Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Spring Update

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Bringing you the latest 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.


First horse logging course is a hit

horse loggingThe Cotswolds Conservation Board’s first-ever horse logging course in February was a sell-out and already bookings for the next course in October are being taken.

The Introduction to Horse Logging took place at Ullenwood, near Coberley in Gloucestershire, where the Board has managed a woodland site since 2013. As well as raising awareness of this historic rural craft, the course provided the Board with a sustainable, environmentally friendly method of extracting timber. Trainees learnt a range of skills including horse grooming, setting up the harness, how to command the horses and log dragging techniques.

Another Introduction to Horse Logging course at Ullenwood is planned for Saturday 3 October.

Find out more about Cotswolds Rural Skills courses...

Caring for the Cotswolds - by text

Cotswolds LogoHelping to support the Cotswolds Conservation Board in Caring for the Cotswolds has become even easier with the launch of a new texting scheme. The initiative, being piloted in the Spring/Summer edition of the Cotswold Lion newspaper, enables anyone to donate £3 by simply texting COTSWOLDS to 88080.

Funds raised will go towards a range of vital work to conserve and enhance the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Board Director, Martin Lane, says: “We welcome such donations, which over time can add up to make a real difference in supporting activities that help our special landscape to thrive.”

Following the pilot launch, it is hoped to roll out the scheme more generally later in the year.

Understanding and enjoying

Cotswolds photography competition

What best sums up the beauty and uniqueness of the AONB? Amateur photographers of all ages are being asked to submit their images – of landscapes, buildings, traditions, people – in a brand new competition, with fantastic prizes up for grabs.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cotswolds AONB and the photography competition, run by the Cotswolds Conservation Board with Cotswolds Tourism, is the first of many celebrations planned.Canon Camera

Entries are invited for two categories, adult and under-16s. First prize for adults is a superb Canon EOS 700D 18-55 IS Kit worth £539 from Clifton Cameras, Dursley, while the under-16s winner will enjoy a full day’s photography tuition with Cotswolds-based photographer / filmmaker Nick Turner.

Runner-up in each category wins a training course worth £149 at Clifton Cameras on how to get the best out of your DSLR camera. All entrants can also claim a 50% discount on getting their images professionally printed at Clifton Cameras new photo print suite.

Closing date for entries is 30 November 2015. For full details on how to enter and terms and conditions click here.

Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park signs up to Cotswolds Visitor Giving

Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park is among the latest businesses to sign up to the Cotswolds Visitor Giving Scheme. The scheme encourages visitors to voluntarily support environmental, conservation and access projects across the AONB by donating very small amounts of money via their fees or bills.

Throughout 2015 the Farm Park is making a donation from every membership sold and Adam says:

"I consider it a privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the country and I know many of our visitors and members share my feelings on how important it is to care for our environment. This is a great way for us all to join together in support of the Conservation Board, who work so hard to conserve and enhance our landscape.”

Read more about the Cotswolds Visitor Giving Scheme....

Photo: Adam Henson and visitors.

Cotswold Way on Street View

backpackingIt will soon be possible to explore the Cotswold Way via Google Street View, thanks to images gathered along the route using a Google Trekker backpack camera.

“The Cotswold Way will be one of the first National Trails to be mapped in this way and it will sit alongside other routes such as the Grand Canyon,” says Cotswold Trails and Access Officer James Blockley. “Being able to see landmarks and scenes on Street View will inspire even more people to enjoy walking the Cotswold Way and help them to plan their days out, whilst enabling disabled visitors to make their own decisions as to the suitability of any section of the trail.”

Mapping of the Cotswold Way will take place this summer and is expected to appear on Street View late this year or early next year.

Read more about the Cotswold Way...

Lots of fun at the Old Prison

Spring is buzzing with activities at the Old Prison and Cotswold Lion Cafe, Northleach. Come along to browse craft and food stalls at the Easter market, Saturday 4 April from 10am to 4pm (get in touch with Jess Hughes if you would like a stall, tel:01451 861563 or email: Then on Friday 24 April catch Thrill Collins playing live, supported by The Red Shift and with a full bar and tapas through the evening from 7.30pm.

Rise and shine on Saturday 2 May and Saturday 6 June for Birds and Breakfast events, walking with Andy Lewis of the North Cotswold Ornithological Society to listen to early morning birdsong. There’s a hearty full English breakfast back at the Old Prison afterwards.

And where else but Northleach, one-time European centre for the Cotswold woollen industry, for a first-ever Sheep and Wool Day on Bank Holiday Monday, 4 May. With spinning and weaving demonstrations, Cotswold Lion sheep, a BBQ feast and local produce stalls it promises to be a baa-rilliant family day out. Entrance is free.

Click here for more events and ticket information.

Photo:© Chris Boulton Photography.

Become a landscape ambassador

landscape ambassador trainingHow well do you know the Cotswolds? Tourism providers from hoteliers to cycle hire companies are being encouraged to test their knowledge with a new, fun online training tool and become ‘landscape ambassadors’.

Developed as part of Our Land sustainable tourism initiative that celebrates the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks, the tool features multiple choice questions on a range of themes from wildlife to historic buildings. After successful completion participants can print out their very own ‘Landscape Ambassador for the Cotswolds’ certificate.

