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Annabel’s Wall

On the 18th & 19th May 2015 Annabel attended the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s dry-stone walling course for beginners taking place at Tetbury. Annabel had her own walling project in mind when booking the course and after a thoroughly enjoyable two days, she went away and built her own section of wall (above). Nice work Annabel!! No running joints there as far I can see!

Here’s what Annabel thought of the course and her wall…

‘The introductory course on dry stone walking with CCB was outstanding in terms of content and value for money. The trainer explained everything very clearly, and was engaging and encouraging. There was plenty of opportunity to get your hands dirty over the two days and it gave me the confidence to build a small wall of my own at home. I don’t think it will win any prizes but I am very proud of it! I look forward to taking the next course.’

Many of the trainees that come on our rural skills courses have a project in mind at home that they’d like to complete. As Annabel shows, many of those project are achievable.



New Cotswolds rural grants programme opens for business

A programme to boost jobs and growth for rural businesses and communities in the Cotswolds with nearly £2m of funding is now open for business.

The Cotswolds LEADER programme is open for applications and will provide grants to small businesses, farmers, foresters and communities for projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy.

LEADER is a method of delivering rural development through a local community led approach. It is a European Union initiative and forms part of the Rural Development Programme for England.

Its priorities in the Cotswolds are to:
•    support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
•    boost rural tourism
•    increase farm productivity
•    increase forestry productivity
•    provide cultural and heritage activities
•    provide rural services

The Cotswolds Conservation Board with the Local Action Group (LAG) was successful in securing in the region of £1.98m for projects in significant parts of rural Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. 

The new LEADER programme is to be the focus of the Cotswolds annual forum jointly run and hosted by Cotswolds Conservation Board and the newly formed Cotswolds Local Action Group (LAG) on Friday 20 November.

This year’s forum taking place at the Stratton House Hotel near Cirencester will officially launch the LEADER programme and provide a greater insight to its purposes, outcomes and how it fits into the other economic development and growth initiatives. Keynote speakers at the forum are: Dawn Pettis from Oxfordshire LEP, Paul Silcock, of Cumulus Consultants Ltd and Ivan Annibal, from Rose Regeneration.

Jo Burgon from the LAG said: “The Local Development Strategy recognises the potential and diversity of rural businesses in the Cotswolds. The new LEADER programme will add value to our growth orientated enterprises.

We are pleased to launch the LEADER programme at the forum, where our keynote speakers will demonstrate how an area can help and support itself with sustainable business growth.”

The Cotswolds Conservation Board’s Director Martin Lane said: “The launch of the Cotswolds LEADER programme at the forum is a significant milestone. This new 5 year funding stream provides a wonderful opportunity to grow sustainable rural businesses and jobs. The forum provides an excellent opportunity to discuss ideas at an early stage”.

To find out more about the Cotswolds LEADER programme visit

Photo opportunity:
Photo opportunity with LAG members, the LAG Executive Group, Cotswolds Conservation Board members, the Advisory Network, neighbouring LAGs, partner organisations and Defra.

12noon, Friday 20 November 2015, Stratton House Hotel, Gloucester Road, Stratton, GL7 2LE.

Press contact:
Chris Brant, Communications Officer
Tel: 01451 862003  Email:
Cotswolds Conservation Board, Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH
Tel: 01451 862000 Website:

Notes to editors:
•    The Cotswolds Conservation Board with the Local Action Group (LAG) has been successful in securing in the region of £1.98m for projects which create jobs and economic growth in significant parts of rural Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
•    The LEADER programme in the Cotswolds is run by a Local Action Group (LAG Executive), made up of individuals from the private, public and voluntary sectors.
•    The LAG Executive makes a funding decision on each project at both the outline and full application stages in accordance with LEADER eligibility requirements, and priorities for investment as detailed in the Cotswolds Local Development Strategy.
•    The Cotswolds Conservation Board is an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
•    The programme can invest in farmers, growers, foresters, small rural businesses, and tourism and community organisations to help: create jobs, develop rural businesses, support the rural economy.
•    There are six priority areas for the Cotswolds LEADER investment (listed in order of priority): support micro enterprises & farm diversification, boost rural tourism, increasing farm productivity, increasing forestry productivity, provide culture & heritage activity and provide rural services.
•    LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly-funded by Defra and the European Union. It stands for ‘Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale’ which translates as ‘Links between the rural economy and development action’.
•    Visit the Cotswolds LEADER website at

Battle for prestigious North Cotswolds Hedgelaying trophy

Hedgelayers from across the country will battle it out for the prestigious North Cotswolds Hedgelaying Competition trophy on Saturday 21 November.

