Wednesday 16 December 2015
Wednesday 16th December 2015 is a very special day for the Chilterns: it is 50 years to the day that our local countryside became nationally-protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The AONB designation is given to some of the finest landscapes in the UK, and marks the Chiltern Hills out as a priceless national asset.
To celebrate this landmark anniversary the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher and Lord Carrington, Bucks resident and former Foreign Secretary, planted a tree each in a new grove in Angling Spring Wood at Great Missenden. Other invited guests including the Chief Executive of Chiltern District Council, the Leader of Bucks County Council and local conservation volunteers planted another 48 young trees, making a total of 50 trees planted to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said: “We must preserve the Chilterns for generations to come. It is so well-loved by millions, and there are many who look after it, such as organisations like the Chilterns Conservation Board and also farmers and landowners. We must ensure it continues to be enjoyed and protected for our grandchildren and beyond.”
Lord Carrington spoke of his appreciation of the Chilterns: “How lucky we are that the Chilterns is protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We must keep it beautiful!”
Angling Spring Wood is owned by Chiltern District Council and is very popular with local walkers. It is also well-known as a source of inspiration for famous author Roald Dahl, who lived in Great Missenden for 30 years and often walked through the wood, which is just up the lane from his home.
During the last 50 years the Chilterns AONB has become one of the best-loved landscapes in the country, receiving 55 million leisure visits a year which generate £500 million for the local economy. Its beauty and tranquillity are incredibly important assets, providing not just a draw to visitors and businesses but also health and well-being to local communities. In 2004 the Chilterns Conservation Board was established by Parliament to conserve the Chilterns and promote its special character.
There are 33 AONBs in England. They belong to the same family as National Parks and represent the most beautiful and best-loved countryside in England.