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The Nation's Landscapes? Peoples and Places.


“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”

Depending on which bit of the internet you look at, that statement either came from Confucius or Benjamin Franklin, which is quite a stretch in terms of which one you opt for. Either way, it's the theme underpinning the Annual Conference 2022. 

Consequently the programme has been re-designed for 2022. Feedback from previous events shows just how much we all value the chance to exchange ideas, network and learn from our colleagues across the AONB Family, so we've created more time to do just that. There is more time for learning-by-doing, but that doesn't mean we've done away with learning-by-listening; you will still hear from exceptional speakers to inspire and enthuse you. You will have time to put questions to them, so you can really use what you hear when you get back to day-to-day working life.

Field trips are being brought the core of the conference, no longer an add-on tacked on before the main event. As Confucius/Franklin (allegedly) said, we learn better by getting involved, and being outdoors in our Conference Outside the Classroom is a highly effective way of doing that.

The net result is a programme that we hope will entice more people to attend in full. A conference about engagement has to engage with the audience for the entire thing, not just a day here or there.

You'll see below there are a multitude of different tickets in case you can't attend the full three days, but we sincerely hope you can make time to be there from start to finish. It's been a long time since we've had the chance to get together to talk about protected landscapes - let's make up for lost time.

Monday 12th September - arrival and dinner

Further information coming soon

Tuesday 13th September, 10am - 1pm

Welcome to the Landscapes for Life Conference 2022

Philip Hygate, Chairman - National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Keynote session

Hear from a range of speakers who will set the scene for this year's conference

Panel discussion

Dicsussion with our keynote speakers

Networking, coffee and exhibition

Bowland Award presentations

The teams who have entered the Bowland Award will each give a presentation ahead of the voting session during lunch. The award will be presented at the Conference Dinner on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday 13th September, 2pm - 5pm (plus fringe sessions)

Learning and development session

Welcome to an afternoon of rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in. The session will consist of a mixture of inspirational speakers and workshop sessions, all tied in to the conference theme of engagement. More information coming soon.

Fringe sessions

We are making six spaces available for fringe sessions after the workshops, and we are inviting attendees to register their interest in running a session on a topic of their choice. If you want to manage a session on farming, bring together a geographic group of protected landscapes, or talk about nature recovery, climate change or any other topic of interest, contact Anna on You might want to 'walk and talk' round the university campus, or host an art session. It's entirely up to you.

If we have more than six (indoor) requests we will opt for those that give the widest spread of topics. The afternoon workshops finish at 5pm, and dinner is 7:00 for 7:30pm, so that's your timeframe. 

Tuesday 12th September, 7pm: Conference Dinner

The Conference Dinner and Bowland Award presentation

Wednesday 14th September - Conference Outside the Classroom

BreakOUT: Conference Outside the Classroom

It's been scientifically proven that we retain information better when we're involved in the process of learning. In addition to conventional conference-style sessions, packed with high-quality speakers, our aim is for every conference attendee to grasp the opportunity to learn in nature. 

Entirely in accordance with the Engagement theme, it's important attendees engage with other delegates, local AONBs and National Parks, and experts from inside and outside the protected landscape network. Taking people to out of the lecture theatre to learn in protected landscapes facilitates all of these activities. Rather than site visits being seen as an add-on to the 'serious' business of sitting listening, the programme has been re-designed to make the Conference Outside the Classroom an essential part of this year's event.

All of our Conference Outside the Classroom trips will focus on engagement in its widest sense. There will be a range of options covering different subjects in varied locations, catering for various levels of physical activity. You will meet the people who are working with and engaging local communities on a day-to-day basis. The trips will be collaborative and designed to get people talking and thinking.

Information on each trip is available below - we'll let you know as soon as they are ready for booking. You'll need to give a first and second choice; we will try and give as many people as possible their first choice.

Arnside and Silverdale AONB

Arnside and Silverdale Walks for All. Credit -  Feleena TaylorTake a trip to Arnside and Silverdale AONB. We’ll be travelling by train to reach the AONB, then heading to RSPB Leighton Moss, where we’ll be catching up with Feleena Taylor, who leads our Dementia Friendly Walks For All programme. We’ll head over to Arnside for lunch, then make our way to Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve and the Landscape Trust’s Coldwell Nature Reserve. Here we’ll hear from Natural England and the Back on our Map (BOOM) Project about the reintroduction of the hazel dormouse, join local CIC Stomping Ground for a workshop in the woods and meet representatives of the Landscape Trust and Bittern Countryside Community Interest Company.

