Autumn 2013: Latest news from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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News from the Cotswolds Conservation Board

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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.


New intermediate dry stone walling course in the Cotswolds

A brand new course in dry stone walling is being offered in the Cotswolds aimed at professional wallers wishing to achieve intermediate level certification as well as those looking to improve their skills and knowledge.

The new course run by the Cotswolds Conservation Board and accredited by the national awarding organisation Lantra, will start in October and be held at the Old Prison, Northleach over eight days.

Read more..

It's competition time!

Our annual rural skills competitions are once again taking place this autumn providing an opportunity for hedgelayers and dry stone wallers of all abilities to pit their skills against each other and walk away with the much-coveted trophy.

Cotswolds Open Dry Stone Walling Competition
Sunday 6 October, 8.45am to 4.30pm
Venue: National Trust Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate

North Cotswolds Hedgelaying Competition
Saturday 16th November, 8.30am to 3.30pm
Venue: Tilborough Farm, Chipping Campden

Click here for further details of both competitions and to register online.

Showcasing some of the best examples of climate change adaptation in the Cotswolds

Through our Climate Change Advisory Service and Project Demonstration Fund, we have been helping farms and businesses adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.  The following projects have recently been supported through the Demonstration Fund which is targeted at small businesses and community organisations throughout the Cotswolds AONB:

Greystones Farm Nature Reserve - solar PV
Installation of a solar PV installation on the existing farm outbuildings at the nature reserve in Bourton-on-the-Water to support the mitigation of increasing demands for electricity and to showcase it as an example of renewable energy.
Amount awarded: £10,000

Cotswold Council for Voluntary Service - rainwater harvesting
The installation of a central rainwater harvesting demonstration site at Cirencester to reduce the amount of water used within the organisation for operational activities including washing the fleet of mini-buses and cars. The project will also actively promote climate change mitigation and sustainable businesses through car washing events, training and interpretation materials.
Amount awarded: £2,083

Overbury Farms - agricultural resource management
The purchase of an innovative precision seed drill which will allow this large sheep and arable farm on the slopes of Bredon Hill to trial and demonstrate a new way of using different crops.  The benefits will include reduction of CO2, increase in yields and significant improvements to environmental stewardship and resource management of the land.
Amount awarded: £5,900

Witcombe & Bentham Village Hall - energy efficiency and water conservation
The construction of elemental wall and insulation works plus the incorporation of low flush toilets within the village hall.  This project will substantially reduce the use of grid water and electricity, green house gas emissions, and improve building insulation levels and waste management good practice.
Amount awarded: £7,151

Kiln Barn Farm - improved land drainage
The project includes installation of agricultural land drainage which will improve optimum productivity plus health and welfare, and undertake related environmental improvement activities.
Amount awarded: £3,866

To find out more about the Climate Change Advisory Service and to see some case studies regarding climate change adaptation and mitigation, click here

Understanding and enjoying

Secure future for the Old Prison as the Friends take ownership

After lengthy discussions and negotiations, the Friends of the Cotswolds have become the new owners of the Old Prison at Northleach. They are now looking forward to working with the Conservation Board to turn it into a vibrant visitor centre and heritage asset for the local community, including opening a brand new cafe later this autumn and enhancing the range and number of events taking place throughout the year.

Read more... 

Launch of Cotswolds Visitor Giving Scheme

A brand new tourism initiative has been launched by the Cotswolds Conservation Board aimed at forging even stronger links between the visitor and the area they come to enjoy.
The Cotswolds Visitor Giving scheme is modelled on similar schemes elsewhere, and works through tourism businesses asking their customers for a small voluntary donation via their bill or fees in recognition of their impact on the environment on which the tourism industry relies. The money raised by businesses will go towards a range of landscape and environmental projects across the Cotswolds.

Burford-based Manor Cottages, which operates over 250 holiday cottages throughout the Cotswolds, was the first business to sign up to the scheme and is looking forward to playing its part in helping to look after the Cotswolds.


Our Land continues to grow

The innovative sustainable tourism initiative, Our Land (, which celebrates the diversity of its AONBs and National Parks and is funded through the Rural Development Program for England, is continuing to grow throughout the Cotswolds as well as extending to other protected areas across the country.

