February/March 2010 Update

Photo: @ShortTitle@
Report on the Board's activities

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Welcome to the latest news from the Cotswolds Conservation Board



Gas pipeline from Wormington to Sapperton

In January, interviews took place to appoint an independent consultant funded by National Grid, to monitor and report to the Board environmental issues arising from the construction of the pipeline through the AONB. The interview panel, which included the Board’s Planning Officer, Malcolm Watt, and representatives from National Grid, have appointed Mike Frost of Entec.

Details regarding the distribution of National Grid funding for projects are being finalised and will be available in three parts. These include a minimum of £100,000 for community projects administered by National Grid, a sum of £86,000 +/- 10% for Board projects, and a minimum of £300,000 for dry stone walling projects. Further details of criteria and eligibility will be available shortly.

Construction of the pipeline is scheduled to commence in April with completion in October 2010.  For further details, contact Malcolm Watt on 01451 862004.

Keeping of horses guidance

A position statement on the keeping of horses and ponies has been published by the Board. The statement helps to raise awareness of both positive and negative impacts of keeping horses in the Cotswolds and seeks to promote best practice in horse husbandry for the benefit of the environment, the community and the horse. It also aims to provide guidance for planning authorities to help ensure that a consistent approach is taken across the AONB.
Click here to view the position statement on the Board’s website.

Farming Forum

This year’s Farming Forum will take place on the evening of 10th March at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. The theme of the event is the future of farming and forestry in the Cotswolds, and will include discussions and presentations based on the impact of climate change and globalisation on farming and forestry. One of the guest speakers at the Forum will be Paul Silcock of Cumulus Consultants who will be presenting the findings of the study the Board commissioned last year.

For further details, contact Mark Connelly, Land Management Officer.

Hedgelaying courses

Nineteen people took part in two weekend hedgelaying courses during December and January, including 6 voluntary wardens from the Central District workparty.

The courses, which are taught in the Midland style and aimed at beginners, provided the trainees with the basic skills including clearing, trimming, cutting and laying the pleacher, staking and binding.

A further weekend course is taking place on 6 February at Rissington.

Guidance on roadside management for parish councils

An abridged version of the Board’s position statement on The Management of Roadside Verges has been developed specifically for use by parish councils and other groups managing rural roadside verges in and around villages in the AONB.

Click here to view the guide on the AONB website, along with rest of the Board’s full position statements.

Understanding and enjoying

Sustainable tourism in our finest landscapes

Tourism businesses from the Cotswolds were invited to a workshop on 28 January at Eynsham Hall to learn more about a new project aimed at increasing the profile of the South East’s Protected Landscapes as visitor destinations through sustainable tourism development.

The project, co-ordinated by the South East Protected Landscapes (SEPL) Group with support from Tourism South East and SEEDA, aims to work with rural enterprises to create and market a number of tourism packages or experiences which are strongly rooted in the special qualities of each of the 9 Protected Landscapes in the South East.

The packages identified for the Cotswolds AONB and which formed the basis of discussion at the workshop are centred on rural skills, green tourism and cycling. Businesses attending the workshop were very enthusiastic about the project, and keen to give it their support in the future.  This is the first phase of a two phase project which is hoping to secure funding from Defra’s Rural Development Programme, and is dependent on industry support. If successful, the project will start this summer.

Biodiversity events 2010

Over 30 walks and activities are already planned for this year’s themed events as part of the Board’s celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity. Guided walks, talks and family activities are being organised by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the National Trust for the Cotswolds Bluebell Weekend (24-25 April), Wildflowers Week (12-20 June) and Rivers Week (4-12 September).

All events will be promoted on the Board’s website, in the Spring/Summer 2010 edition of the Cotswold Lion as well as via the distribution of flyers and posters.


Cotswold Way Discovery Project

Following on from the successful pilot education project by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens last year,  a new education project is being developed to help teachers and children learn more about the nature, activities, history and landscape along the Cotswold Way National Trail.

The web-based, interactive resource which is being designed by Stroud-based Footprint Interpretation Design Consultancy, will follow two distinct styles. One will be aimed at teachers and consist of formal curriculum-linked lesson plans, while the other will be aimed at children and parents and provide a series of informal, self-guided activities.

The new resource will be finalised in March and launched in June, when they will be available on both the National Trail and AONB websites. For further information, contact James Blockley, Cotswold Way National Trail Officer.

People and communities

My Countryside application

The ‘My Countryside’ bid to Natural England for lottery funding through the Access to Nature Scheme was submitted on 22 January.

The Board is extremely grateful to all the people from across the Cotswolds and surrounding areas who contributed to and supported the bid. The outcome is expected by the end of June 2010.

Access to Nature is an oversubscribed competitive scheme therefore the success of the application will depend on how the panel views the project in relation to other competing schemes. However, a lot of ideas, connections and goodwill have been generated by the production of this bid, therefore the Board will continue to work together to try and make these activities happen.

The full bid and all the supporting papers have been placed on the Board’s website and can be seen by clicking here.

Annual Forum

This year’s Annual Forum will take place on Friday 26 February at the award-winning and eco-friendly Toddington Village Hall.

The theme of this year’s event is Climate Change – the future of farming and forestry in the Cotswolds. Keynote speakers include: Defra’s Robin Mortimer, Director of Climate Change Adaptation, Air Quality, Landscape & Rural Affairs; Jim Smyllie, Executive Director, Regional Delivery at Natural England; Dr Mark Broadmeadow, Climate Change Programme Manager at the Forestry Commission; and Paul Cottington, Environment Advisor with the NFU. There will also be 3 case studies showing how farmers and landowners have been adapting to climate change and globalisation.

For further details of the event, contact Nicola Greaves, Information & Interpretation Officer.

New Rural Skills and Grants Officer appointed

Interviews for the new post of Rural Skills and Grants Officer were held in December and David Molloy has been appointed.

David, who starts on 8 February, joins the Board from Oxfordshire County Council where he has been a Countryside Tasks Assistant.  Prior to joining OCC, David worked for Chichester Harbour AONB as a Ranger and for Hampshire CC as Paths Partnership Officer.

Whilst he will work for the Board for 3 days a week he will continue to work 2 days a week for OCC.

David studied at Bournemouth University (Environmental & Conservation Biology) and now lives in Chipping Norton.