Activity level: This trip will involve several gentle walks and will include travel by train and minibus.

Forest of Bowland AONB

Bowland Fells. Credit - Graham Cooper

From farm-based holistic therapy, to volunteering at the last socialist Clarion House, via a climb to the summit of the iconic Pendle Hill; discover how engagement, inclusion and wellbeing projects are being delivered in partnership in the Forest of Bowland AONB.

Meet Helen Leece at the Gathering Fields, where "Rewild the Child" uses wildflower meadows to connect with young people with challenging backgrounds. Hear how community-embedded arts organisation, In-Situ, is de-mystifying the complexities of peatland restoration - and lots more - through The Gatherings. Find out how Mid Pennine Arts are tapping into the area's radical heritage to encourage local involvement; and learn about Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership's successful People Enjoying Nature project, with Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust - engaging people dealing with mental health and social isolation issues.

Activity level: One, short strenuous walk up on to Pendle Hill summit, around the summit plateau and back – 2 hours approx. 4.5km on steep slopes with rough, wet and boggy ground.

Lake District National Park

Information coming soon

North Pennines AONB

North Pennines artwork with artist RobWe’ll visit the area covered by our Fellfoot Forward Landscape Partnership and look at aspects of engagement work with local people (especially children) and visitors. We’ll also hear about our EDI project ‘A Landscape for Everyone’ and meet some of the participants from diverse backgrounds. There’ll be art, archaeology, fun and a walk in a beautiful landscape.

Activity level: Easy - 3km of walking spread throughout the day.

Solway Coast AONB

Grune Point Solway CoastWe’d like to invite you to meet some of the people delivering nature recovery work in our coastal AONB in North Cumbria. The Solway Coast is one of the smallest and possibly least known AONBs but what it lacks in size it makes up for in the beauty and wildness of the Solway Firth estuary, the mysterious feel of the Mosses and the subtle nature of its farmed landscapes.

Come for a series of walks with us on some sites from the Inner to Outer Solway Firth to experience some of the varied and dynamic coastal habitats we have here. You’ll visit one of the biggest expanses of saltmarsh in Britain and meet the landowner, committed to making the estate a better place for wildlife as well as developing tourism and welcoming visitors to experience this special place. We’ll then take a walk up a drumlin, an island in a sea of the lowland raised peatbog of Bowness Common and meet some of our conservation partners engaged in a big project to restore the natural processes on the site as well as improve access and understanding. Finally we’ll head to a dune heathland where the AONB team have carried out a project to improve the condition of a key SSSI through a partnership with local farmers whilst working to balance public access and perceptions of change.

We’ll (almost) guarantee that you’ll experience the tiniest hill with the most spectacular view, get your feet muddy, meet the hairiest cattle and have the best cake ever. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your binoculars - the Solway Firth is famed for its birdlife!

Activity level: Easy - Moderate. Two short walks of around 1km, one 5km walk with slight ascent and with wet terrain in places over un-boardwalked bog. Walks mainly on lanes, paths and boardwalks.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Come and join the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Education and Engagement Team, Youth volunteers and an Urban Partner Organisation for a day out in the Dales. There will be opportunity to take part in activities, and talk with the Team, the group and our young volunteers to explore the motivations and challenges facing under-represented groups in accessing a protected landscape.

Activity level: The walking route (approximately two miles) may involve steep hills, rough terrain and styles. The day will involve a range of outdoor engagement activities such as stream dipping and walking.

Wednesday 14th September - evening

Social evening

Plans to be confirmed.

Thursday 15th September: 9:30am - 1pm

Speaker session

We will bring everyone back together in the lecture theatre for the final session of the conference. Speakers to be announced soon.

Panel discussion

Discussion with the speakers.

Networking, coffee and exhibition

Workshop tbc

Reconvene in plenary for final session

Close of the 2022 Annual Conference