Shropshire Hills AONB Newsletter

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Dear Subscriber

Picnic & Pop-up Choir, Saturday 21st September, all welcome...

21sr event

This is the first time that AONBs have come together for a national moment.  Heart shapes will be formed across the country and are being captured on film and video and shared with others. 

The heart shape has been chosen as it represents not only the love for these areas but also that AONBs and National Parks were originally thought of as the ‘Natural Health Service’. The legislation that allowed the creation of these
protected landscapes, the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act was agreed in 1949, the same year as the National Health Service. The two acts were seen as complimentary; preventing illness through recreation and then curing them if did get ill.

We hope you can join us on the 21st at Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton.  Be part of our pop-up choir or simply bring a picnic, wear bright clothing and help us to create a heart at the heart of the Shropshire Hills AONB. We look forward to seeing you.

Nature Recovery in AONBs

Nature is at the heart of natural beauty, and the AONB Family have made a pledge to redouble our efforts to help species, habitats and ecosystems to recover. With many Councils declaring environment and climate emergencies, the National Association for AONBs launched in July the Colchester Declaration. This says that nature has intrinsic value and huge value to people, that nature recovery needs to be given a higher priority alongside climate change, and that the network of AONBs, their teams, partnerships, authorities and stakeholders are a valuable tool for tackling environmental challenges. We will support more opportunities for people to connect with nature, prepare a Nature Recovery Plan for the AONB, embed an ecosystems services approach into our plans, work with our partners towards Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030, ensure favourable condition of more wildlife habitats and create new woodland.

Each AONB will also adopt a threatened species and take action aiming to secure its recovery by 2030. We welcome your views on what the adopted species for the Shropshire Hills AONB should be. Perhaps the Curlew or Wood White butterfly? Should it be something well-known, or highlight less obvious species we have? The White-clawed Crayfish, the Marsh Flapwort (a plant), or the rare species of Cranefly only found here? Whinchat, Dormouse, Black Poplar?? We will be putting out suggestions on social media and we welcome your ideas – your favourites, and how we should decide. Through this, we can all learn and appreciate more about the amazing wildlife of the Shropshire Hills and what it needs to thrive.

black poplar

Black Poplar

Can tourism help farmers help wildlife?

We want to find out.

We are working with the National Trust and farmers in the Long Mynd, Stiperstones and Stretton Hills area as part of the Stepping Stones Project. Part of this is funding a study into the links between farm tourism and conservation. We are interested in finding examples where farm businesses have diversified into tourism. We are especially interested to find out if this allows farms to be run less intensively or in other ways that benefit wildlife. Through the project we’d like to talk directly to farmers and estate managers about what they do, what they might plan to do, and what they’ve struggled to do. From this we hope to share good ideas, and understand the barriers so that support for farmers may be improved.

There are a couple of ways that you can share your views and experiences.

  • If you are a farm business in the Long Mynd, Stiperstones and Stretton Hills areas and are in tourism or planning to be please complete this 10 minute online questionnaire (
  • If you are a tourism business that sources food, drink, or other goods and services from local farms, please fill in this questionnaire
  • If questionnaires are not your thing and you’d prefer to talk to someone, please call the office 01743 254740 or contact our Sustainable Tourism Officer. He’ll be delighted to talk to you.

We will be holding an evening workshop later in the autumn, do let us know if you’d like to come.

phil king

c. Phil King

September Shuttles Passenger Survey

The Shropshire Hill Shuttles are very popular with many local residents and visitors. For many they offer a stress free, affordable and convenient way to get into the hills for a walk, or pub lunch. For others they are a vital service helping them get out and about, go shopping and meet friends. Each year it becomes more and more difficult to find the £30,000 funding needed to keep the buses running. Next year will be very challenging as reserves used for the last two years have been exhausted. Many passengers have generously donated to our Supporters Scheme and these donations have helped make up the funding shortfall. However, next year the gap between what we need and what we have is wider and we are working hard to fill the hole.


How you can help?
Please take the time to complete this short survey, so that we can show potential funders and local businesses the value of the service to local people and visitors. Your comments will also help us provide a better service and show the value of the service to existing funders.

If you are not keen on online surveys, ask for the paper survey on the bus. We’d love to hear from you.
Shuttles Supporter’s Scheme

We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has generously donated this year. We’ve raised over £400 which has helped keep the wheel on the bus going round and round. If you’d like to donate please click here

In search of the white-clawed crayfish


It's the UK’s only native crayfish, but in recent years, due to a declining habitat and the invasive American signal crayfish, our white-clawed crayfish is under threat.  We surveyed 26 sites in the Clun catchment last year (click on the link below to read the 2018 Report).  This summer, with funding from Natural England, we have continued to survey the catchment, focusing on the Redlake and Lower Clun.  Once again, we have mixed results.  We found crayfish at sites previously unrecorded, while places where we would expect to find them we draw a blank.  Crayfish are considered to be a ‘keystone species’ playing a critical role in maintaining the structure of freshwater ecosystems.  The data gathered from the surveys helps to inform conservation strategies, and to identify suitable ark sites for future re-introductions.

We would like to say thank you to all of the volunteers who have been involved with the surveys this summer.  You have made a lot of work much more manageable!  Results from this year's surveys will be published later in the autumn.

2018 Clun Crayfish Survey Report

Free and confidential advice for farmers

Working in partnership with Severn River's Trust, we are helping farmers in the Teme, Onny & Clun catchments to make their farms future fit.  Each catchment has a dedicated advisor who can visit the farm, offer advice, soil testing and develop water and soil management plans.  To arrange a visit, or for more information, please contact your area advisor:


(c) Crown copyright and database rights 2019. Ordnance survey 100049049.

Become a member on the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership

A national review of designated landscapes has recently praised AONB organisations for what they are achieving in partnership.  It is recommending to government that they be given additional influence and resources and must do more for nature recovery. Here in the Shropshire Hills, we are looking to raise our game to respond to the environment and climate emergency facing us – can you help?

The Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership is a ‘joint advisory committee’.  It has 36 members and meets three times a year, to guide implementation of the AONB Management Plan and to advise on major issues affecting the area. The Partnership also has a sub-committee to oversee the AONB Team’s work, and a number of area and topic groups. The emphasis is on collaboration, finding common ground and raising understanding.

Applications for membership are now invited from individuals, from organisations and from members of Parish and Town Councils coming into the AONB.  Applicants must show their interest in the AONB and willingness to participate constructively in its management. Membership is unpaid.

For further information and an application form, please contact 01743 254740 or email

The closing date for applications is Sunday 15th September 2019.

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Support the Shropshire Hills by becoming a Friend from as little as £3/month. Your subscription goes entirely into our AONB Conservation Fund which supports local projects to raise awareness and conserve the Shropshire Hills landscape, its diverse wildlife and rich heritage.