Hege Usborne, who runs Westley Farm self-catering accommodation at Chalford, has tried the new training scheme and says: “This is an excellent tool and a perfect way for tourism business owners, like myself, to improve their knowledge of the local area for the benefit of our visitors. It’s great fun too.”

Find out more about Landscape Ambassador Training...

Cotswolds Greentraveller Guide

Check out the new, free Greentraveller’s Guide to the Cotswolds, highlighting great days out and holidays that can be enjoyed in a way that is low impact on the environment while also benefiting livelihoods, landscapes and biodiversity within the AONB. You’ll find plenty of tips on eateries that serve local food, heritage gems and inspiration for walking, cycling and other activities.
Get planning at

Double anniversary publications

Two brochures have been published to celebrate the 10th anniversaries of the creation of the Cotswolds Conservation Board and the launch of the Sustainable Development Fund.

Read about some of the Board’s landmark achievements with its partners over the last decade, from The Cotswolds Ancient Woodland Project to establishing the Dry Stone Walling Academy. Also discover how £400,000-plus has been invested in more than 100 sustainable projects, from medieval pond restoration to setting up a community-led internet radio station.

To download the two publications, click on:

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Cotswolds Conservation Board

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Sustainable Development Fund


The Cotswold Lion is out!

The Spring/Summer edition of the Cotswold Lion is out, with the very latest on the Save our Magnificent Meadows project and exciting details of the first-ever Cotswold Grassland Week of activities for all the family. Enjoy features on rural revels, glorious gardens and where to take up inspiring crafts, plus a full calendar of walks and events to keep you busy all summer.

Download your copy here or pick up a copy from your nearest visitor information centre or library.

Strategic management and planning

Continued pressure for new housing sites

Northleach HousesThe upward trend in the number of housing sites coming forward as planning applications already appears to be one of the defining characteristics of 2015. So says Andrew Lord, who joined the Cotswolds Conservation Board as Planning Officer in January.

Examples within the AONB include Ullenwood (27 dwellings), Milton under Wychwood (70 dwellings), Glenfall Way, Cheltenham (15 dwellings), off Walterbush Road, Chipping Norton and now approved (228 dwellings), Chipping Campden (two sites for 76 dwellings and 90 dwellings), Andoversford (59 dwellings).

Andrew says: “The Conservation Board recognises the value of new dwellings to meet local needs and of course the provision of affordable homes that should be provided as part of these developments. However, all new development should be secured without compromising the key purpose of AONB designation, that being the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the AONB. The National Planning Policy Framework also requires this to be given great weight.”

In February Planning Inspector Clive Hughes, in dismissing an appeal and refusing planning permission in relation to 70 dwellings proposed outside the settlement boundary at Averill Close, Broadway, concluded:

The Framework sets out those matters that should be assessed in any consideration of applications for major development in the AONB. In this case, the proposed development would have some benefits for the local economy. However, this benefit is outweighed by the Council’s ability to demonstrate that the need for additional housing can be met elsewhere and due to the detrimental effect on the environment and the landscape.”

Decisions made by the Cotswolds Conservation Board on various applications can be viewed here.

Photo: Housing on the edge of Northleach.

New appointments to the Cotswolds Conservation Board

At its AGM in December 2014, the Cotswolds Conservation Board elected Liz Eyre as Chairman and Nick Holliday as Vice Chairman.

Three new appointments to the Cotswolds Conservation Board have also been confirmed by the Secretary of State for the Department for Natural Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and one new appointment confirmed by Cheltenham Borough Council:

Diane Crone has lived in Cheltenham for 15 years and is a Professor in Exercise Science at the University of Gloucestershire; Ann Holland has a strong background in education and is also a Cotswold Voluntary Warden; Venerable Hedley Ringrose comes with experience in education and conservation and development of church buildings; and Simon Wheeler, Cheltenham Borough Council’s new appointee, was elected Cheltenham’s Mayor last year, having been a borough councillor for 12 years.

Chairman Liz Eyre comments on the new appointments:

“I am delighted to welcome our four new members to the Conservation Board. Together they bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and considerable skills that will strengthen our expertise in many areas including health and well-being and education.”


People and communities

£1.998 million LEADER funding

After appeal against initial rejection of their proposal, the Cotswolds Conservation Board and its partners have successfully secured LEADER funding of £1.998 million through to 2020.

Part of the Rural Development Programme for England, LEADER aims to improve the quality of life and prosperity in rural communities through locally driven and sustainable development initiatives and projects.

The fund opens for applications from June–July, with grants available to farmers / growers, rural business owners, those living in a rural community or managing land or woodland. The six priority areas for LEADER investment are: farming, micro and small businesses (including farm diversification), tourism / the visitor economy, forestry, rural services, and culture and heritage.

Read more about LEADER and how to apply if you have a project idea..

Farewell and welcome

We bid a fond farewell to Claire Parker, Administrative Officer, who leaves the Board after 10+ years, and to Nicola Greaves, who leaves the Board after nearly six years as Information & Interpretation Officer. Sharon Wellman has joined the Board as Administrative Assistant, while Nicola’s successor, Chris Brant, joins the Board as Communications Officer on 11 May.

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