The competition organised by the Cotswolds Conservation Board and supported by the National Hedgelaying Society and the Prince’s Trust will take place at Fosse Cross, near Calmsden, Gloucestershire from 8:30am to 3:30pm.
The annual competition has been set up to celebrate and promote traditional rural skills across the region. This year the Prince’s Trust is supporting and helping to fund the competition to encourage the next generation of hedgelayers.

The traditional art of hedgelaying has been part of the Cotswolds landscape for centuries. Originally used for the purposes of stock control, the skill of laying a hedge was once common practice. However, due to the introduction of cheaper and less labour intensive methods of stock control, this traditional form of land management is now a much rarer skill. The Cotswolds Conservation Board works to keep these skills alive through a programme of courses throughout the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which in addition to hedgelaying and dry stone walling include blacksmithing, woodland management, charcoal making and coppicing. 

To compete in the hedgelaying competition, participants have to cut and lay a section of hedge up to 10 yards in length, depending on which class they belong.  The hedge is to be laid in the Midland style and must be 3’ 6” in height.  Judging is carried out by representatives of the National Hedgelaying Society who look for specific aspects of hedgelaying including cut and pleach, stake and heatherings, back of hedge and general appearance.

There are many styles of hedge-laying throughout the UK. In the Cotswolds the most commonly used are the Midlands style and the Somerset style.  For further information on the competition and courses, and to register as a participant, please visit or telephone the Cotswolds Conservation Board on 01451 862000.


Notes to editors:

•    Competition classes are described as follows :
o    Class 1: Open: anyone with experience of hedgelaying.
o    Class 2: Intermediate: those who have not won this class twice or been placed in an open or veteran class.
o    Class 3: Junior, Beginners and Novice. Juniors are to be under 21 years; Beginners are those who haven’t entered a competition before; Novices are those who have not won this class before, or been placed in an Open or Veteran class.
o    Class 4: Veterans: competitors who have reached their 60th birthday on or before the day of the competition.
o    Class 5: Beginner pairs: any two people working on one section who have not entered a competition before.

•    Competition prizes are awarded as follows:
o    Class 1        1st: Trophy and £50, 2nd: £25; 3rd: £15
o    Class 2        1st: Trophy and £40, 2nd: £25; 3rd: £15       
o    Class 3        1st: Trophy and £30, 2nd: £20, 3rd: £10
o    Class 4        1st: Trophy and £40, 2nd: £25, 3rd: £15
o    Class 5        1st: Trophy and £30, 2nd: £20, 3rd: £10

•    The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
•    The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
•    The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
•    Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas.  There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland.  For further details, visit: For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit:
•    Over 350 Cotswold Voluntary Wardens dedicate thousands of hours of practical conservation work every year across the AONB, as well as lead an annual programme of guided walks and undertake a range of promotional and educational work.

Photo Call
Photo opportunity with the participants, 1pm Saturday 21 November 2015, Fosse Cross, near Calmsden, Gloucestershire, GL54 4NN

Press contact:
Chris Brant, Communications Officer
Tel: 01451 862003  Email:

Cotswolds Conservation Board, Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH
Tel: 01451 862000 Website:

Junior, Beginner & Novice Hedgelayers Wanted!

Are you a Junior, Beginner or Novice hedgelayer? Would you like the opportunity to practise your skills at this traditional method of hedgerow management and get paid for it? Thanks to the kind support of the Princes Trust, The Cotswolds Conservation Board is offering £25 cutting money to all eligible entrants to the Junior, Beginner and Novice class for this year’s North Cotswolds Hegdelaying competition which is due to take place on Saturday 21st November. Entrants into this class are required to cut 8 metres of hegde in midlands style within a 5 hour time period.

To qualify for the Junior, Beginner and Novice class entrants must fit one of the following criteria;

– be 21 years old or under on the day of the competition

– have not entered a hedgelaying competition before

– have NOT won this class twice or been placed in an open or veteran class

The competition is free to enter and as well as the £25 cutting money, competitors have the chance to win cash prizes for finishing in the top 3 of their class. A pub lunch is also provided for all competitors.

2015 North Cotswolds Hedgelaying Competition

This year’s competition will be held on Saturday 21st November at Fosse Cross, Fosse Way, nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL54 4NN.

The competition will begin at 8.45am and conclude at 3.30pm with the awards ceremony. Prizes are awarded to those finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in all classes. To enter the competition simply complete the registration form and send it to Please read the  rules of the competition before registering your entry.


Thanks to the support of the Princes Trust, the cutting money for this year’s Junior, Novice and Beginners class has been increased to £25 per competitior. The hope is that this will help attract new hedgelayers to this traditional craft. The competition offers Professional, Intermediate, Junior, Beginners and Novice hedgelayer classes with a chance to win prize money for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. There is also a Veteran class and Beginners pairs for those who wish to compete together.

 Spectators are very welcome at the events, with hot and cold drinks available on the day.