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Cotswolds Conservation Board continues ambitious meadow restoration project

PRESS RELEASE  11/06/19

Cotswolds Conservation Board continues ambitious meadow restoration project

Harvey Sherwood and Anna Field, from the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands project being run by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, have announced two free guided wildflower meadow walks this summer to help get people more familiar with the project. Open to everyone, including families, the walks will be held on 15th June and 6th July.

On the 15th June, climb on board for a tractor ride and guided wildflower walk across the limestone grassland at Whittington Lodge Farm, and learn more about this fantastic habitat and the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands project. Families are very welcome and plant hunt sheets will be provided for children. The walk will be up to 1 mile across rough grassland, with tea and biscuits afterwards. The walk on 6th July will be to celebrate National Meadows Day, and will be a guided 2 mile wildflower walk across the limestone grassland at Ampney Downs.

Curiously named flowers which might be spotted on the walks include Cotswold pennycress, pasque flower, oxeye daisy, common bird’s-foot trefoil, cowslip, and lady’s bedstraw. Grasslands and the flowers found on them support a host of wildlife too – including rare butterflies like the Chalkhill Blue and orange-flecked Duke of Burgundy, as well as insects, bats, birds, and small mammals.

Both walks are free, but booking is recommended. Please contact Harvey at harvey.sherwood@cotswolds-nl.org.uk or on 07841 663 603 to book a place.

A staggering 97% of species-rich grassland in England and Wales has been lost since the 1930s. Factors like urban development, and changes in farming practice and land management, mean that the Jurassic limestone grassland coverage in the Cotswolds has shrunk from 40% to just 1.5%. These disappearing grasslands are precious though – a typical patch can contain over 100 species of flowering plants.

A grant of over £200,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, boosted by a private donation, and fundraising from the 2018 Cotswolds AONB Hare Trail, has allowed the Cotswolds Conservation Board to launch Glorious Cotswold Grasslands – a project which aims to conserve, restore and create wildflower-rich limestone grasslands across the Cotswolds AONB. The intention is to create the largest network of wildflower-rich Jurassic limestone grassland in the country. To break the cycle faced by many projects of ‘boom and bust’ due to the temporary nature of funding, this project aims to become self-financing over the delivery period. During the project, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities available and other ways to get involved and help.

ENDS 

Notes to editors:

  • Please contact Alana Hopkins at hopkins@cotswolds-nl.org.uk / 01451 862 003 for further information or interview opportunities.
  • Image shown courtesy of Ian Boyd
  • For more information about Glorious Cotswold Grasslands, contact Harvey Sherwood at sherwood@cotswoldsaob.org.uk or Anna Field at anna.field@cotswolds-nl.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk
  • 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.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • 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: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk


Lady Ashcombe of Sudeley Castle to formally open new disabled access route around Winchcombe

PRESS RELEASE 4 June 2019

Lady Ashcombe of Sudeley Castle will be hosting the launch and formal opening ceremony of a new eight mile disabled access route around Winchcombe, at Sudeley Castle this month.

The new route will be suitable for all-terrain mobility scooters / Tramper-style vehicles, and has been developed and constructed by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, the volunteer arm of the Cotswolds Conservation Board. Following the opening ceremony, a group of 13 people from Disabled Ramblers and their helpers, along with Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, and representatives from local government and the National Trust, will undertake the inaugural ‘walk on wheels’.

The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens have been working on accessible paths across the Cotswolds for over 20 years, but this new route marks the introduction of longer and more challenging routes for use by off-road mobility scooters.  The project marks their 50th anniversary, and has involved hundreds of hours of volunteer work installing gates, working on surface improvements and negotiations, and working closely with the Disabled Ramblers, landowners, and the Gloucestershire County Council rights of way team.  The route is available to download using the link below

https://www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Winchcombe-Tramper-WOW-CNL-Final-v1.pdf

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Please contact Alana Hopkins at alana.hopkins@cotswolds-nl.org.uk / 01451 862 003 for further information or interview opportunities.
  • Plenty of photo opportunities at the opening ceremony.
  • The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens were established in 1968 and have continued to grow into the 300-strong membership of  today.  Anyone can join, all that’s required is an enthusiasm for the Cotswolds and a willingness to offer your time and skills to help keep the Cotswolds AONB special. In 2018, they volunteered 47,674 hours of work time, and were given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
  • The Cotswold Wardens form part of the wider Cotswolds Conservation Board and the volunteer opportunities are variable.  There is something for everyone, from walling, to walks and talks, to tree planting.
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk
  • 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.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • 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: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk


We’re recruiting!

The Cotswolds was originally designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 and extended in area in 1990. At 790 sq miles or 2,038 sq kms it is the largest of all the AONBs and third largest Protected Landscape in England, after the Lake District and Dales National Parks. It stretches South West from just south of Stratford Upon Avon in the north to Bath in the South.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board is an independent statutory body that works to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Cotswolds AONB, to increase understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities, and to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities.

The board seek to appoint a Chief Executive, to replace Martin Lane who retires later in the year after many successful years as its director.

The Chief Executive will be responsible for leading the operation and development of the Board. They will be the champion and lead spokesperson for the Conservation Board and AONB, promoting the vision and ambition of the Board through Board members, staff, volunteers, partners and other stakeholders.

For more information and to apply: www.berwickpartners.co.uk/72321


New Call for Project Applications

National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative (LEI)

Call for Projects in the vicinity of pylon lines ZF3 (Upper Coberley to Cirencester) and 4TE1 (Upper Coberley to Eastington)

Following a successful call for projects for the National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative earlier this year, the Board is issuing a further call, this time for pylon lines ZF3 which runs between Coberley and Eastington & 4TE1 which runs between Coberley and Cirencester

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 Cotswolds Conservation Board (the Board) can apply to the National Grid for this funding in the Cotswolds and we are inviting partners to put forward projects.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest to the Board is the 14th June 2019 for projects commencing in May 2020.

Proposing a Project

The supporting Information below details information to help you develop ideas for projects, it contains:

  • The selection criteria.
  • The sort of projects they are interested in funding.
  • A map showing the approximate area impacted on by the power lines along with the landscape character types from the AONB Landscape Character Assessment.
  • Web links to: The LEI web page, Cotswolds AONB Management Plan, Cotswolds AONB Landscape Character Assessment and the Cotswolds AONB Landscape Strategy and Guidelines.

This is a discretionary grant with a two stage application process starting with a simple expression of interest (attached). If the expression of interest is successful, the ensuing full application will need to be detailed and complete. We have been informed that unlike many grant schemes the element of competition is relatively low so the prospect of strong eligible projects being funded is good.

Please note that the Board is not able to contribute to the minimum 25% match funding, though as well as cash, you can count in-kind and volunteer effort as match.

The Board will look to combine similar projects together under a single expression of interest to National Grid.

If you have a project idea please complete the expression of interest form and e-mail it to Simon Smith, Project Development Officer any time before the 14th June 2019.

Download the LEI Expression of Interest Form

Download the LEI Call for Projects Guidelines

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

E-mail                    Simon.smith@cotswolds-nl.org.uk

Please share this with anyone who you think may be interested


Secretary of State Vacancies

Would you like to play a leading role in conserving and enhancing the natural beauty and special qualities of our most treasured landscapes?

“I am looking for a wide range of passionate and committed individuals who want to help shape the strategic direction of our National Park Authorities and AONB Conservation Boards. As a Secretary of State appointed member, you will have the opportunity to help conserve and enhance our most treasured landscapes now and for future generations. I welcome applications from people who have a clear understanding of land management, rural communities, as well as protection and enhancement of the environment.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity

Current recruitment: Ministers are seeking to appoint 12 passionate and committed members to four National Park Authorities; Broads Authority, Lake District, Peak District, New Forest, and one Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the Cotswolds Conservation Board. Secretary of State Members have an important role to play overseeing the management of these special landscapes. They provide leadership and strategic input, at a non-executive level, to the National Park Authorities and AONB Conservation Boards which work to ensure the deliveryof benefits to the national and local communities.

Contact: If you have any questions about the appointments process or would like an informal discussion about the role please contact AlexReid, Defra Public Appointments Team on 020 802 67248; publicappts@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

These positions are non-salaried but certain allowances are available. The time commitment varies between 1 -4 days per month.

For further information about this role and to apply, please visit the Centre for Public Appointments.

Closing date for applications: Noon on 13 May 2019

Download advert –  Secretary of State Vacancy


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 info@cotswolds-nl.org.uk,

Or you can register for free by visiting
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cotswolds-farming-forum-tickets-56790991384


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

*** UPDATE 18 March 2019 – WE ARE NOW CLOSED TO APPLICATIONS ***

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
Email cotswoldsleader@cotswolds-nl.org.uk
Website www.cotswoldsleader.org.uk

 


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: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chasing-darkness-an-evening-with-will-gater-tickets-56785907177


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 https://www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk/looking-after/caring-for-the-cotswolds/projects-supported/

Details of the scheme and downloadable guidance and application forms can be found here; www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk/caring/apply-for-funding

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 Edward.Bonn@cotswolds-nl.org.uk tel: 01451 862032