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Hare Trail News…

This ‘eye catching’ Hare is about to spring into action!

130 Hares of various sizes are starting their steady march across the Cotswolds, for the launch of the new 2018 Cotswolds AONB Hare Trail on 22nd May 2018.

The Trail Passport ready to download from the Cotswolds Hair Trail website from Tuesday 22 May –

Vacancies at the Board

Recruitment of 6 new Secretary of State members

The Secretary of State, Michael Gove, and Lord Gardiner are seeking to appoint six passionate and committed members to the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

Lord Gardiner states “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.”

UPDATE: The closing date for applications has been extended, and is now noon on 16th April.

Click here to read more


VOTE NOW for your favourite National Trail…

Restored Stone File on Cotswold Way

A battle between the 15 National Trails has commenced!

Our 15 National Trails across England and Wales, including the Cotswold Way, offer a choice of scenery, physical challenge, wildlife, local culture and more. Following on from ITV’s recent television programme ‘Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100’ it would be great to hear which Trails attract the most public affection currently. You have until the end of March to cast your vote in the Facebook poll!

To cast your vote visit – then just click on the photo of your favourite trail (Cotswold Way of course), and click on the green confirm button at the bottom of the page.

Cotswolds Farming Forum

Successful Cotswolds Farming Forum

The Cotswolds Conservation Board held its annual Cotswolds Farming Forum on Tuesday 6th March. Chaired by James Cox, Deputy Chairman, Gloucestershire NFU, over 80 farmers, land managers and advisors from across the Cotswolds attended the event held at the Royal Agricultural University.

Hot on the heels of the Government’s 25 year plan to improve the environment and   the recently published consultation seeking comments on the future shape of the post-Brexit agricultural policy and environmental scheme, the Forum explored the goods and services Cotswold farmers could be selling to the public in place of the current Basic Payment Scheme and Environmental Stewardship Scheme as we move towards the post-Brexit era.

Paul Silcock, Managing Director of Cumulus Consultants gave an overview of the goods and services Cotswold farms provide for private and public markets. Two services were then explored in more detail.

Jo Old, Environment Agency Catchment Co-ordinator for the Evenlode and Ock and Vaughan Lewis, Windrush AEC Ltd spoke about flood management in the Evenlode and Sarah Olney, Thames Water Agricultural Catchment Adviser on whose soil is it anyway?

The presentations, available below, were followed by a lively discussion.

Vacancies at the Board

Job Vacancy: Communications Officer

An opportunity to join a multi-disciplinary team working in one of the country’s finest landscapes, the Cotswolds Conservation Board is seeking a highly motivated communications officer.

You will raise awareness of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation and increase the understanding and enjoyment of this special landscape as well as raise the profile of the work of the Board among its diverse audiences.

You will be the first point of contact for the Board’s communications activity, oversee the interpretation and visitor facilities at the Cotswolds Discovery Centre, Northleach and work with industry and public sector partners to lead a series of sustainable tourism initiatives.

Click here to read more

Recruitment of an Executive Group Member for the Cotswolds LEADER Local Action Group

A superb opportunity to contribute to the operation of the Cotswolds LEADER programme.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board and its partners are operating a £2 million LEADER programme, with the programme due to operate through to March 2020.

The LEADER priorities of generating jobs and growth cover: micro-enterprises and farm diversification, rural tourism, culture and heritage, rural services, increasing farm productivity and increasing forestry productivity.

Click here to read more

Independent research into housing development

Today sees the publication of an independent review by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) of housing development in England’s AONBs. 

The Review by Dave Dixon, Neil Sinden and Tim Crabtree is based on data collected by Glenigan covering planning applications and approvals for major housing development (over 10 housing units) in and near to AONBs between 2012-2017, including the Cotswolds.

National policy for AONBs centres on the need to conserve and enhance natural beauty, particularly in the execution of planning functions by public bodies. However, the Cotswolds AONB is facing unprecedented pressure from housing development.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board sets out a vision for future management of the AONB in a five year Management Plan with clear objectives and policies, which guides the Board in exercising its responsibilities. There is a strong emphasis on partnership working and the need for public bodies to fulfil their commitment to work towards helping to conserve and enhance the AONB.

The Board has a number of position statements that amplify the AONB’s Management Plan policies and provide detailed guidance on land management. The position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public.

“This joint study is welcome support to the Board’s own concerns about development pressures within and adjacent to the Cotswolds AONB. The Cotswolds is a living and working landscape.  The report highlights the significant pressures it is facing, seeing the highest number of major housing schemes and second largest increase in the number of new housing units completed across the country’s AONBs for the study period, many of these as a result of speculative planning applications.

Securing the appropriate scale, location and design of growth and development within one of the country’s most special and iconic landscapes is an ongoing responsibility for the areas 15 local authorities and Conservation Board” said Liz Eyre, Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

“AONBs are outstanding landscapes of national value and significance.  In its forthcoming review of the National Planning Policy Framework, CPRE looks to the government to state a presumption against large scale housing development in AONBs.

Demand for housing or the lack of a five year housing land supply should not justify inappropriate development in our finest landscapes” said Richard Lloyd, Vice-Chairman of CPRE Gloucestershire Branch

“This shows the importance of taking into account the cumulative impact of development.  The Cotswolds is one of our most precious landscapes and we must avoid it being undermined in dribs and drabs.  The report will be of particular interest in West Oxfordshire where there are a number of applications for development in the AONB due to be decided in the next month” said Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE Oxfordshire Branch.

Enter Photography Competition

Could you become Cotswolds Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017?

Cotswolds photography competition to inspire young and old alike to get outdoors and record how enriching and inspiring the AONB landscape is.

Calling all amateur photographers! Get out your cameras and enter this year’s ‘Cotswolds Landscape Photographer of the Year’ competition – you could win some great prizes.

We are looking for the most captivating local landscape images. This year’s theme is ‘The Cotswolds – England’s Walking and Exploring Capital’.

Click here to enter the the competition. Deadline 31st December 2017. 

Cotswolds AONB Hedgelaying Competition 2017

Every year the Cotswolds Conservation Board runs the Cotswolds AONB Hedgelaying Championship with the support of the National Hedgelaying Society. Winners in each class receive prize money and a trophy and 2nd-3rd places receive prize money.The competition is free to enter and has the following classes (Midland style):

Junior, Beginners and Novice

Entries are now being taken for the 2017 championship which will be held on Saturday 18th November at Workham Farm, Fifield, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 6HS

To find out more and to download an entry form visit

Cotswold Way now on Google Street View

Staff from the Cotswolds Conservation Board have been busy capturing the 102 mile Cotswold Way National Trail last summer for Google Trekker to feature on their maps.  It’s a journey that started in

Chipping Campden in August walking with a series of 16 cameras mounted in a green shell, carried like a rucksack. The Trekker sparked some interest by visitors as it approached the centre of Bath, completing the journey. 

Google Trekker is the next generation of ‘street view maps’.

You can view each section of the Cotswold Way National Trail by following the links below:


Cotswolds Conservation Board reflects on the year looking after one of the nation’s important landscapes

Over 50,000 hours of conservation and wildflower restoration work by volunteers, creating 11 new jobs in local businesses and engaging 1,500 young people with nature are just some of the success stories in the recently published Annual Review 2016/17 by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board, which looks after the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) marked its 50th anniversary of being designated as a protected landscape in 2016. This gave the Board a huge opportunity to increase awareness to an ever increasing and diverse audience of stakeholders of the special qualities of this nationally important landscape: Rich in farming, tourism and nature but hugely important for the UK’s economy.

2016/17 Success stories:

  •  2,536 hours of restoration work by volunteers at 36 wildflower grassland sites,
  •  48,338 hours of conservation work by voluntary wardens equated to an estimated value of £322,000,
  • 553 people trained on over 70 rural skills courses,
  • 402,994 unique visits to the Board’s websites,
  • 44,523 visitors to the Cotswolds Discovery Centre,
  • 4833 people enjoying free guided walks,
  •  Over 12,000 people following the Cotswolds AONB on social media,
  •  2,000 visitors to the Cotswolds Living Landscape Festival.

As well as reviewing the past year, the Annual Review also looks at the year ahead and the future priorities for the Board, which include reviewing and consulting on the AONB Management Plan and protecting and investing in the natural capital of the Cotswolds.

The Board’s Chairman Liz Eyre said: “The Board has been working to deliver real benefits for residents and visitors – and indeed for the country as a whole.

I am delighted to present this excellent record with sincere thanks to all those who have helped to deliver these benefits”.

The Board are proud members of the national family of Protected Landscapes, incorporating both National Parks and AONBs and are third largest of those special places after the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales. The Cotswolds Conservation Board offers exceptional value for money and the economic activity and jobs linked to the Cotswolds landscape mean that the area is so much more than just a lovely view.

The Annual Review summarises the work undertaken by the Board’s staff, members, volunteers and partner organisations during the last financial year.  Despite economically challenging times, the support and partnership working across the area has continued to bring a wide range of benefits to the Cotswolds AONB and its local communities.

You can view the Annual Review by clicking here or download the info-graphic to see how the Board has made a difference in 2016/17.