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Cotswolds National Landscape teams up with Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group

The Caring for the Cotswolds Youth panel – 10 young people aged 13-25 – discussing applications.

 

The Caring for the Cotswolds Youth panel – 10 young people aged 13-25 – discussing applications.

In November, we invited a group of 10 young people to meet to form the 2023 Caring for the Cotswolds Youth Panel. The members of the Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group’s (GYCG) core group, and a couple of members of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Youth Advisory Group, joined us to learn and gain experience of the grants process, and to take part in the assessment of local grants applications.

The collaboration between GYCG and Cotswolds National Landscape (CNL) meant that young people aged 16-25 were able to have their voices heard. They were tasked with reviewing each project application, scoring it, and providing any recommendations. Their review, scores and recommendations were then sent to the Grants Panel – consisting of CNL board members – for them to consider and help inform their decision.

We spoke to Tom Manders-Trett, a member of GYCG’s core group who attended the Youth Panel day, to learn a bit more about his experience.

Why did you want to take part in the Caring for the Cotswolds Youth Panel?

‘As a group committed to youth representation across all levels of environmental decision making, we hoped to provide a potentially new perspective on the available funding applications. When deadlines and quotas for environmental action are regularly missed at national and international levels, this panel was also a tangible opportunity for the group to positively contribute to local environmental projects and support sustainable, collaborative and creative ideas across the Cotswolds. Some members of the group were also already familiar with CNL’s ethos and felt that they were an organisation we wanted to work with, and this funding process was something we wanted to learn a lot from – which we definitely did!’

How long have you been a part of GYCG, and why did you want to join?

‘I have been a GYCG member for over a year and a half now – I wanted to get involved in any way I could with climate action in my home county, and the facilitators at GYCG were amazing at introducing me to existing members and making me feel immediately welcome.’

Why do you think it is important for organisations to include young people in decision-making?

‘Simply, young people are the future of our society and we see it as only fair to include them in decision-making processes that have long-term effects. When 8/10 young people are concerned about climate change and 86% support council action on climate change (InterClimate Network Survey 2022), it is crucial that organisations draw upon young people’s experiences, perspectives and concerns to holistically tackle environmental problems. This approach would also foster connections between councils, businesses and the next generation, opening channels of communication and involving our future workforce in meaningful discussions they can learn from and contribute to. For example, in presenting to Gloucestershire County Council we learned lots about decision-making at that level and in turn gained lots of positive feedback from councillors, who had few connections to youth groups and a limited understanding of the environmental concerns young people had.’

Since being a part of a climate-focused youth group, Tom confirmed his interest in the environment and is planning to study Geography at university next year.

We are delighted to have been able to offer this opportunity and insight into some of the work that we do. A big thanks to Creative Sustainability CIC‘s Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group, who formed the core panel, and a couple of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust‘s Youth Advisory Group for joining us and fully committing to developing well-thought-out recommendations.


Response to Government’s package of announcements

Landscape image of Painswick Beacon, taken in the autumn. The fields are green, and the trees are displaying autumnal colours.

 

The Cotswolds National Landscape Board welcomes Government’s recognition of the immense value of protected landscapes, the commitment to invest an additional £15m into protected landscapes is very positive news and hugely welcome. It will help us deliver more work, more effectively for nature recovery, climate action, and communities. In National Landscapes, that work will be delivered locally, but across our connected network – delivering an impact across the whole country.

The additional announcement of the designation of a new National Park is also welcomed by the family of National Landscapes. This, coupled with the slated boundary extensions to the already designated Surrey Hills and Chilterns, and the planned designation of two new National Landscapes: Cheshire Sandstone Ridge and the Yorkshire Wolds, is a powerful endorsement of the impact of protected landscapes in meeting the challenges ahead – including the commitment that 30% of all land and sea will be effectively protected and managed for nature by 2030.

You can read the full announcement from Government here

 

Notes to editors:

  • The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is the Act of the Parliament that provided the framework for the creation of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales, and also addressed public rights of way and access to open land. In the immediate wake of the second world war, the nation had the forethought to designate Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as sisters to the NHS – one to look after the nation’s health, the other its nature and wellbeing.
  • The first AONB to be designated was in 1956, Gower Peninsula, and the last the most recent, designated in 1995, is the Tamar Valley AONB, which spans Devon and Cornwall.
  • An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an area of countryside in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, that has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. Areas are designated in recognition of their national importance by the relevant public body: Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency respectively. In place of AONB, Scotland uses the similar national scenic area (NSA) designation.
  • National Landscapes offer a uniquely integrated perspective in decisions about land use: convening conversations, bringing people together, and enabling a sustainable balance of priorities for nature, climate, people and place.
  • The National Landscapes Association is the membership organisation representing the UK’s National Landscapes.
  • The work of small (average four members of staff), expert National Landscapes teams is guided by the democratically derived Management Plan, developed through consultation with partners and members of the public through an open process every five years. The Management Plan covers the entirety of the landscape, considering how to protect and regenerate its special features: geology, species, heritage, industry, culture; balancing the needs of the local community to keep pace with the latest infrastructure, through a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of these distinct and special places.

All Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Renamed National Landscapes

 

The new brand underpins ambitious targets for nature. Today, Wednesday 22 November, all designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales are becoming National Landscapes. The new name reflects their national importance; the vital contribution they make to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating greater understanding and awareness for the work that they do.

This is a significant milestone for the UK and the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be the leading exemplars of how thriving, diverse communities can work with and for nature in the UK: restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing.

National Landscapes teams have been at the forefront of delivering natural solutions to the main challenges facing the nation for many years. The new brand underscores their commitment to redoubling their efforts and engaging with a wider audience. In 2019, teams set themselves the most ambitious targets for nature in the sector and continue to work to meet them.

By 2030, National Landscapes aim that, within their boundaries: at least 200,000 hectares of the most valuable natural areas (Sites of Special Scientific Interest or SSSIs), which equates to 1 ¼  times the size of London, will be in favourable condition; 100,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of SSSIs will be created or restored, which is roughly nine times the size of Manchester; and 36,000 hectares of woodland, which is a little smaller than the Isle of Wight, will have been planted or allowed to regenerate. National Landscapes Partnerships will also focus on habitat restoration to ensure the protection of some of our most endangered species and increase their work to help more people to enjoy time spent in beautiful places.

Because of their size and scope, National Landscapes are ideally positioned to address the environmental issues the UK is facing. There are 46 National Landscapes in the UK, covering 14% of England, Wales and Northern Ireland including moorland, farmland, coast, forests, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, a Geopark and International Dark Sky Reserves. They are the UK’s nearby countryside – 66% of people in England (44 million) live within 30 minutes of a National Landscape and at least 170 million people visit them every year.

Andy Parsons, Cotswolds National Landscape Chief Executive, said,

“We are delighted to have played a leading role in this significant move forward for the national landscape family, which will offer us all a number of clear benefits. Those include building a strong and distinctive brand across national landscapes, widening the welcome and continuing to improve inclusivity and accessibility, and building on the success of our already strong network. In the Cotswolds, we adopted the National Landscape name in 2020, and our legal designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty remains, and today we are excited to now also adopt a refreshed logo and brand alongside the rest of the national landscapes family.”

John Watkins, Chief Executive of the National Landscapes Association says:

“For decades, AONB teams have convened powerful partnerships which have placed them at the forefront of the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, but since their initial designation, our country has changed immensely, as have the needs and pressures on the environment and communities. However, we have great ambition as well as the commitment and readiness to care for and protect these important places, whilst also extending a welcome to more people. Our ambitious aims build on AONB teams’ long track record of successful delivery for nature and people and we are confident that we will achieve them. National Landscapes are the landscape designation for the 21 Century and beyond.”


Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England says:

“For decades the AONBs have helped protect the beauty of our finest landscapes. Today though we need so much more from these wonderful places, helping us adapt to climate change, catching carbon, restoring depleted wildlife and encouraging more people outside, at the same time as producing food, sustaining local communities and enhancing historic environments.

“Modern challenges require new approaches and today marks the beginning of a new phase for our National Landscapes, as they strengthen their existing partnerships, and forge new ones that will secure in perpetuity the huge range of benefits that come from these special places. Big change has taken place during the past 75 years and bigger changes still can be expected during the decades ahead. Uniting the National Landscapes in this way is very welcome and spells immense opportunity and great hope for the future.”

-ENDS-

Media contact:

Alana Hopkins, Communications Lead. alana.hopkins@cotswolds-nl.org.uk

 Notes to editors:

