The AONB Partnership is an umbrella term comprising all of those bodies and individuals that work together to conserve and enhance the special qualities of the Wye Valley AONB.
Formal governance of the Partnership and the AONB Unit exists through the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC), the Technical Officers Working Party (TOWP), Steering Group and Topic Groups. Together they facilitate joint working and, in particular, ensure that the AONB Management Plan is produced, implemented and reviewed. However, it should be noted that much is also achieved through informal opportunities for joint working, for example, with individuals, businesses and communities.
The Wye Valley AONB Unit is grant aided by Defra and Natural Resources Wales, with match funding contributions Forest of Dean District Council , Gloucestershire County Council, Herefordshire Council and Monmouthshire County Council. Together, these bodies fund much of the core costs of the AONB unit and contribute towards the Unit's activities, and constitute the AONB Steering Group.
However, many projects in the AONB depend for their success on the support of other partners, who provide additional funding or support in kind. The AONB Unit, on behalf of the AONB Partnership, works with a range of national, regional and local organisations, local societies, schools and community groups, parish/town and community councils, landowners, land managers and other key individuals to develop projects and initiatives in the AONB. Some of these partners are represented within the formal governance structures.
Examples of partnership working include:
Overlooking the Wye
A Landscape Partnership Grant (Heritage Lottery Fund) Project that worked with a wide range of partnership organisations, including local communities and voluntary sectors across 40 sites.
Walking with Offa and the Offa’s Country Sustainable Tourism Programme
A project that seeks to improve the economy and sustainability of the Welsh-English border area by developing and promoting the sustainable tourism experience, based on the high quality natural and cultural assets of Offa’s Country, particularly focused on walking.
Working in partnership with County Forest Education Initiative cluster groups (FEI’s), the project has engaged with all of the primary and secondary schools in the AONB to offer assistance and funding to develop Forest School sites and training
A project that enables people living with dementia to reconnect with the countryside and work creatively in artistic disciplines by developing partnerships between the health, art and environmental sectors.
Staunton Meend Habitat Restoration.
A project that works with ‘Friends of Staunton Meend’ through fund raising and volunteer assistance to restore an area of common land to its original heathland/dry acid grassland habitat
AONB Unit staff represent the interests of the Wye Valley AONB at the regular meetings of various groups working in the area including:
Walking with Offa Partnership
Forest Education Initiative (Forest of Dean cluster group)
Monmouthshire Environment Partnership Board
Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association
Wye Management Advisory Group (Wye MAG)
Wye Navigation Advisory Committee (Wye NAC)
Herefordshire Local Nature Partnership
Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership
South Wales & Midlands Undergrounding Initiative Group
Wales Protected Landscape Forum
Esther and Henry Rudge, of Ballingham Court Farm, have been presented with the Wye Valley AONB Farming Award trophy for the third time, at the Monmoouthshire Show.