Skip to main Content

Latest News

More corporate volunteering

Image shows a group of eight people in a woody glade. They're all smiling and posing for the photo. Two of them are crouched at the front of the group, and the rest are standing. The ground is sloped, and the people are wearing safety equipment and carrying tools to help with woodland management.

The team from Xerox helped out with lots of tasks, including some woodland management. 

Hot on the heels of our last corporate volunteering group, we were recently joined by another enthusiastic group – this time from Xerox. The team works nationally, and this was a great opportunity to get together in person for the day.

Gathering at a stunning quarry, a little off the beaten track – but with dramatic views over the Severn Vale, the group were tasked with a reptile survey, some woodland management, a litter pick, and Himalayan balsam pulling. During the afternoon, they took in a wildlife walk to enjoy this vibrant mosaic habitat – home to a wide range of wildflowers, butterflies, reptiles, and small mammals.

As with all our corporate groups, the team from Xerox arrived with high energy and plenty of enthusiasm – and maintained both throughout the day.

As well as excellent team building opportunities, days like this are a great way for companies to contribute to ongoing conservation work in the Cotswolds. Reducing invasive species like Himalyan balsam helps stop its spread, and litter picking, path widening, and habitat creation help both wildlife and people enjoy the countryside.

Wading in the waters

Image shows a group of people dressed in waders, standing in a river across the width. They are all holding measuring poles and are taking part in a river surveying exercise.

Waders on; measuring channel width, channel depth, water velocity and water quality.

The CNL team recently joined our colleagues Ros, Rowan, and Jen (who deliver all our Everyone’s Evenlode work) for a fun-filled practical day of training at Combe Mill. The Everyone’s Evenlode girls deliver sessions for all age groups – from primary school children to university students, all the way up to our volunteers. It’s essential they maintain their own skill set for training, and are able to make sure all participants are safe in and near the river. The recent day at Combe Mill gave colleagues first hand experience of the work the Everyone’s Evenlode team have been delivering for the last three years.

The group covered practical tips for outdoor working, health and safety, risk assessments, and group management. All the exercises were grounded in the practicalities of river work, so the team donned waders and did some river surveying, hydrology and flooding analysis, pond-dipping, a bio-diversity experiment, and a catchment tour taking in floodplain meadows, pond, woodland and a bird’s eye view over the river, with Geography subject-based games and experiments along the way; and a chance to have a go with the EM River table.

So far the Everyone’s Evenlode team have delivered river-based sessions to over 6,000 people – helping them get to know the river Evenlode better, understand the challenges it faces, learn more about river health and wildlife, and inspiring them to take action however and wherever they can.

It was great for the rest of the CNL team to experience the full Everyone’s Evenlode effect!

New corporate volunteering days

Image shows a group of smiling people standing in a clearing in some woodland.

The team from Valpak during their outdoor volunteering day. 

Recently, we welcomed the fantastic team from Valpak along for an outdoor volunteering day!

Valpak employs around 300 people, and is based in Stratford-on-Avon. The organisation offers sustainability solutions to other businesses to help them reduce their impact on the planet. Each year, Valpak employees are given a day to volunteer; giving back to the community and local environment.

On Thursday 6 June a team from Valpak joined CNL on one of our new corporate volunteering days. The team were very enthusiastic and brought lots of energy! After morning tea and coffee, they took part in a reptile survey, before moving on to some woodland management, including building habitat piles and dead hedging. They removed ivy from tree trunks, worked to widen a footpath, and did a quick litter pick. And that was all before lunch! In the afternoon, the team enjoyed a wildlife walk, and devoted some time to pulling up Himalayan balsam.

If you’d like to find out more about corporate volunteering days, please contact James Webb, Partnership Lead, at


Photo is of Andy Parsons, standing in front of Broadway Tower in the Cotswolds.


Andy Parsons, our Chief Executive, is moving on to an exciting new role later this year.

Since joining the CNL team in 2019, he has led both our people and our organisation with energy, optimism, determination, and a great sense of humour. We’re really going to miss him, and he’ll leave big boots to fill. Andy: congratulations on your new appointment, and thank you for everything. Your next team are lucky to have you.

Andy will be with us until November, and we will soon begin the process of recruiting someone new. If you fancy the challenge of taking the baton, and continuing the fantastic work Andy has set in motion with us, look out for recruitment details soon.

Record breaking volunteers!

Three of our wardens working to install steps along a footpath. 

Our Cotswold Voluntary Wardens have set a new record for themselves in 2023-24: over 50,000 hours of volunteer work between them across their five districts in the Cotswolds. Come rain or shine, the wardens work all year round, and contribute a huge amount to the landscape. They work on maintaining the many thousands of miles of routes criss-crossing the Cotswolds: checking routes, replacing stiles, repairing foot bridges, clearing scrub, installing gates, fixing steps and installing hand rails, improving signage and waymarking, and litter picking. They plant trees, lay hedges, create habitats for nature, clear waterways, and work to repair our famous dry stone walls. They attend talks, shows and events to help spread the word about what they do, and about the Cotswolds National Landscape. And not forgetting – they lead hundreds of guided walks, for free, and open to everyone, almost every day of the year!

Let’s hear it for our fantastic troupe of loyal volunteer wardens!

Key numbers 2023/24:

  • 51,351 hours of work
  • 319 guided walks, attended by 3,634 people
  • 7,867 miles of path patrolled
  • 1,433 trees planted


Image shows a bright blue sky, and lots of people in high vis jackets. They are planting young saplings. There is a stack of empty plant pots building in the foreground.

Children in schools across Gloucestershire got involved in the Ourboretum project – collecting seeds, growing saplings, and planting them out within the community.

After 3.5 years of planning and delivery, the Ourboretum project has planted out its final saplings.

Beginning as an idea from Chris Sandys at BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Ourboretum was originally intended as a way to encourage communities to think about climate action, and Chris soon joined forces with our CNL team and our efforts to address ash dieback.

The project ambition was simple – to encourage people and communities to grow their own trees from seed, and to plant out the resulting saplings as a ‘virtual’ arboretum across Gloucestershire. And that we have!

Launched in the lockdowns of 2020, the project attracted around 180 participants during the first autumn season. These intrepid growers collected up acorns, beech mast, hazelnuts, then planted them, and nurtured them until they were saplings.

Key statistics from the project include:

  • Total saplings handed over for planting = 1,096
  • This included 963 oak saplings, 18 beech and 115 hazel
  • This is from 84 different participants (groups, individuals, families etc)
  • Almost 4,000 nuts were collected and potted up, predominantly acorns
  • About 17 primary schools got involved

Some of the locations where Ourboretum saplings are happily growing include Elmore Court near Gloucester, Woodchester Mansion near Stroud, Cox’s Meadow in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury Nature Reserve, Hempsted Recycling Centre, Lydney Park Estate, St Catherine’s School in Chipping Campden and many many more.

Huge thanks to all those who took part – those who collected and grew seeds, those who created ‘holding nurseries’ for the saplings, those who volunteered places to plants the saplings out. This project will be a lasting legacy of community action right across Gloucestershire!