We’re proud and excited to announce that we are part of this:

£3 million investment boost for Dorset’s spectacular countryside

People living in West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland will be better able to enjoy, learn about and care for the surrounding countryside thanks to a grant of nearly £2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership, made up of 14 local organisations led by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), is an innovative mix of archaeologists, artists, historians, landowners, naturalists, teachers and, most importantly local people. Everyone has come together to safeguard the South Dorset Ridgeway landscape, help people enjoy it and feel pride for an area that many experts consider as important as that around Stonehenge.


The Partnership will deliver a range of activity over the next five years, valued at nearly £3 million, including: support for landowners to help wildlife, such as butterflies and Grey Partridge; create better access to the high ground of the Ridgeway so that more people can enjoy the breathtaking views; an exciting events programme including ‘Inside Out Dorset’ in 2014; help for schools to use the landscape as an ‘outside classroom’; cutting edge digital media projects to fire the imagination and breathing life back into local song and traditional crafts.

Phil Collins, newly appointed member of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s South West Committee*, said:

“As a new member of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s South West Committee I was thrilled to see such an amazing project at my first meeting! This area is so important in terms of biodiversity and is a huge asset to the South West’s tourist offer. HLF’s investment will help conserve this precious ‘landscape of our ancestors’, ensuring people from near and far can better understand its history and, most importantly, help them enjoy one of the most diverse Neolithic and Bronze Age landscapes in Europe.”


Maiden Castle

Andy Foot, Chairman of the Dorset AONB Partnership and local Farmer said:

“This landscape has been shaped by people that have lived and farmed here for 6,000 years. The challenge for us is how we will shape it for the future. The South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership Scheme provides abundant opportunities for the people who live and work here to enjoy this landscape, feel pride in it and make their own contribution to ensure this place retains its special character in a changing, modern world.”

The first opportunities to get involved will start later this summer, to find out more visit www.southdorsetridgeway.org on twitter @LandBoneStones


What we’re doing (click on RSS feed in sidebar to read the latest, on the blog):

As part of PROGRAMME: B Community Participation:The South Dorset Ridgeway GPS-Soundscape, SATSYMPH LLP is producing four location specific, GPS-enabled soundscape apps through the delivery phase of the Scheme. The apps will be produced in collaboration with Scheme Partners and local communities and will overlay a virtual, digital sound world onto key sites and features in the South Dorset Ridgeway area. The sound worlds will be accessed through the use of smart phones; using the GPS capability in the phone to trigger sound elements related to the location of the listener.

This project thus presents an innovative and powerful means to interpret the landscape, it’s heritage and the people who live and work in it, past and present. Once published the apps will be available indefinitely. We are committed to working with partners such as the DIVAcontemporary, Inside-Out, Windrose Rural Media Trust, ArtsReach and others to raise awareness and understanding of the significance of the Ridgeway. We bring expertise in collaborative working, teaching and enabling communities and young people to express themselves through digital and locative media.

Lachrimae - 5

working with Artmusic to place content at Chapel Coppice

The South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership www.southdorsetridgeway.org

The South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership area takes in the high ground between Dorset’s county town of Dorchester and the Georgian resort town of Weymouth.  The roughly rectangular area is approximately 7km from north to south and 17km from west to east.  The area is bordered by the English Channel to the south and the River Frome valley to the north; from the villages of West Bexington in the west to Poxwell in the east.

The South Dorset Ridgeway provides an introduction to the best that the British countryside has to offer. It is home to a remarkable ancient ceremonial landscape, mixed with some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK.  The South Dorset Ridgeway deserves to be explored further and for its rich heritage; to become more widely understood.

The challenge for the Landscape Partnership Scheme is to engage the wider population so that many more are aware of the remarkable landscape that lies on their doorstep.

The Partnership that has come together to meet this challenge is led by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and comprises:


Activate is the only strategic organisation in Dorset with the sole focus on producing and developing contemporary theatre, community dance and outdoor celebrations and festivals.  Activate work with venues, programmers, the education sector, artists, social services, environment, and economic development, among others, who all play a part in the sharing and delivering of their aspirations.


Artsreach is Dorset’s rural touring arts organisation, giving rural communities the opportunity to see and participate in high quality arts events in their own villages, covering small and large-scale theatre, live music, dance, comedy, literature, film and puppet shows.

Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University is the only university within Dorset, and has a long history of collaboration and research on the South Dorset Ridgeway through their archaeology department, which is rated ‘World Leading’ according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise in 2008.

Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership

Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was designated in 1959 and is the 5th largest in the country; it covers 1,129 km2, including 95% of the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape partnership area.  The primary purpose of the AONB designation is to conserve and enhance natural beauty.  The Dorset AONB is one of the more heavily populated AONBs with 1.4 million people living within 20 miles of the boundary.  It also has a high visitor footfall, which brings about many opportunities, as well as impacts.  A partnership of 20 organisations oversees the production and implementation of a statutory management plan, and a staff team help prepare and implement this.

Dorset County Council

The expertise within Dorset Countryside (Dorset County Council’s Ranger Service), DepArture (the county’s arts-in-education agency), the Historic Environment Team and the Public Rights of Way team will be integral to the successful delivery of the Landscape Partnership.  Dorset County Council (DCC) also acts as host for the Dorset AONB Partnership and Dorset Environmental Records Centre, and leads the Dorset Loves Art collaborative network.

Dorset Environmental Records Centre

Dorset Environmental Records Centre was established in 1976 as an independent organisation to collate information on all of Dorset’s wildlife.  The Records Centre provides a valuable link between local naturalists and professionals.


DIVAcontemporary is an artist-led, not for profit organisation committed to creativity and experimentation in the arts and practice based research. Founded by artists, DIVAcontemporary has focussed on developing innovative and engaging new work, supporting practitioners and opening up opportunities for young people to explore their creativity using digital media.

Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum is an independent museum owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society with financial support from Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council.  Open to anyone with an interest in Dorset’s past to join, the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society is an educational charity with over 1800 members.

Dorset Forest School Community Interest Company

Dorset Forest School is a community interest company whose core aim is to facilitate young people’s engagement with their natural surroundings.  It does this primarily by delivering the national curriculum through forest school sessions throughout Dorset. Forest School aims to provide positive learning experiences where tasks are achievable and individuals are motivated and inspired within an outdoor environment.  The Forest School process also develops children’s personal, social and emotional skills such as independence, self-confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning.

Dorset Wildlife Trust

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is the county’s leading charitable membership body committed to ensuring that there is a secure future for Dorset’s nature – its distinctive wildlife and natural spaces. DWT uses a sound evidence base, influence and wide practical experience of land management and marine conservation to inspire, inform and engage people in Dorset. Through their guidance they help others to carry forward policies that are beneficial for nature within both the rural and urban economy.

Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West

Farming and Advisory Group South West (FWAG SW) provides independent environmental advice to farmers and landowners to help them farm more sustainably and improve habitats, landscape, historic environment and water quality of the farm in a practical way that fits with the core farm business.  FWAG SW has 15 advisers located across the region who provide advice which is tailored to farm businesses and local environments.

Kingston Maurward College

Kingston Maurward College is a vibrant and growing college set in the heart of Dorset on the south coast.  They specialise in education and training for land-based industries and have been graded by Ofsted as ‘a good college with outstanding features’.

They offer hundreds of courses taught within a 750 acre estate with landscaped gardens, lake and Georgian Mansion house together with brand new teaching facilities.


SatSymph is a partnership between composer and artist Marc Yeats; poet, writer and context-aware media director and producer, Ralph Hoyte; and coder, composer and audio engineer Phill Phelps.  Together, they compose context aware sound and learning worlds – locating high quality sound, word and media experiences outside in the real world that are triggered by GPS satellite signals.

Windrose Rural Media Trust

Windrose Rural Media Trust is a charity that uses video, television, film and radio for the benefit of the community, especially in rural areas – one of its main concerns is the effect of current changes on country life.  Windrose works specifically with older and younger people, people with disabilities and other groups with special needs.  Windrose is a development organisation; it creates experimental projects to advance community involvement in the media.   Windrose is run by people with a wide range of experience in television and radio production and as well as rural concerns, journalism, community work, economic development and the arts.