A celebratory beer has been produced to mark four decades of conservation and enhancement of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Pubs and shops across the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will soon be selling 'Cotswold Lion Beer', brewed to mark four decades of protected landscape status for the Cotswolds.

The pale fruit ale has been produced by Hook Norton Brewery in partnership with the Cotswolds Conservation Board, the organisation which works to conserve and enhance the Cotswolds AONB.

The media are invited to a press launch of the new beer at Hook Norton Brewery shop on July 26th at 1pm. Food and beer will be provided and it will be possible to tour the brewery. There will be a Cotswold Lion sheep at the event and opportunities for photographs.

Available in bottles and on draught, the beer will be on sale in Hook Norton pubs throughout the Brewery Estate and around 300 other pubs, off-licences and shops across the Cotswolds AONB. The area covers 790 sq miles (2,038 sq kms) stretching from south Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire, and West Oxfordshire down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.

Managing Director of Hook Norton Brewery James Clarke said:

"We were pleased to be asked to produce the beer as we are one of only two family -owned breweries left in the Cotswolds."

Cotswold Lion beer celebrates four decades of AONB status for the Cotswolds. The legal designation which was made back in 1966 to conserve and enhance the unique landscape has ensured that the nature of change in the Cotswolds has been in keeping with the distinct character of the area.

The name of the beer is taken from the Cotswold Lion sheep that serves as the Cotswolds Conservation Board's logo and mascot. Known today simply as Cotswolds sheep, the breed is descended from the flocks that grazed the Cotswold Hills in Roman Times.

Cotswold Lions achieved outstanding success as wool producers during the middle ages when Cotswold wool became a major export. The famous wool churches built by wealthy merchants in the AONB remain as lasting evidence of the breed's medieval importance. The Cotswolds landscape as we know it today was quite literally shaped by sheep farming and hence wool production.

Hook Norton Brewery has kindly agreed to donate 5p off the top of every bottle of Cotswold Lion beer sold, to conservation work in the Cotswolds AONB.


Notes to editors:

You can find out more about Hook Norton Brewery at www.hooky.co.uk

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members, 17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed by Government.

This year the Cotswolds Conservation Board is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the AONB, which became a protected landscape back in 1966.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.

With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the largest of 40 AONBs in England and Wales and is protected to ensure that its beauty and special character are conserved. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.

Contact: Claire Cunningham Information and Interpretation Officer

Tel: 01451 862003

Cotswolds Conservation Board

The Old Police Station Cotswold Heritage Centre Northleach Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 862000

Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk