Dear Volunteers, Members, Supporters and Friends,
We’ve had a great year, and we hope to do even more in 2024.
This would not have been possible without the ongoing support of our members, supporters, partners and amazing volunteers, we greatly appreciate it. As the year comes to a close, we are fast approaching our target of hosting over 1,000 volunteer roles, the backbone of our society, delivering the work of more than 50 individual volunteer groups.
As with the last year, in 2024 along with our many partners we have plans to increase our impact across our four delivery work streams:
Some of the highlights include
Smarter Water Catchment
With our partners we’re very proud to have been part of this groundbreaking project, and hopeful we will now see its expansion over the next 2 to 3 years across further Chiltern Chalk Streams.
We were awarded a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our WildBelt Project supporting and facilitating volunteers in taking practical and positive action to improve Nature Recovery.
Our first new reserve for a number of years is now formally part of our routine operations, we’ve all enjoyed learning more about managing ponds and commons as part of this project.
Expansion of Penn Jubilee Woods
With the gift of a further 10 acres, we’re delighted the team has managed to secure funding to further develop this site, and hopefully in 2024 we’ll see cattle grazing here, something we’ve struggled to do since taking on the site because of the previous lack of facilities.
Much delayed, however early next year we will see the opening of the Misbourne Greenway, working alongside our friends at Sustrans and Buckinghamshire Council, a 4km stretch just south of Wendover.
We continue to encourage (sometimes loudly) Government locally and nationally to protect our landscapes, biodiversity, and communities.
- HS2 – the saga continues, with our dedicated and expert HS2 campaign group continuing to hold all those involved to account, we haven’t completely given up the hope of it being cancelled altogether, particularly as the reduced scheme seems to make even less sense than before.
- Natural England and the Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) continue their consultations on the extension of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AoNB), we hope to be able to share more updates as 2024 progresses.
- Following the much talked about Glover Review, the Chilterns becoming a National Park seems a past thought, but rumours are still abound, however rebranding the AoNB as the “Chilterns National Landscape” is progressing. The aim of becoming more relevant to a wider audience, including urban residents, people from deprived backgrounds, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, those with disabilities, neuro diverse people, those with learning disabilities and LGBTQIA+ people.
- Given our unique position along with our local partners we continue to punch well above our weight on Chalk Streams, up to senior levels in Westminster. Obviously, we use these opportunities to push our wider agenda also.
Has been removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Thanks to support from National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England. Led by Project Manager Dr. Wendy Morrison and with help from our volunteers, successful restoration and maintenance work has taken place to reduce tree and scrub growth damage.
Repairs to Lacey Green Windmill
In November our volunteers with the aid of contractors removed the sails ahead of planned renovation works, a much bigger task than we had expected. It’s great to see them working closely with Sam our fundraiser to progress this further.
Through key partnerships with organisations, we are pleased our work is reaching new audiences. We are very proud to be working alongside great organisations like Restore Hope Latimer, Lindengate, Road Farm Countryways, and the Oasis Partnership who work tirelessly to help those less fortunate than many of us.
Over the Christmas break we’ll be pondering questions our trustees have asked:
Being volunteer led, how do we embed that even further?
How can we gain even more community engagement, particularly at a local parish level, and with local community groups?
Can we expand our audience to those we don’t actively engage with presently?
Increasing our impact across the landscape by connecting more people to nature.
Again, we would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to all our volunteers, members, supporters, staff and friends for your continued and valued support and we wish you all a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Hopefully we will see you soon!
Tom (Chief Officer) and Simon (Chair).
We are currently looking for additional Trustees.
Is this something that would interest you?
If so, email Simon Kearey, Chair at email@example.com