Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Spring 2014 Update

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Latest 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.


Saving our Magnificent Meadows

The Board has been successful in its joint bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and has received an award for the restoration of and engagement of people in wildflower-rich grasslands in the Cotswolds.
Saving Our Magnificent Meadows (SoMM) is the first national biodiversity heritage project funded by the HLF, and the Cotswolds Conservation Board is one of 10 national partners coordinated by Plantlife.
The Cotswolds element of the project will focus on the restoration of flower-rich limestone grasslands within the Cotswold Scarp and Cotswold River Valleys Nature Improvement Areas. Two new members of staff will be recruited shortly to deliver SoMM in the Cotswolds over the next three years.
For further details contact Mark Connelly.

Understanding and enjoying

A Destination Management Plan for the Cotswolds

Local authorities and the Conservation Board have joined forces to develop a single Destination Management Plan for the whole of the Cotswolds which aims to ensure that all those with a stake in the tourism industry work together to achieve the destination's objectives and deliver a better service for visitors.
Through a partnership approach, a destination can achieve a more effective use and management of resources, enhance the quality of the visitor experience, improve the performance of businesses, manage and monitor the impacts on local communities and the environment as well as improve opportunities for funding. The vision of the plan seeks to achieve a 5% sustainable growth of the visitor economy over the next decade and improve the ranking of the Cotswolds from number six to number three in the VisitEngland list of top performing destinations. The plan also outlines the need for a new partnership to be in place by April 2015.

The consultation phase has now ended and a final version of the plan will be available soon. For further details contact Nicola Greaves.

Launching the Cotswolds Discoverer

The integrated bus and rail ticketing scheme, the Cotswolds Discoverer, will be launched on 28 March at Moreton-in-Marsh station following a successful two-year pilot.
Working in partnership with First Great Western, local bus companies, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire County Councils, and Cotswolds Tourism, the Discoverer was set up by the Board in 2012 with the aim of encouraging greater use of the public transport network by visitors to the Cotswolds. With either a 1-day Discoverer ticket (£10) or a 3-day (£25), many parts of the Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire areas of the Cotswolds can be explored by bus and by rail.
The scheme has seen encouraging ticket sales and has been well received by partners, all of whom have committed to continue to support it into the future.  

To find out more:

The Cotswold Lion is out!

The Spring/Summer 2014 Cotswold Lion has been published. In this issue you will find topical articles on the centenary celebrations of Laurie Lee and World War I, features on the National Trust, and the heyday of the Cotswold woollen industry, plus the popular guided walks and events programme.
To download a copy click here or pick up a copy from your nearest visitor information centre or library.

News from the Old Prison

Since the new Cotswold Lion Cafe opened at the Old Prison, Northleach in November, business has been very encouraging as an increasing number of people discover the mouth-watering range of home-baked cakes and savoury delights on offer. The cafe has already increased its opening hours, having recently moved from a six-day to a seven-day opening to meet demand (9.30am – 4.30pm). Regular promotions such as Mums & Toddlers mornings, OAPs and family meal deals are attracting local support, plus an exciting calendar of events and activities is planned for this year including farmers markets, craft fairs, concerts, children’s events, talks and tours.

For further details and to keep up to date with news, visit and click on ‘like’.

Meanwhile, work is underway to finalise a Stage 1 application to HLF this April to fully realise the vision of the Old Prison as a vibrant visitor centre. If successful with the full application, delivery of the project would start in August 2015.

People and communities

Minister's visit to the Cotswolds

The Minister with responsibility for protected landscapes within Defra, Lord De Mauley, visited the AONB in February to find out more about the work of the Cotswolds Conservation Board and some of its key areas of work. Following a briefing session outlining the role of the Board, the Minister was taken on a short tour of the Cotswolds to discuss a number of important issues including agri-environment schemes; planning; flood prevention schemes and sustainable tourism.
The meeting was a very positive one with a number of ideas being followed up by Defra and the Board.

Annual Forum 2014

This year’s Annual Forum took place on 7 March at the Manor House Hotel, Moreton-in-Marsh. The topical theme of planning and development in the AONB attracted nearly 90 delegates from parish and town councils, local authorities, community groups, planning consultancies and members of the Conservation Board.
With a range of excellent speakers from University College London, CPRE, Home Builders Federation, Gloucestershire Rural Communities Council and the Planning Cooperative, the Forum featured lively discussion and debate both during and after the event.
To view the full programme and download the presentations go to

Healthy People: Healthy Countryside

A pilot project to demonstrate the contribution that access to the natural environment can make to tackling health inequalities for those living both within and adjacent to the AONB has been submitted to Gloucestershire County Council  for consideration. The proposal is designed to enable lessons to be learnt in real time and applied within other areas of the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire through rigorous independent monitoring and review by peers from the health profession and academia. The pilot will tackle preventative as well as prescribed health care, operating within the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.

For further information contact James Blockley

Farewell to Board Members

After nine years of serving on the Cotswolds Conservation Board, three Secretary of State appointees will be stepping down at the end of March as they reach the end of their term.
Ann Boon, Christine Shine and Simon Randall have each played a key role in helping to shape and direct the management of the Cotswolds AONB for nearly a decade.

Martin Lane, Director thanked them for their invaluable contributions: “Ann, Christine and Simon have been instrumental in helping to guide the Board through a significant period of the AONB’s history. I am extremely grateful for their expert knowledge and experience that they have brought to the Board and given their commitment to the organisation, I'm sure we'll stay in touch with them in the future."  

Diary dates

Cotswolds Farming Forum 2014
Wednesday 19th March, from 7.00pm to 8.30pm at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.
Doors open 6.30pm for tea, coffee and cakes.
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for the farm - Jon Swain, Senior Engineer, Farm Energy Centre
Powerlines on the farm: considerations and safety and connecting renewables to the grid - Craig Goulding , Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution
Payments for Ecosystems Services in the Cotswolds - Chris Short, Senior Research Fellow, CCRI, University of Gloucestershire

For further details click here
Or contact: Cotswolds Conservation Board 01451 862000,

Our Land events
A series of walks and a photography workshop are planned this year for tourism businesses which are part of the Our Land sustainable tourism initiative in the Cotswolds:

  • Photography workshop on 1 May: led by Ruth Davey of Look Again, this popular workshop will help tourism providers take better photographs of their businesses and their surroundings. Cost: £45
  • Summer Walk on 17 July around Adlestrop and Daylesford, led by Anne Martis of Walk the Landscape.
  • Autumn Walk on 23 September around Cranham Woods, led by Ken Betteridge
  • Winter Walk on 25 November along part of the Cotswold Way National Trail, led by Ken Betteridge

Our Land was launched in October 2011 by nine Protected Landscapes in the South East to promote sustainable rural tourism.
For further details contact Nicola Greaves.

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