The Cotswold Lion Cafe is a hit with local residents

When local residents were invited to ‘Meet the Cotswold Lion’ at the new Cotswold Lion cafe yesterday, it proved to be a big hit with hundreds passing through the doors of the Old Prison in Northleach.

The new cafe has opened just four months after the Friends of the Cotswolds were officially handed the keys to the Old Prison by Cotswold District Council, marking the next exciting stage towards the full realisation of this heritage community facility.

The Cotswold Lion Cafe, which is run by the Cotswolds Conservation Board who oversee the management of the Old Prison, prides itself on promoting locally sourced food from across the Cotswolds all of which is home-made on site. One hundred per cent of the profits from the café are reinvested by the Board in conserving, enhancing, understanding and enjoying the Old Prison and the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The event was held yesterday to show the local community how much progress there has been since the decision was made two years ago by Cotswold District Council to put the Old Prison on the market. It was also a way of thanking the community for the support and enthusiasm shown over the last couple of years.

As well as viewing a range of local crafts, gifts and rural skills demonstrations, visitors had the opportunity to sample the new menu at the cafe and meet a real Cotswold Lion courtesy of Steve Parks, former Chairman of the Cotswolds Sheep Society who has raised his own flock of Cotswold Lions since 1999.

The event also saw the launch of brand new book 'The Old Prison - The Story of the House of Correction at Northleach' by local historian Michael Banks.

Chairman of the Friends of the Cotswolds, Simon Randall said: "This is a huge step forward towards our goal of developing the Old Prison into a vibrant visitor centre and heritage facility for the community. We are working closely with the Conservation Board on future plans and look forward to sharing our ideas with others in the new year.

Vice Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, Liz Eyre said: “The opening of the Cotswold Lion Cafe is an exciting new venture for the Board which helps us to promote the importance of locally sourced food. We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the local community who have shown so much interest and enthusiasm for our work with the Old Prison.”


Photograph attached: Simon Randall, Chairman of the Friends of the Cotswolds with Liz Eyre, Vice Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board and Diana Ray, owner of Living Green in Bourton on the Water and active supporter and volunteer for the Old Prison.

Notes to editors:

  • The Cotswold Lion Cafe is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9.30am to 4.30pm (from 9am on Saturday and Sunday).
  • Visiting the Cafe allows people to view the Rural Life Collection plus visit the ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ visitor centre and exhibition about the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. 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.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: