The Cotswold Voluntary wardens surpassed all previous conservation efforts by working a record number of hours last year.

The wardens form the voluntary arm of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, the organisation that exists to oversee the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Hundreds of Cotswold Wardens give up many hours of their time every year to carry out essential practical work across the AONB.

In 2006-7 the wardens worked 40,577 hours, five thousand more than the previous year.

In addition to their conservation efforts such as maintaining well trodden walking routes, building bridges and restoring stone stiles, the wardens lead hundreds of guided walks every year, attend summer county shows and give talks about their work.

Head Warden Colin Boulton said:

"The commitment of the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens is unwavering, year in year out they demonstrate their keen appreciation of and connection with the Cotswold landscape. Their efforts often go unseen but the fruits of their labour are enjoyed by many who visit the area.

Whether it be an easier walking experience along a much loved route or an enjoyable afternoon spent on a guided walk there is no doubt that the benefits the Cotswold Wardens bring to the AONB are significant."

In all during 2006-7, the wardens led 292 guided walks attended by 3,800 people, planted 871 trees, worked on 23 grassland sites, planted 772 metres of hedges and repaired / rebuilt 596 metres of wall. They installed 68 stiles, 105 gates, 22 bridges and 110 steps and cleared 25 kms of path.