Dec/Jan 2012: Latest news from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Photo: @ShortTitle@
The latest news from the Cotswolds Conservation Board

Follow CotswoldsAONB on Twitter View CotswoldsAONB on Facebook View CotswoldsAONB on YouTube

Cotswolds AONB eNews
Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Cotswolds AONB eNews, a quarterly newsletter designed to keep you up-to-date on all of the Cotswolds Conservation Board's latest activity, news and insights from across the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Welcome to our Dec/Jan 2012 Update newsletter, bringing you the latest news, developments and events from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Wishing you a very happy New Year from all of us at the Cotswolds Conservation Board.


New guidance for keeping horses and ponies

The Board has published a new guidance leaflet on the keeping of horses and ponies in the Cotswolds AONB.

The new publication identifies the impacts of horses on the landscape, pasture and trees, and draws together advice from local authorities, the British Horse Society, horse owners and equine businesses to provide best practice guidance for the landscape, the environment and the horse.

The leaflet can be downloaded from the publications section of the AONB website:

First Cotswolds Deer Forum takes place

The first Cotswolds Deer Forum was held at Temple Guiting village hall on Thursday 12th January and attended by 30 woodland owners and local landowners.

The aim of the forum was to raise awareness of the impacts of deer and what can be done to reduce them. Speakers from a range of organisations including the Forestry Commission, the Deer Initiative and Cotswold Hills Central Deer Management Group led the discussions around best practice and collaborative action, how deer management groups currently work plus venison projects and deer vehicle collisions. 

The forum was a great success with very positive feedback and comments received from all attendees.  There are now plans to hold another deer forum in the future and to develop a more targeted approach to effective deer management within the Cotswolds.

Magnificent meadows

Stage 1 of ‘Magnificent Meadows’ - a national bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund - was submitted by Plantlife, the national lead partner, just before Christmas. The aim is to secure the future of our wildflower grasslands through a combination of engaging the public and bringing back the wildflowers through grassland restoration projects. Excellent news for our limestone grasslands and those interested in them. The Board is one of the local delivery partners on behalf of the Cotswolds Ecological Network Partnership. The outcome of the stage 1 application will be known in late March.

Woodland awards

The Royal Forestry Society's Woodland Awards will, this year be held in the South West of England with presentations of prizes taking place at Westonbirt Arboretum in July.

There are five categories - multi-purpose woodlands, silviculture, small woodlands, community woodlands and the schools award, with each offering substantial prizes for the winners and runners up. The closing date for entries is 6th March 2012.

Full details of the awards and past winners can be found on the RFS web site – For further details contact Trefor Thompson, RFS Competition Co-ordinator on 01824 704230 or email:

Rural skills programme reaches new heights

A record number of people have been trained in a variety of traditional skills and crafts this year, thanks to growing public interest and an increasing number of courses offered through the Board's rural skills programme.

Since April 2011, 154 people have successfully completed courses in hedgelaying, dry-stone walling, woodland coppicing, lime mortar, blacksmithing, thatching and map & compass.
The new programme for spring/summer 2012 will be announced shortly. See for details.

Course organisers across the Cotswolds can advertise their own rural, countryside or environmental themed courses through the rural skiils website.  Contact David Molloy for further details:

Understanding and enjoying

Walk the Cotswold Way - in South Korea!

Walkers in South Korea are a step closer to walking the Cotswold Way National Trail thanks to the launch of the Cotswolds Korea Friendship Trail which took place in the South Korean island of Jeju Olle.

Along part of the Jeju Olle long distance, coastal walking route, walkers can now find the same waymarked wooden signposts that are used along the Cotswold Way.  The launch of this part of the trail in South Korea follows a similar launch which took place at Stinchcombe Hill last year where a specially marked trail promotes the links with South Korea and marks the completion of this new friendship trail - one of the first in the world.  Similar plans are now underway to launch a new friendship trail with the Bruce Trail in Canada this April.

A downloadable route guide for the Cotswolds Korea Friendship Trail at Stinchcombe Hill is available from

Education programme continues apace

As well as dedicating much time and energy to conservation activities on the ground and leading guided walks, our voluntary wardens have also been busy developing more links with local schools and organisations as part of the ongoing AONB education programme.

A new aspect of this programme involves a new partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust which is being trialled at their Greystones Farm Nature Reserve in Bourton-on-the-Water.  The first school to benefit from this new arrangement is Stow-on-the-Wold Primary School; pupils will be visiting Greystones Farm with the wardens in June to learn more about nature and the countryside through a variety of activities such as stream dipping, bug hunts and animal tracking. 

