Friday 27 November 2015
300 people packed the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham on Wednesday evening to hear the well-known nature writer Richard Mabey, born and bred in Berkhamsted, talk about his explorations of the Chilterns as a child and his love of ancient trees and woods. Richard was speaking at an event organised by the Chilterns Conservation Board to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Chilterns Hills being given national protection as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Richard spoke eloquently about how his love of landscape and wildlife was formed as he explored the commons and woodlands of the Hertfordshire Chilterns. He also described the joys and challenges of managing an ancient beechwood - Hardings Wood near Wigginton - which he owned for some years. He is one of the UK’s greatest nature writers and has published over 30 books, including the very popular Flora Britannica and Food for Free.
The Board’s new Chief Officer Sue Holden painted a picture of the milestones and achievements in keeping the Chilterns special for the last 50 years. She also set out the current issues facing the area and the ways in which everyone who loves this beautiful countryside can help to care for it (including sponsoring trees in a new grove).
324 square miles of the Chiltern Hills, stretching from the Thames Valley in Oxfordshire through Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1965. Being given this special protection is recognition that the Chilterns is amongst the finest countryside in the UK – one of 38 AONBs in England and Wales. The Chilterns Conservation Board is the public body established in 2004 to conserve and promote it.