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The NAAONB Board


Trustee Recruitment

People are passionate about AONBs and care deeply about their future.

As a young charity, the National Association for AONBs, has an important job to do in making sure that the value and relevance of our AONBs as dynamic, living landscapes that underpin the economy and the health and wellbeing of society, is recognised both now and in the future.

The NAAONB is seeking people with a passion for landscapes to join the current members on the Board of Trustees.

This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference to our small charity and help bring the AONB Family together as a cohesive entity by providing leadership and strategic direction.

If you have the energy and enthusiasm to be part of our dynamic Board please contact us.


Our Trustees



Philip Hygate FRSA – Chairman

Philip is a farmer and owns a farm close to the Tamar Valley AONB.
Before farming, Philip had a long career of senior public and private sector appointments including twenty one years as a local government chief executive, eight years as chairman of the Isle of Scilly AONB Partnership, nine years as a director of a health authority and five years as chair of an ethical venture capital company. Philip believes the AONB designation is one of our nation’s greatest assets.

Philip’s broad portfolio of experience in local government, AONB management and business, allows him to operate as a powerful advocate of the AONB Family in a variety of political, economic and cultural circumstances, locally, regionally and nationally.
Philip is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was granted the Freedom of the City of London in 2008.

Philip was appointed to the Board in 2010 and has been chair since 2012.



Chris Woodley-Stewart – Vice Chairman

Chris Woodley-Stewart has been the Director of the North Pennines AONB Partnership since 2001.

In previous roles he has been the Countryside Officer in the Chilterns AONB, run a countryside management project in North East Essex and spent time as a Ranger in Cheshire. Chris has served on the NAAONB Board on two separate occasions and previously was Vice Chair. Chris has responsibility for promoting collaboration between AONB teams and their partners, a role which includes helping to organise the Landscapes for Life Conference.

Chris was re-appointed to the Board in 2013 and holds the Collaboration portfolio.



Rose Day MBE JP

Rose has over 25 years of experience in environmental and community involvement in North Devon, including serving as a member of the North Devon Coast AONB Partnership since its inception in 2004 and as its Chairman for the maximum term of four years. She is, at present, AONB Vice Chairman and a Community Member of the AONB Partnership.

Rose has considerable experience and expertise in estuary and coastal management, local government, and a wide range of environmental and community organisations.

Professionally, Rose is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and, until her retirement, taught Modern Languages in North Devon. She is a local Magistrate and a former Deputy Bench Chairman.

She is totally committed to promoting the future security and well-being of our very special AONB landscapes and partnerships.

Rose was appointed to the Board in 2012 and holds the Securing and Managing Resources portfolio.



Nick Holliday

Nick is an Environmental Scientist whose whole career has been the conservation of the countryside and helping everyone to enjoy it.

He spent many years working for the former Countryside Commission, and Countryside Agency and finally as a Director with the Commission for Rural Communities. He has served as a Secretary of State appointee on the Cotswolds Conservation Board since 2008 and currently sits on the Executive and chairs the Enjoying and Appreciating Committee, as well as holding the sustainable tourism portfolio, and has in the past chaired the grants committee. He has also been a member of Exmoor National Park Authority since 2009 and is currently Deputy Chairman.

Nick believes the future of the AONBs lies in developing the AONB brand, celebrating its diversity and distinctiveness and delivering unique projects for the benefit of the whole of society.

Nick was appointed to the Board in 2013 and sits on the Business Planning subgroup.



Mat Roberts

Mat is Interserve PLC Director of Sustainability Strategy. He leads on the development of the Interserve SustainAbilities Plan with a specific focus on the social and natural capital.

Before joining Interserve was Head of Sustainability at Landmarc Support Services, an Interserve joint venture.

Mat is an advisor to the EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform, a member of the Leadership Team for The Princes Rural Action programme, a Director of Cynnal Cymru Sustain Wales and a fellow of the RSA.

Mat was appointed to the Board in 2014 and sits on the Business Planning subgroup.


Denise Hewlett

Denise Hewlett

Denise is an experienced academic, Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, member of the IUCN & WCPA, and is a reviewer for the College of Economic and Social Science REsearch Council. Her most recently funded ESRC research has squarely focused on protected area management, community engagement and studies on visitor perceptions. All of her other research is designed to be applied and practical having worked as a managing officer on numerous projects for Dorset and Hampshire County Councils’ Local Planning Authorities as a lead officer on the Dorset Interim Planning Framework, from which her interests and experience in place based policy making has most recently resulted in her collaborative publishing activities with the British Academy.

A key priority for Denise over 2017/18 concerns the launch of a Research Centre at the University of Winchester. The focus of the centre will include rural economies (inclusive of agribusiness, tourism and leisure opportunities, natural capital, GI): protected areas planning and management, green spaces and their contribution to health and wellbeing; and research methods especially in relation to community engagemtn and applied research and funded projects founded on collaboration amongst academics and practitioners. The geographic focus will be of national and international design.

Denise was appointed to the Board in 2016.


Paul Walton

Paul Walton

Paul is passionate about the management of protected landscapes, reflected in a 25 year career in countryside conservation and landscape management. His current role is Head of Environment and Rural Economy at the New Forest National Park. Prior to the New Forest his roles have included General Manager with the National Trust (Mid & SE Cornwall), the first Manager of the Cornwall AONB Partnership and an Area Manager with the Sussex Downs Conservation Board (forerunner to the South Downs National Park Authority). Alongside this work experience he completed an MA in Town and Country Planning.

Through these roles he has gained considerable knowledge and experience of the role of the public sector in protected landscape management, the leadership, advocacy and diplomacy skills needed to develop partnerships and secure resources for projects and the strategic planning required to develop the long term commitment of partners and supporters.

Paul was appointed to the Board in 2016.


James Williamson

James Williamson

James is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (FCA). He spent most of his career working for Black & Decker in the UK and Europe where he was European Director with responsibility for Change Management and the rationalisation of the Finance and Commercial Systems and operating practices and procedures throughout Europe.

After leaving Black & Decker he worked as Non Executive Finance Director for many companies across several different business sectors until his retirement in 2011 when he bought a small hill farm in Shropshire and now has a fold of Highland Cattle (breed Champion at the Royal Welsh in 2015) and a flock of Badger Faced Welsh Mountain Sheep and occasionally some Gloucester Old Spot pigs.

James is Chair of the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership.

James was appointed to the Board in 2016 and is its Honorary Treasurer.


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Board meetings

About the NAAONB

NAAONB Objectives

Policy and Advocacy

Communications and Training


Securing and Managing resources