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Park Life – should the Cotswolds become England’s next National Park?

The Government has asked for an independent review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). The review and associated survey carried out last year is wide ranging and explores more than just the idea of new National Parks or other types of designation. It is the first time that there has been a national review of Parks and AONBs since the original enabling legislation in 1949 and parallels with the growing local discussions over the merits of the Cotswolds being designated a National Park. The newly adopted Cotswolds AONB Management Plan 2018 -2023 contains the ambition: To promote the case for the Cotswolds being designated as England’s next National Park.

Cotswold Life Magazine have provided an interesting article in their Summer 2019 issue on the National Park debate which is available from the link below:

CL National Park article, summer 2019 issue

Cotswolds Farming Forum

This year’s Farming Forum, organised by Cotswolds Conservation Board, is exploring two areas that will impact greatly on the farm, the new Environmental Land Management System (ELMS) and ash dieback.

The speakers are:

John Law, Policy Advisor, Environmental Land Management, Defra

The new Environmental Land Management System – Where we are at and where we are heading

Tim Shardlow, Forestry Director and Nathan Fall, Woodland Manager, Nicholsons Nurseries Ltd

Ash Dieback – Why should I care?

Doors open at 6.30 with tea, coffee and cakes. Welcome and introduction by the Chairman for the evening, Graham Nichols, Chairman, Gloucestershire NFU, at 7.00pm.

If you would like to attend please let us know by Monday 18th March by sending an email to,

Or you can register for free by visiting

Cotswolds LEADER re-opens to new Expressions of Interest

The Cotswolds LEADER Programme has re-opened to new Expressions of Interest for two weeks from Monday 4 March 2019 to Friday 15 March 2019


Who are we?

The LEADER Programme is a national grant scheme targeted at the rural areas of England. The aim of the programme is to create new jobs and grow the rural economy through capital grant investment. The Cotswolds LEADER Programme is delivered by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

Who can apply?

LEADER is open to a wide range of businesses, farmers and not for profits. The six LEADER funding priorities are: increasing farm productivity, micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification, rural tourism, culture and heritage, rural services and increasing forestry productivity.

How much is available?

Grants are available from £5,000 to £50,000 at a maximum intervention rate of 40% of the project’s total eligible costs. For exceptional projects under Priority 2 (Support for micro and small businesses and farm diversification) with high job outputs, grants from £50,000 to £100,000 will be considered.

What is the timeline?

  • All Expressions of Interest must be submitted by Friday 15 March 2019
  • All Full Applications to be submitted by Tuesday 30 April 2019
  • All projects must be approved and contracted by Wednesday 31 July 2019
  • All grant payments must have been made by 31 December 2020

Eligible area

The Cotswolds LEADER eligible area broadly mirrors the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the exclusion of urban areas.

Please speak to Lioba Erwert to request an Expression of Interest Form.
Tel 01451 862001


Chasing Darkness…

Join us for an evening with respected astronomer Will Gater to celebrate our dark skies!

Dark skies are recognisably important as part of our heritage, for wildlife, and for health and wellbeing. They are a notable and characteristic feature of the Cotswolds AONB and in 2016, CPRE published survey data showing that a good part of the Cotswolds AONB retains high quality dark skies – but also warns that dark skies are becoming increasingly rare. We need to protect the astronomical landscape as much as the landscape underfoot.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board is launching the Cotswolds Dark Skies Initiative on the evening of 16th March at Guiting Power Village Hall. Astronomy Journalist, author, and science presenter Will Gater will be talking about what dark skies mean to us, what they can reveal, and how we must work to protect their treasures. Weather permitting, the evening will conclude with an outdoor stargazing session.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL Tickets are £8.00 for adults, 16 and under free and are available from:

Call for projects for Caring for the Cotswolds

Caring for the Cotswolds, the visitor giving scheme for the Cotswolds AONB is again accepting applications for projects. The scheme distributes funds raised by local companies for environmental and heritage projects. Based around the concept of visitors acknowledging their appreciation for the Cotswolds by contributing something towards the conservation of the wonderful place they have come to see and enjoy. All grants will support at least one of the scheme’s primary objectives;

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape
  • Manage and restore habitats for wildlife
  • Manage and improve footpaths and bridleways
  • Look after the area’s distinctive historical heritage
  • Provide countryside access information and/or improve the public’s understanding of the things that make the Cotswolds special.

Examples of projects funded to date can be seen here

Details of the scheme and downloadable guidance and application forms can be found here;

The deadline for applications is 5th April 2019.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome by the end of May 2019.

Potential applicants can discuss possible projects with Edward Bonn, Grants Officer E-mail tel: 01451 862032

Gloucestershire’s young people dig into rural life

L_R: Team programme participants: Fergus, Martyna, Natasha, Jack, Sam, Morgan, and Luis, with Programme Leader, Archie Morton. 

Cotswolds Conservation Board is celebrating the conclusion of a pilot rural skills training scheme in partnership with Young Gloucestershire and The Princes Trust. The ‘Team’ programme, offered by the Prince’s Trust, and facilitated by Young Gloucestershire, aims to help young people from urban areas in Gloucestershire prepare for work or further education with a range of practice-based activities.

Team is a nationally recognised programme set up by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. More than 70% of young people who complete the course go on to get a job or return to education or training within three months of finishing the programme.

The 12 week programme is for young people aged 16-25 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Participants get involved in a local community project, complete a short work placement, participate in a team challenge (involving caring for others), and work on their CVs and work skills. The course encourages group working, confidence building, and motivation.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board has been involved in a trial of a new element of the course which offers young people opportunities to get some hands-on rural skills experience. From thatching, to woodland management and bushcraft, to map reading, stone carving, dry stone walling, and blacksmithing – participants have been able to try a range of rural skills, at the same time as experiencing what it’s like to work outside in a rural context.

Many of the young people taking part do not have regular access to the countryside surrounding the towns and cities where they live, so this element of the Team programme is a valuable opportunity for them to explore what options might be available to them.

Edward Bonn, Rural Skills Officer at Cotswolds Conservation Board said, “It’s been brilliant introducing these groups of young people to our rural skills programme. Lots of them have never experienced anything like it before, and have really got stuck in to the sessions we’ve run for them. In particular, the blacksmithing, stone carving, and bushcraft sessions were very popular.”

Archie Morton, Programme Leader at Young Gloucestershire said, “Including rural skills in the Team programme is new for Young Gloucestershire – but we feel it’s a valuable addition. This time round was a pilot – so our focus now will be on seeking funding to continue being able to allow young people to broaden their skill set and experience.”

If you or your organisation is interested in finding out more about how to contribute to funding this valuable programme, please contact Simon Smith (Cotswolds Conservation Board) at or Archie Morton(Young Gloucestershire) at

Call for Projects in the vicinity of pylon line ZF2 (Upper Coberley to Alderton)

National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative (LEI)


The Cotswolds Conservation Board has issued a call for projects for the National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative.

This £24 million grant scheme offers awards of up to £200,000 for projects to enhance landscapes containing or impacted by National Grid’s existing electricity transmission infrastructure.

Only the Board can apply to the National Grid for this funding and we are inviting partners to put forward projects.

The Board has selected pylon line ZF2 which runs between Coberley and Alderton for our first call for projects as it is judged to have the highest impact of any line within the Cotswolds AONB.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest to the Board is the 1st February 2019 for projects commencing in December 2019.

Next steps / essential documents:

Anyone with a project idea is encouraged to talk to Simon Smith the Board’s Project Development Officer at

The Government Review of National Parks and AONBs – your views are sought

The Government has asked for an independent review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). You can find more about the work of the review and their Terms of Reference.  Already the review team, led by Julian Glover and a panel with a range of experiences and interests, has carried out visits and meetings in many parts of England.

The review and associated survey is wide ranging and explores more than just the idea of new National Parks or other types of designation. It is the first time that there has been a national review of Parks and AONBs since the original enabling legislation in 1949 and parallels with the growing local discussions over the merits of the Cotswolds being designated a National Park. The newly adopted Cotswolds AONB Management Plan 2018 -2023 contains the ambition: To promote the case for the Cotswolds being designated as England’s next National Park.

The Government will do more in the months ahead – but want everyone to have a chance to contribute, whether you live in a National Park or AONB, run a business in them, enjoy visiting, care about landscapes and biodiversity, or represent an organisation with views that might shape and improve their findings. The online survey asks 24 questions and suggests you limit your responses to 500 words per question some people and organisations will want to reply in detail on specific points. It is not necessary to reply to every question so please ignore those which you do not think relevant to you. You may find it easier to write your answers elsewhere before pasting them into the text boxes which follow.

We have summarised the questions below to provide an insight:

  • What does and doesn’t work about the current system of designated landscapes
  • What you think about the roles of National Parks and AONBs in regard to:
    • landscape, beauty, cultural heritage
    • nature conservation and biodiversity
    • working with farmers and farm payments
    • managing access and recreation
    • people who live in the designated landscapes
    • housing and transport
  • Your thoughts on how;
    • Parks and AONBs are governed
    • Parks and AONBs are funded
    • they work collectively
    • they involve people and encourage volunteering
  • The process of designating Parks and AONBs
  • Suggestions for new National Parks, AONBs and new types of designation for marine and urban areas
  • Whether there are lessons to be learnt from abroad
  • Whether the title AONB could be improved
  • How National Parks and AONBs work with National Trails, SSSIs, SACs etc

Submissions are invited from individuals and organisations by the 18th December 2018

The online survey is available for you to complete at 


Cotswolds Conservation Board to launch new scheme to save wildflower grasslands

The Cotswolds Conservation Board has been awarded a grant of over £200,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for a project which will conserve, restore and create wildflower-rich limestone grasslands across the Cotswolds. The project, Glorious Cotswolds Grasslands, aims to create the largest network of wildflower rich Jurassic limestone grassland in the country – around 100 hectares in total, over three years.

The project hopes to secure the long term management of these precious grasslands through farming and community engagement, alongside practical and educational activity.

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) contains just over half the UK’s wildflower rich Jurassic limestone grassland. These grasslands are fragmented and vulnerable, and in urgent need of intervention to maintain, restore, and most importantly, to expand and connect them by creating new wildflower-rich grassland.

The central aims of the project are to:

  • Collect seed from existing wildflower rich grasslands, and sow them on sites to restore or create new grasslands
  • Provide advice and guidance on managing grasslands to maximise their benefit – for wildlife and people
  • Provide practical assistance such as managing scrub and invasive species
  • Work with communities and highway authorities to improve road verges to create a network of flower-rich corridors
  • Establish a sustainable service to deliver advice, equipment, and advocacy beyond the life of the project.

Mark Connelly, Land Management Officer at Cotswolds Conservation Board said, “We’re delighted that the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has supported the Glorious Cotswolds Grasslands project. Their generous grant will allow us to implement this ambitious project, and will help us give Cotswolds grasslands, and the fantastic wealth of wildlife to be found in them, a better chance for the future.”

Simon Wightman, from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation said, “We are pleased to support the conservation, restoration and creation of wildflower rich grasslands across the Cotswolds. Trustees were especially impressed by the Conservation Board’s commitment to finding a sustainable approach to grassland management beyond the end of the grant period.

Trustees also applauded the project’s focus on education, and on exchanging learning with other organisations involved in grassland management. We are keen to hear how the project progresses.”

If you or your organisation is interested in finding out more about this valuable project, please contact Mark Connelly (Cotswolds Conservation Board) at


Notes to editors:

  • Please contact Alana Hopkins at / 01451 862 003 for further information, or interview/photo opportunities.
  • 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 third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks 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:

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

  • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. We do this by funding the charitable work of organisations who are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society.
  • The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK. In 2017 we made grants of £40.5 million towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. We also have a £45 million allocation to social investments for organisations with the aim of creating social impact.’’


Glorious Cotswolds Grasslands Job Vacancies

Glorious Cotswolds Grasslands

Do you want to join the Cotswolds Conservation Board team to help restore internationally important wildflower rich grasslands in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

We are seeking two confident, dynamic and committed team players to deliver the Glorious Cotswolds Grasslands project, an ambitious project to create the largest connected network of wildflower rich Jurassic limestone grassland. The Glorious Cotswolds Grasslands is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and private sponsors.

Project Officer, £27,264 – £29,066, Full time fixed term contract for 3 years

Assistant Project Officer, £21,899 – £23,692 Pro Rata, Fixed term contract for 3 years, part-time, 3 days per week

Closing date: 12.00 noon, Monday 12th November 2018.

For more information and application form visit our Vacancies page.