The built environment is central to the character of the Cotswolds. Social, cultural and historical influences are in evidence wherever you see built elements such as the network of drystone walls and the fine architecture in Cotswold villages and towns, all testament to the wool trade that thrived in the Cotswolds from the 15th century onwards and generated a lot of wealth in the area.

No area is exactly the same as the next, either in where it lies or how it relates to the broader landscape. The unique character of a place is evident in patterns of fields, trees, hedges, townscapes, villages and buildings.

At a more intimate level, it is elements such as the style of a window, the shape of a gable or a particular pattern of a gate that contributes to a places distinctiveness.

Many constructions are at risk of being lost or altered to their detriment. These built features include types of settlements such as villages, towns, roads and paths, details within settlements, drystone walls and other boundaries in the landscape, such as gates and stiles, stone slates and thatch.