The Cotswold landscape is improving according to a team of experts who spent five years between 1998 and 2003 monitoring changes in the English countryside.

The Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape report, produced by Natural England, English Heritage and Defra, revealed that the quality of England's landscape is changing when measured against seven criteria: woods, hedges and drystone walls, rivers, farming, wild open spaces and housing developments.

The report which was produced as part of a project called Countryside Quality Counts focused on the Cotswolds Joint Character Area and concluded that overall the Cotswolds was being well maintained and is improving as a landscape area.

Dr Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England said: "Some of our treasured landscapes are suffering decline and neglect.

"We want to celebrate the countryside's local accent such as honey coloured drystone walls in the Cotswolds and the hedgerows of the Midlands.

"The Countryside Quality Counts Indicators allow us to monitor change and to identify the pressures causing it that will help guide policies to help ensure that the wider countryside does not slip away quietly unnoticed and unmourned."