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Projects Update

Autumn 2023

Christmas came early!

One of two rare and native Black Poplar trees at Greystones Farm. Thanks to a Caring for the Cotswolds grant, a project will go ahead to grow 100 new Black Poplar trees © Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

One of two rare and native Black Poplar trees at Greystones Farm. Thanks to a Caring for the Cotswolds grant, a project will go ahead to grow 100 new Black Poplar trees © Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

This Autumn we have been wrapping up the 2023 Caring for the Cotswolds grants round.

We opened to applications for a new funding round in June with a massive £20,000 to spend, and we managed to get early Christmas presents out to 11 organisations by confirming funding for next year. A wide range of applications came in for projects benefiting the Cotswolds National Landscape and the communities within, from a variety of organisations including Parish Councils, Community Groups, Charities and Not-for-Profits. In early Autumn, we reviewed, researched and readied the applications for panel scoring.

Youth Panel

This year, we had a focus on involving youth voice in our decision-making, following on from the previous round’s successful test run of a ‘Caring for the Cotswolds Youth Panel’. We teamed up with Creative Sustainability and their Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group, who were keen to get involved in the 2023 panel.

We were joined by 10 young people, aged 13-25, for a rewarding day of decision-making. The young people started the day with a guided walk up Robinswood Hill, and then got stuck in with discussions and debates over two and a half hours to form a set of recommendations – giving them experience of budgeting and decision-making processes.

The scoring and recommendations from the youth panel were sent to our grants panel, consisting of CNL board members.

Read more about our youth panel and hear feedback from one of the members in our ‘Latest News’ section – https://www.cotswolds-nl.org.uk/about-us/latest-news/

Grants Panel

As the wet and windy weather started to come in at the end of November, the grants panel met to officially allocate the budget to this year’s applicants.

The Cotswolds National Landscape board members allocated £19,519 to 11 projects across the Cotswolds, which broadly mirrored the Youth Panel’s recommendations. The new projects include initiatives to increase the rare, native black poplar tree, and restore ponds and ancient orchards. Other projects will improve footpath networks for residents and visitors, and support minority groups in their local community by offering gardening education sessions to adults with learning disabilities.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

We send our thanks to our incredible business members, who are committed to keeping the Cotswolds a special place to live, work and visit. Without their donations, we would not be able to support these amazing projects, all of which would have greatly struggled to get off the ground without a Caring for the Cotswolds grant. A special thank you to Cotswolds Distillery, Cotswolds Farm Park, Go Cotswolds, Country Walkers, VBT Bicycling Vacations and Heath Farm Cottages for their recent donations.

 

Spring 2023

A test of resilience

The highly threatened Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly, pictured here jostling for position as the adult butterflies emerge in spring © Chris Tracy 

This beautiful butterfly was once widespread but has declined by 95% since the 1970s, and is now highly threatened in England and Wales. In Gloucestershire, the butterfly is restricted to the Bathurst Estate woodlands and it is here that a Caring for the Cotswolds grant has supported targeted habitat management work, including the planting of 700 violets; the butterfly’s food plant. The grant also supported an interpretation board so that people can learn about this threatened butterfly when they visit the site. 

The right habitat is crucial; coppiced woodland where the butterflies foodplant can grow and they can bask and nectar in the open sunny conditions. Therefore, a continuous cycle of coppicing is the ideal situation. The local branch members of Butterfly Conservation have been coppicing small patches of the Bathurst Woodlands for many years and it’s really thanks to their sterling work the butterfly has been given a lifeline. More recently, FWAG volunteers have also been helping out.  

The population is very dependent on good spring weather so the numbers fluctuate year by year. In the last three years, the warm spring weather has enabled some butterflies to spread into new areas. However, the cold, wet spring of 2023 is likely to result in fewer butterflies. This demonstrates the fragility of threatened species and the need to make the network of wildlife sites bigger, better, and more joined up. This is more important than ever in the face of climate change.  

Finances: in 2022-23 a record number of projects completed and claimed their grants, totalling £20,845 paid to 13 organisations across the Cotswolds!

Winter 2022-23

What a comeback!
Photo of very rusty crane on wheelsPhoto of restored crane derusted and painted pale grey, in its new resting place in Bath

Take a look at these amazing before and after photos that give an insight into the Cotswolds industrial past. The newly restored Stothert & Pitt crane, thought to be the oldest surviving example in the world, is now on display in Bath. The restoration was made possible through the hard work of volunteers from The Bath Stone Museum Quarry Trust and a grant from our very own Caring for the Cotswolds scheme. All photos © Peter Dunn.

Long Newnton Parish Council – Project complete! – Wild flower verge creation and management over three years. This project featured on BBC Points West in summer 2022.

Tysoe Parish Council – Project complete! – Community engagement and conservation project that ran over the course of 2022.

Radway Parish Council – Project complete! – Churchyard restoration and interpretation of war graves in this nationally significant churchyard.

Bradford on Avon Town Council – Project complete! – Towards a tree survey and bat, bird and mammal boxes at Becky Addy Woods.

Yatton Keynell Parish Council – Project complete! – improvements to the village pond including a survey, planting, fencing and wildflower sowing with lots of help from the local primary school students!