European Day of Parks 2010 - Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty celebrates International Year of Biodiversity

Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is joining national parks, AONBs and other protected landscapes in countries across Europe to help celebrate European Day of Parks 2010.

All this week, a range of guided walks are taking place throughout the Cotswolds, providing people with many opportunities to enjoy nature and our surrounding countryside.

Free guided walks around Wychwood Forest, the Macmillan Way and Little Compton are on offer by the Cotswolds Voluntary Wardens this week, while this weekend Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will be exploring the night time world of Midger Nature Reserve. With half term upon us, there is also the chance for families to explore Little Solsbury Hill this Sunday for a range views across Bath as well as a chance to discover more about this historic area.

Martin Lane, Director for the Cotswolds Conservation Board, said: “This is a great opportunity to learn more about the many beautiful areas of the Cotswolds AONB, the flora and fauna they support and their importance for us all. The events are also a fun way for the whole family to explore the great outdoors”.

The European Day of Parks was created by the EUROPARC Federation, the umbrella organisation for Europe’s protected areas, to raise the profile of these green gems and generate public support for their aims and work. Since it was launched in 1999 many protected landscapes have taken advantage of this opportunity and hundreds of themed events have been held across Europea each year on and around the 24th May. The date is significant because it is the day the first European national park was founded in Sweden in 1909.

This year, the hundreds of special events across Europe connected to the theme ‘Biodiversity and People: Space for Nature?’ will celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity.

Notes to editors:

  • The United Nations proclaimed 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity,
  • The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
  • The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) 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 second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park. 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.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of the family of 47 AONBs in the UK. For further details: