Chiltern Society Christmas Letter

Dear Volunteers, Members and Friends,

It’s been such an exciting year, with so many things to celebrate, and ever more to contemplate going forward. This year we significantly passed our target of hosting over 900 volunteer roles, the backbone of our society, delivering the work of more than 50 individual volunteer groups. With the core of our funding still coming from members present and past (legacies) holding well despite the tough economic times.

We are all very proud, but not complacent, to see ever increasing impact across our four delivery work streams.

  1. Rights of Way
  2. Nature Conservation
  3. Planning and Environment
  4. Heritage and Culture

The highlights of the year are too many to list, but I’m sure many of you will have seen some of them in our fantastic members magazine, and through our regular eNews mailouts. Working closely with our friends at the Chilterns Conservation Board’s, Chiltern Chalk Stream Project has been one of our biggest project successes, not just for chalk streams but for landscape scale conservation. In 2023 we expect the impact (and spend) on our project work to pass that of our core operational work for the first time in many years.

Over the last few months it’s been great to see the start of the long awaited Misbourne Greenway, working alongside our friends at Sustrans and Buckinghamshire Council, the first 4km stretch should be open just south of Wendover in late Spring.

The Chilterns Heritage Festival has now become a permanent feature, and plans for 2023 are already progressing well. A spectacular we all look forward to, particularly on short and cold winter days.

Through key partnerships with organisations we are pleased our work is reaching new audiences. We very proud to be working alongside great organisations like Restore Hope Latimer, Lindengate and Road Farm Countryways, who work tirelessly to help those less fortunate than many of us.

We continue to encourage (sometimes loudly) Government locally and nationally to protect our landscapes, biodiversity and communities. We hear positive things as regards the progress of the Glover Landscape Review (National Parks, AONBs and National Trails). With encouraging words from DEFRA and the Chilterns Conservation Board on increasing the size of the Chilterns AONB and the protection that our two National Trails will receive. We hope the support to our farmers through the developing Environmental Land Management Schemes also deliver on the Governments promises. At the same time, the ongoing fight to get Government and Developers across the region to protect biodiversity, and the landscape, continues.

Significantly, and in line with our strategy to be led by volunteers, we now have a trustee-led team focussed on volunteers support and development. At the same time we have reallocated more core staff towards this area. Tracey who has been our Office Manager for sometime is now our dedicated Volunteer Co-ordinator and will be working closely with Mona, our trustee volunteer lead on this work.

We would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to all our volunteers, members, and friends for your continued and valued support and wish you all a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Hopefully we see you soon!

Tom (Chief Officer) and Simon (Chair)