45,000 hours of conservation work by voluntary wardens equates to an estimated value of £300,000

In this, the 50th anniversary year of the Cotswolds becoming an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) we recognise the brilliant work undertaken by volunteers.
Here in the AONB we aim to provide a wide range of opportunities for volunteers to explore and experience the beautiful Cotswolds throughout the year.

In 2015/16 the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens clocked up a total of 45,739 hours in their work to conserve, enhance and increase understanding and enjoyment of the Cotswolds AONB.
300 wardens, who form the voluntary arm of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, regularly carry out a wide range of activities which, in 2015/16 was estimated to be worth over £300,000.

Much of the voluntary wardens’ time was spent on undertaking a variety of practical conservation and enhancement work, whilst organising and leading guided walks, monitoring historic sites and working with school groups.

Voluntary wardens’ conservation activities during 2015/16 included:

•    Over 82,000 sq m of woodland cleared & 19,680 sq m was coppiced at 338 woodland sites
•    Over 750 trees and hedge shrubs planted
•    63 grassland sites improved in area of 258,558 sq m
•    Over 400 meters of streams and ditches cleared
•    130 waymarks and finger posts installed or repaired
•    4,000 miles of paths patrolled by the Parish Wardens
•    400 metres of dry stone walls repaired or rebuilt
•    26,500 meters of bridleway cleared
•    Monitoring of 11 Historic England sites
•    345 children engaged in school projects
•    Over 330 guided walks led

Martin Lane, Director of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said: “We currently engage with around 300 voluntary wardens who contribute in the region of 2,000 volunteer days! They come from all walks of life. From retired folk who want to give something back, to those looking to widen their experience and develop their skills in conservation work.

All of the voluntary wardens help make many significant and tangible contributions to the activities of the Conservation Board, together delivering great results for the Cotswolds AONB.”

Martin Lovegrove, Head Volunteer Warden said: “Voluntary wardens make a real difference, we have a number of volunteer roles, each offering something different to get involved in, from clearing footpaths and building fences, to delivery guided walks and monitoring Historic England sites.

It has been a very productive year and I would really like to thank all our wardens who have once again shown huge enthusiasm, professionalism and a wide range of skills and expertise. Our voluntary wardens are invaluable to the Cotswolds AONB and are a great bunch of people to work with.”

If you would like to find out how you could become a Cotswold Voluntary Warden and help play your part in looking after the AONB, then visit: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/grants-and-projects/volunteering or by following the Cotswolds AONB on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CotswoldsAONB