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Our NAAONB Staff Team

The charity has a small enthusiastic and energetic homeworking team of staff and contractors who together bring many years experience of working with our outstanding landscapes.

Amber Carter - Project and Systems Manager (part-time)

Amber 2021.jpg

Amber has a passion for the environment and a degree in Environmental Biology, she has previously worked for Wildlife Trusts Wales and Environment Wales and has been involved in conservation volunteering for more than 15 years.

She joined the NAAONB team in 2012, when her role was focused on facilitating the needs of the NAAONB team and the collaboration of the AONB Network. Amber’s role has now developed into one which focuses on providing project governance and management (within the NAAONB, and across the AONB network), as well as internal systems development.


Clare Elbourne - Administrative Assistant (part-time)


Clare has a background in project and policy work in international forest conservation. She worked as part of the forest team at the World Wildlife Fund for a number of years both in the UK and overseas.  She has degrees in Genetics and Cell Biology, Forestry, Mysticism and Radio.

Clare has also worked as a Director for the educational charity Common Purpose running leadership development programmes which aimed to find creative solutions to challenges currently facing society.

Clare’s role at the NAAONB is part-time Administrative Officer.  She lives on the edge of the Shropshire Hills AONB and has a deep love of the local landscape and wildlife.


Frances Winder - National Landscapes Nature Recovery Coordinator

FrancesWinder.jpgFrances is an ecologist who has worked in nature conservation across both the statutory and voluntary sectors. Starting in species and habitat research she then moved into advice and policy. Her most recent experience was with the Woodland Trust where she spent two years campaigning for ancient woodland and then nine years as the Conservation Policy Lead looking at agriculture, the Environment Bill, and climate change.

Frances' role is a joint partnership venture by the NAAONB and Natural England. Frances is working with the AONB network to develop local Nature Recovery Plans and will be supporting teams in taking the evolving pilots to the next level of development, including seeking external funding. The strategy is to restore nature networks within national landscapes but also joining them up to create an interconnected, climate resilient network. A central pillar of this work is engaging a far more diverse range of people than we have done before, and ensuring that our approach to nature recovery is inclusive and representative of the nation.

Howard Davies - Chief Executive

HD2020.jpgHoward is passionate about the natural environment. Before he took up his current role in 2010 he was Director of Wildlife Trusts Wales.

His career started in farming, before moving into the private sector working in research and development. After a period of extensive travel, he came back to the UK to work for various practical conservation focused organisations in the third and public sector, before moving on to work within the Countryside Council for Wales’ Protected Landscapes team. He is Honorary Vice President of the North Wales Wildlife Trust, and an appointed Board Member of Natural Resources Wales.

Howard has a degree in Natural Sciences with Biology, a passionate interest in the relationship between people and place and actively promotes collaboration and consensus building. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a trained mediator. Howard has been actively engaged in his local community for over twenty years and volunteers with many organisations, charities and businesses.

Ian Rappel - Wales Development Manager


Ian Rappel is a geographer and conservation ecologist by background and has been working in conservation for NGOs and in academia since 1993 – an eventful career that has seen him involved in a wide range of issues from dolphin bycatch surveys to the biodiversity impact of the World Bank. 

He was CEO for Gwent Wildlife Trust for 5 years before joining NAAONB, where he helped develop the organisation's 'living landscape' approach, and played a key role in the successful campaign to conserve the Gwent Levels in the face of the planned M4 relief road. He lives on the northern fringes of the Black Mountains.

Richard Clarke - National Policy and Development Manager

richard clarkeRichard has been educated, trained and worked in the environmental sector for over thirty years.  He has seen that increasingly the disciplines of environment, heritage, business and community have overlapped and with it he has broadened his skills base. He has a degree in Biological Sciences and Post-graduate Diploma in Countryside Management.

Richard's passion for strategic environmental management was initially fired when he worked for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in the mid-1980s. For much of the last 30 years Richard has worked in professional teams working outside of, but in close contact with, large complex organisations. The role he has played has been to develop policy, partnerships, teams and individuals to be able to deliver strategic objectives to conserve and manage environmental and heritage assets.

Richard has a good understanding of the third sector and has worked as chief executive for a charity representing the native breeds of British livestock nationally and internationally. He is a director on the Marlborough Area Development Trust and is Chair of the national Charity Flora Locale. In recent years he has become closely involved in personal and team development and is a qualified Lumina Learning Practitioner.

Ruth Colbridge - Communications and Advocacy Manager

Ruth Colbridge.jpgRuth has twenty years’ experience of working in communications roles in the private and public sector. She holds a Chartered Institute in Public Relations diploma and a BSc in History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science from University College London for which she specialised in science communication and journalism.

Ruth joined us from Arnside & Silverdale AONB where she worked for five years as communications officer. She grew up spending a lot of time in the Forest of Bowland AONB, Arnside & Silverdale AONB and Yorkshire Dales National Park and has a passion for sharing our protected landscapes and green spaces with new visitors – especially children – demonstrated by her commitment to delivering Arnside & Silverdale AONB’s WILD! Project, getting primary school groups and families from nearby urban areas out into the countryside.

The NAAONB Staff Team also work with the following contractors on specific projects:

Marie Micol - Contractor

marie micolMarie was initially contracted by the NAAONB to support the delivery of the HLF-funded Future Landscapes Project, working with external consultancies and AONB staff from across the country to ensure the objectives of the project are met. She is now leading a follow-on project to continue enhancing collaboration across the network of AONBs.

Marie is an independent environmental conservation professional with a solid experience in finance and social impact investment. She is passionate about preserving nature and enhancing landscapes on a global scale, and she is keen to use her learning and experience of the private and third sector to inform environmental management processes and decisions. She holds a Bachelor in Political Science, a Master’s degree in International Business and a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation and Forest Protection.

Anna Trant - Contractor

anna trant

An experienced event manager and communications professional, Anna has been commissioned to work on two projects. Firstly, she is developing a plan for delivery of online events in light of the pandemic. Secondly, she is managing an advocacy programme, focusing on the role of AONBs in Defra’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM).

Anna uses her innate ability to get the job done to provide consultancy services in comms and events. She has a particular passion for sustainable food from regional producers, and can often be found advocating local food and chefs while running the cookery stage at southwest food festivals.

Anna grew up in the South Devon AONB, leaving to study geology at the University of London.  She graduated with an MSc in Basin Evolution and Dynamics, and gained a lifelong interest in the environment along the way. After learning her trade in the UK and internationally she headed home in 2014 with a renewed love for her native Devon and a desire to protect our natural world.