  • In the Cotswolds, our neighbouring National Landscapes include: the Mendip Hills, North Wessex Downs, the Malvern Hills, the Wye Valley, and Cranborne Chase National Landscapes.
  • The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is the Act of the Parliament that provided the framework for the creation of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales, and also addressed public rights of way and access to open land. In the immediate wake of the second world war, the nation had the forethought to designate Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as sisters to the NHS – one to look after the nation’s health, the other its nature and wellbeing.
  • The first AONB to be designated was in 1956, Gower Peninsula, and the last the most recent, designated in 1995, is the Tamar Valley AONB, which spans Devon and Cornwall.
  • An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an area of countryside in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, that has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. Areas are designated in recognition of their national importance by the relevant public body: Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency respectively. In place of AONB, Scotland uses the similar national scenic area (NSA) designation.
  • National Landscapes offer a uniquely integrated perspective in decisions about land use: convening conversations, bringing people together, and enabling a sustainable balance of priorities for nature, climate, people and place.
  • The National Landscapes Association is the membership organisation representing the UK’s National Landscapes.
  • The work of small (average four members of staff), expert National Landscapes teams is guided by the democratically derived Management Plan, developed through consultation with partners and members of the public through an open process every five years. The Management Plan covers the entirety of the landscape, considering how to protect and regenerate its special features: geology, species, heritage, industry, culture; balancing the needs of the local community to keep pace with the latest infrastructure, through a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of these distinct and special places.
  • Cotswold National Landscape Board owns no land, so our work is delivered by convening strong networks with landowners, farmers and partner organisations, working together to plan projects, and secure funding to deliver them.

New local Visitor Economy Partnership announced

View of the Cotswolds countryside, with the village of Guiting Power nestled in the distance.

 

Our regional tourism destination organisations have received the news that their new collaborative arrangement, Cotswolds Plus, has been awarded Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) status by VisitEngland. It will see Cotswolds Plus join the new national portfolio of high-performing LVEPs working to support and develop the visitor economy.

Chaired by the Cotswolds National Landscape Board, the partners include Marketing Cheltenham, Visit Gloucester, Visit Dean Wye, and Visit Gloucestershire – with Cotswolds Tourism as the lead organisation. Cotswolds Plus will not be a consumer-facing brand, but will work behind the scenes to shape and deliver national strategy and activities, as well as to bring a coordinated, strategic approach on key issues such as sustainability, business support, and research.

LVEP status ensures increased support, training, and collaboration with VisitEngland and VisitBritain in core areas such as accessibility, business support, and engagement with travel trade operators and event planners. Any future VisitEngland funding streams will also be channelled through the LVEPs.

Andy Parsons, chair of the Cotswolds Plus management board, said:

“The Cotswolds welcomes over 23 million visitors a year, spending in excess of £1 billion and supporting 23,000 jobs – partnership working is vital to successfully manage the environmental and social impacts. Cotswolds Plus offers a real opportunity to make a difference for the region by ensuring it is a vibrant year-round destination where tourism makes an increasing contribution to the local economy.”

Andrew Stokes, VisitEngland Director,  said:

“Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs) are at the heart of transforming the visitor economy landscape in England and we are delighted to welcome ‘Cotswolds Plus’ onto the programme.

We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with Cotswolds Plus as the LVEP is established, providing ongoing support – including a dedicated VisitEngland regional development lead.

Having the right national and local infrastructure in place to grow our visitor economy, in an inclusive, accessible and sustainable way, will ensure England continues to be a compelling destination for both domestic and international visitors.” 

ENDS.

Notes for editors:

Cotswolds Plus is the official Local Visitor Economy Partnership working at a strategic level across the wider Cotswolds region. Partners include Cotswolds National Landscape, all the local authorities and county council for Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire District Council. The partnership is led by Cotswolds Tourism and includes the DMOs for Cheltenham, DeanWye, Gloucester and Gloucestershire.

Cotswolds Tourism is the official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for the Cotswolds. www.cotswolds.com

Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism is the DMO for the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. www.visitdeanwye.co.uk

Marketing Cheltenham is the DMO for Cheltenham https://marketingcheltenham.co.uk/

Visit Gloucester is the DMO for Gloucester. www.visitgloucester.co.uk

Visit Gloucestershire is Gloucestershire’s strategic DMO https://visit-gloucestershire.uk/

For press enquiries please contact Cotswolds Tourism Sally Graff via 01285 623050 or Chris Jackson 01993 861563 email cotswoldstourism@cotswold.gov.uk

Visit Britain / Visit England is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Working with partners in the UK and overseas, their mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support growth aspirations.  For further information and access to the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics, visit www.visitbritain.org or www.visitbritain.com and www.visitengland.com for consumer information.


Guest news slot

Images shows a view during a walk from Stanton to Snowshill in the Cotswolds. In the foreground, there's a wooden gate, and beyond the gate there are green and yellow fields and a wide view beyond.

Image: View of the Cotswold landscape looking towards Snowshill ©Siobhan Mills

 

Last week, we were pleased to host Yolanda, as she completed her Year 12 work experience placement. She joined in with a host of activities and tasks all week, one of which was to complete a short write-up of a self-guided walking route from our website. Her review of that experience is below. Huge thanks to Yolanda for all her enthusiasm and effort all week – it was a delight to have you as a member of the team for the week!

