Shropshire Hills AONB Summer Forum & Tour

National Landscapes – building on success 

Speakers, informal networking, optional field visits 

  • Opportunity to talk with people supporting the Shropshire Hills in a variety of ways  
  • Find out what others are doing to look after the AONB 
  • Working together on the challenges facing us – climate change, nature recovery, farming transition, people’s enjoyment and wellbeing, sustainable economies 

Timetable for the day:

9:30  Arrival, tea & coffee 

9:50  Welcome and introduction, challenges and opportunities - Alex Carson Taylor, Chair of Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership 

10:00  The big picture - overview of the AONB team, Partnership and AONB Trust.  Future directions for protected landscapes and the bodies which support them.  Phil Holden, Manager of Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership 

10:15 – 11:45  Informal ‘market place’ networking with displays and opportunities to talk with AONB team members working on: 

  • Farming in Protected Landscapes programme and farmer engagement 
  • Young Rangers project and work with schools  
  • Nature recovery including peatlands and woodlands 
  • Promotion, sustainable tourism and the Shropshire Hills Shuttles  
  • AONB Partnership members – organisations and individuals supporting and championing the AONB  
  • Trustees of the Shropshire Hills AONB Trust – fundraising, launching a new Business Supporters Scheme, giving grants through the Conservation Fund  
  • Partner activity including the Stepping Stones project, Restoring Shropshire’s Verges project and the Our Upland Commons project 

The event is open to invitees and other interested members of the public.

Booking is essential - the morning talks and market place, and afternoon field visit/talk options, need to be booked seperately – this is via Eventbrite, see links below. 

9:30 - 11:45 Intro talks and ‘market place’ networking

Click here to book your place.

12:00 – 2:30pm optional field visits (choice of 3) or talk:  

Transport to the field visits will be by minibus – please ask if you wish to travel in your own car as parking is limited. A simple packed lunch can be provided if requested when booking, or you can bring your own if you prefer. 

1. Farming in Protected Landscapes programme  

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Alison Jones from the AONB team and Richard Thomason from the Westhope Estate will lead a visit to Westhope on Wenlock Edge where a project has been improving existing woodlands and creating new woodland. The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is funded by Defra and enable the AONB Partnership to offer grants to farmers and land managers for projects delivering public benefits to climate, nature, people and place. It is running until March 2024 in all of the AONBs and National Parks in England.


2.  Nature recovery at a local level 

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Mike Kelly from the AONB team will lead a visit to the community owned Obley turbary, an area of remnant heathland where the community are exploring options for its future management. The turbary is representative of other fragmented upland sites in the AONB and will be an opportunity for a wider discussion on how we may deliver the nature recovery network principles of “bigger, better, more joined up” in the Shropshire Hills AONB and how we may also apply that to our developing work on peatlands and carbon.

3.  Shropshire Hills AONB Conservation Fund 

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Stephanie Hayes from the AONB team will lead a visit to Hopton Castle and Bushmoor to take a look at two community projects which have received support from the Shropshire Hills AONB Trust through the AONB Conservation Fund.  Find out how these small grants can act as seed funding for bigger projects and hear from the volunteers that have been involved in enhancing the castle grounds at Hopton and restoring the roadside verges at Bushmoor. 


4.  Non-field visit option – Sustainable Tourism  

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Nigel McDonald from the AONB team will lead a discussion on sustainable tourism activity (at the Community Centre), covering: 

  • Sustainable Tourism in the Shropshire Hills AONB
  • Shropshire Destination Management Plan and Destination Partnership
  • Shropshire Welcomes marketing campaign
  • National Association for AONBs Sustainable Tourism & Transport work


Event starts at 9:30am.