More grants to conserve the Cotswolds

£224,500 has been awarded to local farmers and landowners by the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership.

The grants are part of the Partnership's £2.8m 'Caring for the Cotswolds' project which has attracted £1.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The grants will help conserve limestone grassland and dry stone walls, both of which are important features of the area.

£29,500 has been given to seven areas of grassland including Uley Bury, Rodborough Common, Strawberry Banks and Iles Green Meadow.

£195,000 has been given to help repair 24 dry stone walls including walls at Cold Aston, Badminton, Hawkesbury Upton, Northleach, Upper Slaughter and Limpley Stoke.

Jenny Phelps, grassland project officer for the AONB Partnership explained:

"The Cotswolds contains over half of the country's Jurassic limestone grassland, which host a wide range of wildlife, including wild flowers.

"To avoid these precious grassland sites reverting to woodland they need to be managed and the most effective way of doing this is by grazing.

"The grants will help to fund fencing and water supplies for the grazing livestock, as well as helping local farmers to diversify into traditional breeds - the animals graze the grassland sites and create Cotswold products such as cheese and meat."

Jonathan Gahan, dry stone wall project officer for the Partnership said:

"Dry stone walls are a well recognised feature of the Cotswolds and we are helping to conserve them by awarding grants to part-fund repairs in target areas."

The latest round brings the total dry stone wall and grassland grants awarded to date to more than £400,000.

For more details about the 'Caring for the Cotswolds' grants call the Cotswolds AONB Partnership on 01451 862000.