Stanton and Snowshill Cotswold Way circular walk review

17 July 2023 by guest editor Yolanda Mills

The six-mile Stanton and Snowshill circular walk offers a diverse and rich landscape taking you through woodland, grassland, valleys, and hilltops providing beautiful views and an enjoyable walk. This is one of several circular walks based around the Cotswold Way National Trail.

Living in the Cotswolds, I have always enjoyed going on walks in the countryside and my surrounding areas. During a school work experience week with the Cotswolds National Landscape team, I had the opportunity to walk and review this route around Stanton and Snowshill.

The walk started out in Stanton village, which I found to be quiet and very pretty due to the honey-coloured Cotswold stone which made up the buildings along the high street. When leaving the village, the walk then followed the Cotswold Way up the escarpment to the top of the hill. This section passes through some areas of beautiful species-rich grassland. It was also the steepest part of the walk, which I enjoyed being towards the start – as it was encouraging that the rest would be more leisurely!

At the top I was greeted with a beautiful view of the outlying hills including Bredon Hill and Dumbleton Hill and in the distance, the profile of the Malvern Hills. The route then passed through ancient woodland which was a welcome bit of shade and enhanced the variety of the walk between the previous open Cotswold Way track and the wooded area, allowing me to appreciate the different features of the local landscape. When moving out of the woodland I was then able to see Snowshill nestled into the hill which surrounds and rises around the village, creating a picturesque view.

Snowshill is another classic Cotswold village with its pretty cottages centred around the church and pub. I stopped off at a bench by the village hall to have a snack and admire the view across the rooftops to the far side of the valley. It’s also the location of the National Trust’s Snowshill Manor and Gardens which I had a quick look at over the wall. One of my favourite parts of the walk was the descent into the valley after Snowshill village as the field was particularly scenic due the many different shades of green and yellow from the different types of grasses and plants. Whilst reasonably dry when I did the walk, the steeper area at the bottom of the valley may be more muddy and slippery during a wetter period or season.

Finally, the route moved along and down the escarpment back into Stanton. As I was walking down the track, I was able to observe ever-changing panoramic views over Stanton and across the Severn Vale before continuing down into the village towards the start point – concluding the walk. Overall, I really enjoyed being outside in my local surroundings on the walk, as it was a good chance for me to have a break from schoolwork and de-stress. The variety and scenic views along the route make it a lovely walk for anyone.

Link to walk https://www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Walk-3-Stanton-Snowshill-Final-v22.pdf

By Yolanda Mills, guest editor


Caring for the Cotswolds – grant scheme applications open from July!

Image shows a roadside verge in a Cotswolds village, populated with lots of wildflowers, the most prominent of which are ed poppies. The sky is blue, with white clouds and the road stretches ahead to the horizon.

Wildflower verges through the village of Long Newnton – funded with a Caring for the Cotswolds grant and following the theme of ‘conservation of habitats and species’.

A new window for project applications will open on 3rd July for the Caring for the Cotswolds grant scheme, running until 29th September. The scheme is open to charities, town & parish councils and other non-profits in the Cotswolds AONB. Projects are sought in the four key themes of: conservation of habitats and species, heritage and landscape, improving access, and education.

The Caring for the Cotswolds scheme is based around a visitor-giving model. Visitors voluntarily donate to member businesses, who pass the funds along to be allocated as grants for projects that benefit the unique landscape and heritage of the Cotswolds.

James Webb, Partnerships and Fundraising Lead at Cotswolds National Landscape explains, “In the last year, a record number of projects across the Cotswolds were completed and claimed their grants, totalling approximately £21,000 – making our countryside a better place for people and wildlife. In this grants round, we’re keen to hear from organisations which are developing high quality projects across our region.”

Grants start at £500 and go up to £2,500. Projects must fall within at least one of the scheme’s four themes and offer good value for money. The application form and accompanying guidance document can be downloaded from the Cotswolds National Landscape website. The application window will be open until 29th September, after which time the applications will be reviewed and decisions made towards the end of the year.

Ben Dent, Cotswolds National Landscape Board Member said, “Many really valuable projects just need a relatively small amount of cash, with the minimum of paperwork – and that’s Caring for the Cotswolds!  So, whether you want to contribute to the Cotswolds’ landscape, nature, climate action or heritage, we’re here to help you. And this is only made possible by the participating businesses, and their customers, whose generous contributions to this scheme help to keep the Cotswolds a special place to live, work, and visit.”

Further details on the scheme and of the projects supported can be seen here: https://www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk/looking-after/caring-for-the-cotswolds/

Please contact Nina Stubbington at nina.stubbington@cotswolds-nl.org.uk  for further information or to apply for funding.