rugged barks provide homes and food supplies for a multitude of wildlife from fungi and invertebrates to birds and mammals.

These leaflets provide information of the veteran trees at Bucklebury and Ashampstead.

Woodland Archaeology Handbook

Woodlands play a vital contribution to the natural and cultural heritage of the NWD and include nationally important examples of wood pasture, historic parkland, ancient and semi-natural woodland as well as more recent plantations and shelter-belts. Perhaps surprisingly, very little is known about the archaeology within these woodlands. Because of the tree canopy, even large features are hidden from air photographic surveys, while a general lack of access also plays a part.

Woodland Archaeology is a relatively new area in archaeological research. Methods of fieldwork are still developing, and it is expected that this project will develop and change over time as a result of volunteer feedback.

Diversity in Stone Leaflet

In partnership with Oxfordshire Geology Trust and Berkshire Geoconservation Group, we have produced a leaflet to demonstrate the diversity building materials such as chalk, sarsen, flints and clay used over the centuries to create the built environment. The aim is to raise awareness of the need for geoconservation in terms of landscape and architecture. Why not download the leaflet and see if you can find any examples where you live?

Diversity in Stone Leaflet

Historic Landscape Characterisation

Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) is an archaeological method used to define and map the historic and archaeological dimension of the present day landscape. It forms part of a National Programme developed by English Heritage in the early nineties and is continually evolving with ongoing development and changes in methodology, technology and application.

The North Wessex Downs Historic Landscape Characterisation dataset was completed in 2006.

Historic Landscape Characterisation Dataset April 2012


Savernake Forest Factsheet

Savernake Forest


Find out more about this special forest with its unique history and many ancient trees.

Factsheet on Savernake Forest

Make Your Woodland Work for You 2017


This event for owners of under-managed woodland  was held in May 2017.  This report includes details of the proceedings plus links to more information. It is a useful document for any woodland owner who needs some advice on how to improve the management of their wood.

Download Report on Make Your Woodland Work for You Event 2017

Fyfield and West Overton Landscape Assessment

Geographically the parishes of Fyfield and West Overton are unique within the Marlborough Community Area: they contain four different landscape character areas - Kennet Valley, Marlborough Downs, Horton Downs and the Savernake Plateau.

A group of local people, mainly associated with the Fyfield & West Overton Parish Council, formed a "Landscape Group" with the objective of informing themselves, and subsequently the local community, about the unique features and heritage of the local landscape, and to record what they found.

The report was distributed locally as well as sold to benefit a range of local projects.

Download Fyfield and West Overton Landscape Assessment

Landscape Sensitivity to Wind Turbines

This study, which encompasses the entire AONB area, was approved by the North Wessex Downs AONB Council of Partners on 31st March 2006. It is used by local planning authorities in the AONB to help develop policies for their new local development frameworks (LDFs) and has been used as a material consideration in planning applications for the erection of wind turbines.

The study considers the sensitivities of each of the landscape types in the AONB to different forms and heights of wind turbines and identifies the key constraints to this form of development.

Download Landscape Sensitivity to Wind Turbines study

Local Geodiversity Action Plan

The geodiversity of the North Wessex Downs AONB underpins almost every aspect of the AONB’s character and dramatically influences the landscape which we see today. From the rolling hills of the chalk downland with their dry valleys to the characteristic chalk buildings and the puzzles of the sarsen stones. The influence of the North Wessex Downs geodiversity on the landscape has long been appreciated but the value of the geodiversity for recreation, land management and education has been overlooked. The Local Geodiversity Action Plan will help to promote the value of our geodiversity and the benefits that its conservation and promotion can bring to our appreciation and enjoyment of the beauty of the North Wessex Downs.

Download Geodiversity Action Plan

Chalk Links Factsheets

Much of the North Wessex Downs is underlain by Chalk. Chalk is a soft white limestone traversed by layers of flint. It consists of minute calcareous shells and shell fragments which are the remains of plankton which floated in clear, sub-tropical seas covering most of Britain during the Upper Cretaceous, between 95 and 65 million years ago.

Geology groups across the region have produced a series of fact sheets explaining how the underlying chalk affects other characteristic features of this unique area including landscape, soils, land use, industry, hydrology & archaeology. Please click below to download each factsheet.

Landscape Character Assessment

Landscape Character Assessment

The integrated Landscape Character Assessment establishes the identity of the AONB as a whole and provides a summary of the main influences on contemporary landscape character. These include physical, cultural, ecological, social and economic characteristics. It also includes a review of perceptions of the AONB.

This Technical Report presents the results of the range of studies that have investigated the physical, ecological, historical, social, economic and cultural, and recreational characteristics of the AONB.

Download chapters for the relevant landscape character areas below:

Position Statements

Dark Skies and Artificial Light


As well as being integral to the special qualities of the AONB, dark skies are important for the health of people, wildlife and heritage. The aim of this Position Statement is to avoid harm from light pollution to the North Wessex Downs AONB. The Position Statement is for policy makers regarding lighting, those preparing planning applications involving lighting, and those assessing lighting plans.

Dark Skies and Artificial Light Position Statement

Best practice for Equestrian Development and Land Management

Equestrian Development Image

The new  AONB Position Statement for Equestrian Development and Land Management outlines best practice within the protected landscape and grazing management practices which support the conservation of grassland habitats for wildlife.

Best practice for Equestrian Development and Land Management- Summary Document

The full position statement is available on request.

Position Statement on Housing, Setting and Renewable Energy

North Wessex Downs Position Statements are to inform local planning authorities, landowners, applicants and other interested parties of the AONB Unit’s position regarding development within, or likely to affect, the AONB or its setting. The documents are intended to guide policy makers, to assist in the preparation of planning applications and to assist in the decision making process. Position Statements are prepared in consultation with and approved by the North Wessex Downs AONB Management Working Group and the Council of Partners including all the constituent Local Authorities.

Current Position Statements:

Planning and Development

A Guide to Good External Lighting


Anyone considering external lighting in and around the North Wessex Downs AONB can use this guide to minimise light pollution and preserve beautiful dark skies. Part One is for anyone installing lighting. Part Two contains information for those setting the framework for development, such as neighbourhood planning groups and local authority policy and planning teams.

A Guide to Good External Lighting

Parish Wildlife Map Toolkit

The North Wessex Downs AONB Sustainable Development Fund has assisted the Hampshire Wildlife Trust in producing a parish wildlife map toolkit to help local people include biodiversity in their community-led planning process. A parish wildlife map is a graphical representation of some of the key habitats and species within a parish, town or village boundary, created by surveys and background information. The North Wessex Downs AONB is currently offering support to any communities in the area who wish to help pilot this toolkit.

Parish Wildlife Map Toolkit

Horses, the Landscape and You

Published in partnership with the South West Protected Landscapes Forum. Owners of horses have an important role to play in keeping the North Wessex Downs a beautiful place. In this publication you will find helpful guidance, sources of information and useful contacts to make sure your horse is well cared for and makes a positive contribution to our landscape.

Horses, the Landscape and You

Study of the key effects of the Horseracing Industry

Horseracing is very important to the AONB, which contains an internationally renowned horseracing centre, in and around Lambourn. The economic contribution of this centre has been examined before but its social, environmental and community effects are only partially known. This report presents a better understanding of these dimensions in order to assist suitable economic development and planning policies to be drafted.

Download Horseracing Industry Study

Urban Fringe Action Plan

The Urban Fringe Action Plan for southern Swindon published in 2006 tackles some of the pressures and opportunities presented by the close proximity of the North Wessex Downs to the large and growing town of Swindon. The action plan, which involved a wide range of people in its development, takes an integrated, cross boundary approach to tackling these issues. It identifies what needs to be done to realise the full potential of the urban fringe and to achieve a more sustainable and multi-functional future for the area.

Full version (with Maps & images)

Hard copies and CDs are also available from the AONB office.

Definitive mapping for the North Wessex Downs

To see the relationship between Districts, Boroughs, Unitary Authorities and Wards and Parishes, use this map.

(Date last updated: May 2019)

Boundaryline Map PDF

Boundaryline Map JPG

Resources for Local Businesses

Website Links & Icons

Like Us on Facebook

Linking to other relevant websites is a good way to promote the area to visitors by giving them multiple reasons to come, plus information on how to get there. Within the sections you will find some useful web links related to the content. These addresses can be added as links to your website or included on your printed material.

You can also link to our Facebook, Twitter and events pages:

Copy and text for your website or leaflet

Copy and Text

Selecting the text from the page to paste into your Microsoft Word or website template is very easy.

Option 1

You can copy and paste direct from the PDF. Simply highlight the text you want with your mouse, right click the mouse, click ‘copy’ from the menu that appears and then paste into your document. If you just paste the text into Word it will contain the formatting from the original document. To match your existing copy formatting simply select ‘Paste Special’ from menu bar and ‘Unformatted Text’. You may also need to add or delete carriage returns to suit your layout.

Option 2

You can download the text for each section as a Microsoft Word document below:



Many people who visit the area are not aware that they are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or how extensive the area is. Providing a map with points of interest is a very simple way to encourage visitors to stay longer and visit more attractions. The more business web sites and brochures that promote the area, the more business there will be for everybody. We are offering a choice of maps for you to use.

To download the full size versions, right click on JPEG or PDF and select 'Save Link As'.

Map 1 Map 2 Map 3


Logos and Images


The Logo is provided here in JPEG format, which is the most common to use. Other versions are available on request (PDF, PNG EPS, TIFF).

Visitor Charter

Visitor Charter

The visitor charter is a one page document which you can pop in your bedroom browser to remind visitors to think of the environment during their visit.

Visitor Charter

Tourism Business Toolkit

Visitor Toolkit

There are two versions of the toolkit - one aimed primarily at Visitors to the area, and the other specifically for businesses.

Visitor Toolkit

Business Toolkit

Walks Leaflets

Accessible by Train

Acessible by Train

Goring and Streatley station is the gateway to the Goring Gap, a natural corridor carved through the chalk some 12,000 years ago.

With its fully accessible facilities the station is the ideal starting point for visitors with limited mobility to sample the river and countryside of the Thames valley.

Download Printable Leaflet

North Wessex Downs Walks Leaflets

Enjoy a quick stroll, an afternoon hike or plan a longer trip for a day or a weekend. Before you set out you're recommended to wear appropriate outdoor clothing and boots, carry and use an Ordnance Survey map and observe the Countryside Code.  Also, during this current public health crisis please follow the Government's advice on accessing green spaces safely. All the walks outlined on this website have been created by organisations independent of the North Wessex Downs AONB.

Other Publications

The Countryside Code

  The Countryside Code has been updated this year and provides lots of advice for visitors to the countryside.

  The Countryside Code

Woodland Strategy

This report, published in 2005 outlines the extent and character of existing woodland within the AONB. It aims to assess the condition of the existing woodland resource, the nature and type of any management and the contribution that woodlands make to the cultural, biological and landscape character. Finally, the report identifes, at a strategic level, the needs and priorities for woodland management in the North Wessex Downs.

Woodland Strategy

North Wessex Downs Grazing Report

Calcareous grassland is a Biodiversity Action Plan habitat and a key habitat for the North Wessex Downs landscape. Traditionally grazed by sheep, cattle and rabbits these areas support a wide range of species including orchids, blue butterflies and skylarks. Today small isolated blocks of chalk grassland are mainly found on steep slopes and around archaeological sites. A number of these sites are losing their biodiversity due to a lack of appropriate management i.e. grazing animals. This report aims to highlight the importance of grazing these important grassland sites by helping match land with stock.

Download North Wessex Downs Grazing Report

Local Seed Harvesting Report

Environmental Stewardship encourages the use of native and local seed for chalk grassland creation and restoration and a supplement for using native seed mixes is available. This research explored the viability of seed collection sites within the three target areas of Horton Downs, Hampshire Downs and the Letcombe to Liddington escarpment.

Download Seed Harvesting Report

A Guide to Harvesting Woodfuel from Hedges

Traditionally, hedges provided a variety of wood products including firewood, but as labour became more expensive and wood was replaced by fossil fuels, the practice of managing hedges for firewood was lost. Following recent rises in oil and gas costs and concerns about climate change, there is a growing interest in reviving the economic value of hedgerows through managing them once again for woodfuel, mainly through coppicing.

This best practice guide, developed in partnership with the TWECOM project aims to demonstrate the benefits of managing hedges for woodfuel. It contains guidance regarding wildlife, techniques, machinery and legal aspects of management.

This project is supported by the North Wessex Downs Sustainable Development Fund.

A Guide to Harvesting Woodfuel from Hedges