News from the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership

AONB Header

Work begins to Fix the Fort

Cumbria visit to meet inspirational livestock farmers, James Rebanks and James Robinson

New project - Ancient woodland restoration in the Shropshire Hills 

Over £670,000 awarded to farming projects in the Shropshire Hills AONB

Exploring new ideas for the Long Mynd & Stiperstones Shuttle Bus

Climate action in the AONB goes hand in hand with nature recovery

Week in the Woods - Young Rangers

Commons stories from the Shropshire Hills

Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership Annual Review 2021-22 

Shropshire Hills Conservation Fund 2023-24 open for applications

Friends of the Shropshire Hills membership as a gift subscription


Work begins to Fix the Fort

With almost £4,000 donated by local people and visitors, and successful bids to HF Holidays and the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, our Fix the Fort campaign is now a reality. 

Work has begun on Caer Caradoc, near Church Stretton to repair the ramparts of the impressive Iron-Age hillfort that crowns the hill.  

It’s a popular walking destination and over time erosion has caused deep scars in the main rampart. The repair work will protect the archaeology from further damage and improve the accessibility with steps. 

We are working closely with the landowner, Shropshire Council and Historic England to ensure that all works are conducted with the least disturbance to the monument.  There’s a possibility that we’ll have materials left over from the main works. We will use this to fill and protect other damaged areas in the first half of 2023. We hope that this will be an opportunity for local volunteers and Young Rangers.

Thank you to all who have been involved in the project so far, helping to record and understand the exposed archaeology, joining guided walks and stewarding the area when the helicopter lifted materials onto the hill. 

There are more opportunities to get involved in the project, so please email to go onto the mailing list and look out for storytelling events in the spring to discover more about the hillfort, the landscape and its myths and legends. 

material in dumpy bags dropped by helicopter onto Caer Caradoc to repair the ramparts of the hillfort

Please note, the footpath over the hill will remain closed until work is complete. Please take alternative routes over the summit – this is possible as the area is open access land.

Cumbria visit to meet inspirational livestock farmers, James Rebanks and James Robinson

Through the Stepping Stones Project we are working with a group of farmers in the Upper Onny to explore ways of delivering environmental benefits through regenerative farming practices whilst maintaining a viable farming business.  

This autumn we went to Cumbria to meet two inspirational livestock farmers who are doing just that; James Rebanks, renowned Lake District hill farmer and author of the highly acclaimed ‘English Pastoral’, and James Robinson, organic dairy farmer and Vice Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.  

farm visit to meet inspirational livestock farmer James Rebanks

12 farmers from the Upper Onny Farmers Group joined the overnight trip.  We met James and James on their respective farms for a guided walk and discussion around their thinking, decisions and practices in grassland management, the benefits of farming with species rich grassland, wooded corridors, and their approach to soil and water management.  

The Upper Onny farmers were able to ask questions about opportunities and challenges of transitioning from ‘traditional’ to ‘regenerative’ farming, and the economics of faming this way and its sustainability. 

Both James Rebanks and James Robinson demonstrated the critical role of upland livestock for the future of farming and for delivering the government’s environmental ambitions.   

Following this thought-provoking trip, farmers in the Upper Onny have been inspired to implement what they saw on their own farms. We are helping them to apply for funding to support activities such as hedgerow restoration and creation, watercourse protection, woodland management and creation, species rich grassland and introducing cattle to sites. 

The visit was subsidised with a grant from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.  

Ancient woodland restoration in the Shropshire Hills 

Ancient woods are some of our most valuable habitats. Centuries of undisturbed soils and accumulated decaying wood have created the perfect place for communities of plants, fungi, insects and other micro-organisms. Birds and mammals, including vulnerable and threatened species, also rely on ancient woodlands.  

Around 5% of the Shropshire Hills AONB is classed as ancient woodland, but two thirds of this is Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS). These are ancient woodlands which have been largely felled and replanted with non-native species. Although damaged, these sites still have the complex soil of ancient woodland, and can be restored with careful management.   

PAWS woodlands in the Shropshire Hills often comprise mostly conifer trees which are now mature.  These may have value when extracted, while also restoring the woodland to a more natural state.  In partnership with the Woodland Trust, we have secured funding from the Forestry Commission to work with woodland owners to actively restore PAWS and ancient semi-natural woodlands in the AONB.  

The Ancient Woodland Restoration Project will identify priority and at-risk woodlands in the Shropshire Hills and engage with their owners, offering advice and condition assessments, fund practical management and support woodland products or timber marketing/sales.  

We are currently recruiting a full-time Woodland Officer to deliver this project. The closing date for applications is 2nd January 2023 – further details and how to apply here

If you own woodland in the Shropshire Hills, you can check whether it is classed as ancient or PAWS by looking on the Ancient Woodland Inventory.  For more information about the project or to register your interest in the project see The AONB's ancient woods are some of our most valuable natural assets. ( 

beech trees on the Wrekin

Over £670,000 awarded to farming projects in the Shropshire Hills AONB

Since the launch of the Farming in Protected Landscapes funding programme over a year ago, more than £670,000 has been awarded to 38 farming projects here in the Shropshire Hills. The funding, which has come from Defra, is open to farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sector) with land within the AONB, and is for one-off farming projects that can demonstrate benefits to climate, nature, people and place. Later this week, the Grant Awards Panel will meet to assess 10 new applications, with many more projects in the pipeline.

So far, we have supported a range of activity on farms including :

  • Habitat restoration and creation including new planting, hedgerow, woodland, grassland and ponds
  • Stock fencing including temporary electric for rotational grazing
  • Farm water infrastructure – storage, troughs, solar pumps and pipes
  • Protecting rivers/streams – buffer strips alongside watercourses, bankside tree management and leaky woody barriers to slow the flow
  • Access - improved farm infrastructure for educational visits, all ability access paths, upgrading gates and signage on a permissive trail
  • Repairing historic features in the landscape such as Caer Caradoc hillfort and a section of Offa’s Dyke

Grants awarded have ranged from under £5,000 to over £50,000.  To read summaries of the projects which have been funded, click on this link - Projects that have received a grant from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (

If you haven’t applied there is still plenty of time – the funding programme ends, and all projects must be completed, by 31st March 2024. 

For more information about the programme, please visit our website, or contact Farming in Protected Landscapes Adviser, Alison Jones, email

New Ideas for the Long Mynd & Stiperstones Shuttle Bus

This year has been a particularly challenging year for the shuttle bus service. In the same year the running costs went up significantly, passenger numbers overall have gone down. This follows a trend of fewer passengers and increasing costs. As a result we are seeking to re-imagine the service. Part of this includes talking to our regular passengers.

Do you use the Long Mynd and Stiperstones Shuttle Bus? If you’d like to tell us what the Long Mynd & Stiperstones Shuttle Bus means to you, please come to our New Ideas for the Shropshire Hills Shuttle Bus Workshop on Friday 13th January in the Silvester Horne Institute from 2.15 – 4pm. Come for a cuppa before sitting down for a short presentation about the bus at 2.30pm. This will be followed by facilitated group discussions where we can hear your views on a range of topics including how you use the service, accessibility, ticketing and frequency.

We will also circulate a questionnaire in February, to help record people’s views. Look for the link in the next newsletter and on the shuttles website.

You can book your place through our Facebook page, contact us at the office on 01743 254740  or email


Thank you to supporters of the Shuttle Bus


More about the 2022 Shuttle service and its history.