More countryside educational days are also being organised in other parts of the AONB this year including Chipping Campden, Willersey and Dashwood Primary School in Banbury.

For further details contact Becky Jones:

What are the seven wonders of the Cotswolds?

The Cotswolds AONB has a rich source of natural, geological, historical and cultural attractions – in fact, there are so many that the Cotswolds Conservation Board is looking for help in compiling a ‘Seven Wonders of the Cotswolds’ list.  As well as a great promotional opportunity for the AONB, the final list will be used to create a brand new series of ‘wonder walks’ to help more people access and enjoy the best places in the Cotswolds landscape.

To nominate your own suggestions for a Cotswolds ‘wonder’, simply email, or send via twitter @cotswoldsaonb or by 1 February 2012. The full list will be announced in February 2012 and will then go to a public vote to determine the final seven. All nominations will also go in to a prize draw to win a Cotswolds T shirt and an eco-bag.

People and communities

Funding awarded to Fairytale Farm

A new sensory trail for children with learning and physical disabilities is being developed in the Cotswolds, thanks to an award of over £5,000 from the Sustainable Development Fund.

The trail will be built at Fairytale Farm, a new family activity farm opening this summer near Chipping Norton and aimed at inspiring and educating children with disabilities about the environment around them, including water, land and energy.  This will be the first family farm attraction in the UK where everything is designed around the needs of children with sensory, learning and physical disabilities, but which can also be enjoyed by all children.

Sensory totems, a rain wheel, sensory garden and path, willow tunnel and an enchanted forest with tactile drums are just some of the features of the new trail.

The owners hope that this unique new attraction will benefit both residents of, and visitors to the Cotswolds AONB.

James joins the team as climate change adviser

James Lloyd has been appointed by the Cotswolds Conservation Board to provide climate change adaptation advice and support to farmers and rural businesses across the Cotswolds AONB.
In his new post, which has been established thanks to funding from National Grid, James will be working closely with farmers and rural businesses to identify measures aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity, and demonstrating that sustainable land use can increase profitability. Assisting businesses to access external sources of funding will also be a key part of James’ new role.
James, from Cheltenham, is well known in Gloucestershire’s rural economic development sector having spent five years working as rural development adviser for the Gloucestershire Development Agency.
Contact James on 01451 862033 or email

Opportunities for businesses

Two new, unique opportunities have arisen for businesses wishing to benefit from a closer involvement with the popular Cotswolds AONB Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) and the Cotswold Lion newspaper. 

The SDF, which encourages innovative sustainable development projects to improve the quality of life among local communities, receives more applications than it can fund, meaning that the potential of many good projects are never realised.  With additional funding from local businesses who are keen to demonstrate their support for local community and environmental initiatives, many more worthwhile schemes and projects can be developed to full fruition.

The Cotswold Lion newspaper is a well established and popular publication that has over the past ten years become the 'voice' of the Cotswolds AONB.  An opportunity now exists for businesses and organisations to gain from the wide coverage and publicity that this publication can bring through sponsorship.

Further details are available from Nicola Greaves on 01451 862003 or email:

Student placement schemes offered

Two new student placement opportunities are available at the Cotswolds Conservation Board, for a minimum of 6 months on a part or full time basis, starting from June 2012. The placements are unpaid, but travelling expenses will be met.

The Conservation Board is looking for enthusiastic, well organised and capable undergraduate students to deliver two specific roles:

  • State of Reporting: To develop the evidence base that will be used to underpin the new Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and present this evidence as a 'State of the Cotswolds' report.
  • Sustainable Tourism: To implement a range of activities to help the Board deliver its Sustainable Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.

For further information and application details, visit

Diary dates

Cotswolds Annual Forum

Friday, 2 March 2012,  Bailbrook House Hotel, Bath
Have you booked your place yet?

This year's Annual Forum is entitled 'Ecological networks - Joining forces for nature'  and will feature Professor Sir John Lawton, author of Making Space for Nature, as our keynote speaker. Sir John will be joined by a range of other speakers who will provide examples and case studies on how we can engage with different audiences to help develop an ecological network for the Cotswolds.

Places can be reserved by contacting Margaret Fletcher: or call 01451 862000.

For full programme details, go to:

Cotswolds Farming Forum

Wednesday, 21 March, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester

This year the forum will be looking at food security and the challenges faced by Cotswold farmers, water quality and how farmers can adapt to climate change.

All details are to be finalised.  For further information, please contact Mark Connelly on 01451 862006 or email: