History and heritage

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.


Prehistoric Chilterns

From Neanderthal hunters to Iron Age chieftains, tens of thousands of years of human life have shaped the Chilterns landscape.

Historic Chilterns

Prehistoric settlements came and went, but the Romans brought changes that reflected a new permanence to human ways of life.

Industrial Chilterns

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 been living in the Chilterns, making changes to the landscape and in turn being changed and inspired by it.

Chilterns ANOB

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.

Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

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