An additional £90,000 of grant funding has been released for a conservation project that conserves and restores limestone grassland sites within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (AONB).

More than 50% of the UK's total remaining Jurassic limestone grasslands are in the AONB and so their conservation is a high priority.

Wildflower grassland sites containing rare species of animals and plants are managed landscapes and can only thrive if scrub is kept at bay through grazing. The new grant funding will be used by the organisation that exists to oversee the Cotswolds AONB, the Cotswolds Conservation Board, to ensure that a range of grassland sites in the area are managed sustainably. This will be achieved through partnership working with conservation groups, farmers and land owners.

The extra funding is available through the Board's five-year 'Caring for the Cotswolds' Project which will come to a close in December. The £2.8m project has been supported by a £1.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Grasslands Officer for the Caring for the Cotswolds Project, Jenny Phelps said:

"The additional funding is most welcome and will enable us to offer more grants to landowners and partner organisations to allow further conservation work to take place. Applications are welcome on all the 96 limestone grassland sites targeted by the project, 20 of which are Sites of Special Scientific Interest. This is a great opportunity for us to help complete some of the complex work on common land that has already been taking place."

The deadline for grant applications is 13th July 2007 and any grant aided work should be completed by October.

For more information please contact: Jenny Phelps on 01451 862033 / 07841 663604.


Notes to editors:

The Caring for the Cotswolds project is also offering additional grant funding for the repair of drystone walls, the conservation or creation of locally distinctive features in Cotswold villages and towns and the development of interpretative material to help communities explain features of local interest to visitors

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members, 17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed by Government.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board acts as an advisor to planning departments of the17 local authorities within the AONB.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.

With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the largest of 40 AONBs in England and Wales and is protected to ensure that its beauty and special character are conserved. 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.

Press contact: Claire Cunningham

Tel: 01451 862003

Cotswolds Conservation Board Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 862000 Website: