Big Chalk Programme Lead

National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Working as the first Big Chalk Programme Lead will offer you a fantastic opportunity to take
the Big Chalk programme along the next steps towards being an effective, enduring, high profile
and highly respected programme delivering nature recovery at an unprecedented scale.

Who we are seeking

You will have an enthusiasm for the restoration of landscapes at the scale and pace that the
climate emergency and biodiversity crisis demand. With experience of nature restoration,
nature-based solutions &/or landscape management and a record of working collaboratively
across networks, you’ll be great at building positive relationships and driving programmes to
deliver outcomes in a given timeframe.

You will be based within the NAAONB, with initial funding from the new Protected Landscapes
Partnership, which is made up of the NAAONB, National Parks England, National Trails UK and
Natural England. Together, the Partnership aims to create more collaborative ways of working
that amplifies the impact and influence of our organisations towards our common goals.

You will be reporting to and working with the Big Chalk Chair, Secretary and Board, along with
the diverse group of practitioners who have come together to form the Big Chalk partnership.


Calcareous (chalk and limestone) landscapes in the south of England are the most species-rich
habitats within the UK. When combined across the whole landscape, these habitats, make it the
best place to allow wildlife to recover and adapt to climate change. Given the rarity of Chalk
geology on a world scale, this is a programme of global importance.

Big Chalk is a big idea
aiming to realise one of the best opportunities to achieve nature recovery and help wildlife
adapt to climate change offered by the English landscape. Covering 19% of England, Big Chalk
has the primary objective of building a robust nature recovery network over a vast area. This
will be achieved by identifying opportunities to transform these landscapes by the application
of the Lawton principles at a hitherto unimagined scale. While the Big Chalk programme has a
focus on nature recovery, it will strongly embed enhancement to wider landscape
characteristics, the historic a cultural heritage and the health and well-being of the

We are looking for an experienced, highly professional, motivated and passionate individual to
engage with Big Chalk’s partners and other key stakeholders so that, by the end of March 2025,
Big Chalk will comprise of a well-known, respected and vibrant community of practitioners, with
important delivery achievements and an inspirational and widely supported programme for the
future. Big Chalk will have started to deliver one emblematic project across the whole of the
Big Chalk area and this will be backed up by a series of potential projects being developed to
feed into a pipeline for future funding opportunities. The Big Chalk programme will have
secured important policy influence and objectives, an enhanced evidence base, a stronger
programme and partnership and a NLHF Landscape Scale (Integrated Landscape Initiative) project

Main responsibilities

  • Engage and oversee a contractor to develop a high-profile Big Chalk Communications &
    Engagement Strategy, along with suitable branding and deliver this strategy.
  • Oversee refinement of the initial Vision for Big Chalk into a more concise and practical
  • Facilitate existing nature recovery projects to expand across Big Chalk, help develop new
    projects across the Big Chalk landscape and secure one emblematic cross programme area project.
  • Oversee a Delivery conference to celebrate Big Chalk and inspire and motivate Big Chalk
    partners and widen the partnership.
  • Drive development of an ambitious Big Chalk funding bid to the National Heritage Lottery
    Fund, drawing on input from Big Chalk Topic Groups and the Big Chalk Board.
  • Link into relevant AONB/National Park expertise/staff in the areas of nature recovery,
    climate change, Green Finance and ELMs programmes to ensure that connections are made and
    opportunities sought across these inter-related areas of work.
  • Secure the Big Chalk Programme ambition in key relevant Government policy and programmes,
    for instance ELM, FiPL, 30 by 30 and LNRSs.

Person specification

We welcome applicants from a broad range of experience and backgrounds. We are seeking a person

  • Is passionate about nature and is driven to bring about it’s effective recovery.
  • Can quickly build positive working relationships with multiple stakeholders.
  • Has an ability to lead and influence collaborative partners to deliver outcomes at all
  • Is a very capable communicator across diverse groups, verbally and in writing.
  • Has a team ethos, with a drive to collaborate across broad networks.
  • Can formulate evidence-based insights and translate them into credible, clear and
    compelling recommendations and actions.
  • Has the ability to deliver outcomes to deadlines.
  • Is a self-starter who is flexible and adaptive, yet structured and organised.
  • Has a commitment to personal growth and learning.
  • Has the ability to think about and shape the future, but also comfortable with detail and
  • Is adept at reacting to a fast-changing policy landscape but able to take a long-term view
    of delivery.


  • Demonstrable experience of working in a senior role within one of the field/s of landscape
    management, conservation, nature-based solutions, or environmental sciences.
  • An understanding of, and a commitment to, the natural environment, social and environmental
    justice, inclusion, and equality.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, capable of taking responsibility for managing relationships
    with key partners, stakeholders, funders and policy makers.
  • Strong communications and presentation skills, both written and oral, with experience of
    communicating complex issues to diverse audiences.
  • Excellent analytical skills, including the ability to summarise accurately a wide range of
    views and be able to quickly identify key issues from a range of sources of information.
  • Ability to work as part of a small team while also working independently, using own
    initiative and developing ideas.
  • Effective facilitation and collaboration, using relevant tools and technology, online and
  • Ability to prioritise work and meet tight deadlines.


  • Experience of preparing and coordinating successful partnership funding bids.
  • Knowledge of the policy making, politics and the environment in which Protected Landscapes
    and Natural England and Defra operate, especially in relation to nature recovery.
  • Experience working in and/or with coalitions or networks.
  • Programme, project, contract or research management experience.
  • Experience of the development and delivery of communications strategies and campaigns.
  • Experience of arranging large, complicated events.

Find out more & apply

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