Working across boundaries

We work to bring people together across boundaries – whether natural rivers or human-made councils – to manage and protect the landscape.

The world is full of ‘boundaries’. Some are natural, such as the course of a river or the deep cut of a valley. Others we have created ourselves, such as country and county lines, or council divisions. Whether you are planning a holiday or working out which council takes your bins each week, you will no doubt be faced by the myriad divisions in our landscape.

These divisions can both challenge us and provide us with great opportunities – individuals and organisations alike. The Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) works with the communities our different boundaries present, as well as across such boundaries, to bring people together to help enhance and protect the AONB.

The AONB boundary

The Chilterns AONB has a specific boundary on the map. This is the area that is designated under the two Acts of Parliament that protect special landscapes. It helps people to understand which places need careful consideration with regards to planning, development or land-use change. It is, however, a living and breathing boundary. Wildlife does not recognise it and change outside it can have an effect within it. So, the CCB work both within it and throughout the surrounding area to ensure that their efforts engage with the much wider community surrounding the boundary.

  • The Chilterns AONB boundary is currently under review as part of the Natural England designations programme. Find out more about the project on our Boundary Review page.
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Mend the Gap – a cross-boundary initiative

The boundary of the Chilterns AONB does not stop us working with partners outside the area to enhance both the protected zone and the area beyond. Our Mend the Gap programme, for example, works across the Chilterns and the North Wessex Downs AONBs to enhance areas that have been negatively impacted by the electrification of the Great Western Railway.

Towns, villages and urban boundaries

The AONB boundary does not currently include major urban conurbations, although places like Luton, High Wycombe, Slough and Hemel Hempstead are just on the doorstep, and the Chilterns has a direct underground link to London. Within the AONB itself, there are many smaller settlements that create their own boundaries. These include both bustling market towns and quaint, sleepy villages, all of which offer a wide range of opportunities for sustainable tourism and business, and add to the distinctive character of the AONB. We work within these towns and villages to gather support among communities for our projects and to promote the enjoyment of these characterful places and their surrounding countryside.

Chalk, Cherries and Chairs

Chalk, Cherries and Chairs is an ambitious five-year scheme that aims to connect local people to the wildlife and cultural heritage of the Central Chilterns. It crosses boundaries and encourages participation from towns, villages and people on the doorstep of the AONB, as well as those living within it. No fewer than eighteen interweaving projects share common threads, including volunteering, learning and digital media. The scheme also provides small grants to encourage community initiatives.

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Administrative boundaries

The UK is split into many human divisions, from wide countries to local parishes. These geographical areas provide ‘units’ of local government, helping national governments to filter responsibilities and policy to local communities, where actions happen on the ground. Because these administrative boundaries cross a wide range of scales, there are several within the Chilterns AONB. These include counties, districts and parishes, which all provide local governance and administration services.

The counties in the Chilterns AONB are: Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.

The local authorities in the Chilterns AONB are:

Each of these councils appoints a member to the CCB and makes a financial contribution to the Board. As Board members, they participate in the formation of the CCB’s strategies and policies, and have responsibility for the actions of the CCB.

There are 118 parish councils in the Chilterns AONB:

  • 10 in Bedfordshire
  • 50 in Buckinghamshire
  • 20 in Hertfordshire
  • 38 in Oxfordshire

The parish councils elect a representative for their county to the CCB. There are currently six representatives in total: two for Oxon and Bucks, and one each for Beds and Herts. As with the local authority members, they contribute to the formation of the CCB’s strategies and policies, and have responsibility for the actions of the CCB.

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Rough Around the Edges

With our Rough Around the Edges project, we are supporting community groups that need advice, training and resources to create, restore and improve habitat for wildlife in small, local spaces, such as community gardens, churchyards, allotments, ponds and meadows. We help with planning projects, recruiting and training volunteers, and buying materials and equipment. A small amount of funding is available to support the projects depending on the needs of each group.

Rough Around the Edges is part of the Chalk, Cherries & Chairs scheme. It is one of six wildlife-themed projects and is being delivered by the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).

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Outstanding Chilterns Magazine

Jam-packed with news and updates from the Chilterns National Landscape, now available to read online or find out where to get a printed copy.