With over 100 carefully chosen businesses across the Cotswolds AONB participating in Our Land, the website features 152 different Cotswolds products and experiences all aimed at showing visitors how they can enjoy the special qualities of the Cotswolds while reducing their impact on the environment.  The scheme has also now grown by including 21 protected areas across England and in Northern Ireland, with many more keen to get involved.

To help businesses improve their own knowledge and understanding of the Cotswolds AONB, the Conservation Board has organised a programme of events specifically aimed at tourism providers. A wildflower grassland day at Minchinhampton & Rodborough Commons, a landscape features walk along part of the Cotswold Way on Leckhampton Hill plus a photography workshop at the National Trust’s Lodge Park have all been well-received by businesses. Other similar events are being planned later this year and into 2014.

New guides and publications

The Annual Review 2012/13 – a summary of the work and achievements of the Conservation Board during the last financial year.  

The Autumn/Winter Cotswold Lion features a range of interesting articles on the AONB as well as the popular guided walks programme.

Management Plan 2013-18 Summary – a useful overview of the recently published Cotswolds AONB Management Plan 2013-18.

The Cotswolds AONB Visitor Map & Guide is a brand new publication designed to showcase the special features of the AONB and encourage wider exploration of the AONB.

Cotswold Chef Rob Rees to appear at Escape to the Cotswolds visitor centre

A unique opportunity to listen to one of the UK's leading chefs, Rob Rees MBE, will take place at the Escape to the Cotswolds visitor centre, in the Old Prison, Northleach on 2 October.

Known for his passion about locally produced food and dedicated to creating a better food culture for Britain, the ‘Cotswold Chef’ is guaranteed to provide an entertaining and inspiring talk.

Read more..

People and communities

Supporting local projects through the Sustainable Development Fund

The Board is delighted to be supporting the following community and environmental projects through the latest round of Sustainable Development Fund awards:

Kingswood Food Hub – the development of a centre promoting sustainable living to communities in the Kingswood area near Wotton-under-Edge. The project provides a healthy eating option for local residents as well as a retail outlet for local food producers.
Amount awarded: £5,500

Cotswolds Seven Day Cycling Holiday Guide – a series of promoted cycle routes in the South Cotswolds area which together form a pilot seven day cycling holiday guide. The routes are circular and allow visitors to join at various points along the way.
Amount awarded: £3,000

Star Camping Pods – the installation of a pair of camping pods on a coppice woodland site in the grounds of the National Star College near Cheltenham. The pods will be adjacent to the Cotswold Way, providing much-needed low cost accommodation in this area.
Amount awarded: £6,000

Energy Detectives - an educational programme delivered by Severn Wye Energy on the subject of sustainable energy. The project involves working with pupils and staff to identify energy consumption of the schools, looking at ways this can be reduced and implementing the changes.  A bespoke monitoring system will be utilised by staff and pupils.
Amount awarded: £4,500

Chalford Community Stores Relocation Project - the purchase and refurbishment of a new premises for the local village shop in Chalford.  The shop will sell local produce and include a post office as well as an internet access area. As part of the move, the shop will begin a new delivery service enabling home-delivered groceries.
Amount awarded: £8,000

Sustrans Cotswold Line Cycle Route - the creation of a new cycle route through the north Cotswolds area following the Cotswolds railway line. The linear route will enable users to access the cycle way from the numerous railway stations along the route.
Amount awarded: £2,400

New appointments to the Board

The Board welcomes the following new local authority appointees:

  • Mollie Groom, is the new appointee for Wiltshire Council.
  • Nick Hurst is the new appointee for Stroud District Council
  • Charles Mathew is the new appointee for Oxfordshire County Council
  • Roger Wilson is the new appointee for Gloucestershire County Council

Upcoming Courses

Blacksmithing Improvers - Tongs forging **COURSE FULL**
26th March 2019 - Northleach

LANTRA Brushcutter/Trimmers - Maintenance and Operation
4th April 2019 - Northleach, Gloucestershire

Dry Stone Walling - Beginners **COURSE FULL**
6th April 2019 - 7th April 2019 - Lansdown, Bath

Spoon Carving
6th April 2019 - Northleach, Gloucestershire

Blacksmithing - Taster Day
9th April 2019 - Northleach

Stone Carving - Beginners **COURSE FULL**
13th April 2019 - 14th April 2019 - Northleach