Mary-Ann Ochota has been elected president of CPRE, the countryside charity.

She is a broadcaster, author and anthropologist whose passionate expertise has engaged people worldwide with landscapes, heritage and the natural world. Mary-Ann has presented factual programmes for the BBC, Channel 4 and National Geographic, including Time Team, Mystic Britain and Ancient Impossible. 

Mary-Ann is also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a member of Natural England’s Landscape Advisory Panel, and a patron of the Ridgeway National Trail.

She is patron of the Tony Trust, which supports disadvantaged children to access outdoor adventure, and a member of All the Elements, a network driving better inclusion and diversity in the outdoors.  

CPRE has a group in Surrey that focuses on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). They work with Surrey Hills AONB and parish councils and promote nature conservation, wildlife protection and biodiversity.

Mary-Ann said: “What an honour to be elected president at such a critical moment for our country and our planet. 

“The majority of us live in urban and suburban areas but the countryside should still be our concern. Because it’s the fabric that underpins everything important – energy, climate, housing, water, food, the economy and nature.

“CPRE has unique authority and expertise in advocating for the countryside – for nature, for farming, for communities, for the people who visit and the people who live and work there.

“Their campaigns on things like the lack of rural affordable housing, planning, the Green Belt, hedgerows, and rooftop renewables have struck a chord with many of us. 

“In this country we have such a depth of history and an astonishing range of habitats and landscapes. The work has never been more urgent.”

For more information, visit To get involved with the local branch, email [email protected]