Natural Environment Minister visits the Cotswolds AONB

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The Cotswolds Conservation Board welcomed Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment this week, as he made a fact-finding visit to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to see a range of conservation projects in action.

Mr Benyon, was able to see some of the key areas of the Board’s work in conserving and enhancing the Cotswolds AONB, and meet some of the staff, members and voluntary wardens as part of the tour.

Following a visit to Cockleford to view the site of the National Grid Gas Pipeline project, the Minister was introduced to the new discovery centre for the AONB, ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’, before being taken to Swell Buildings Farm near Stow-on-the-Wold to see the Board’s work with Higher Level Stewardship. The final part of the visit included Shipton-under-Wychwood Wild Garden & Woods to meet Mike Watson, Chairman of local community committee and representatives from the voluntary wardens. The garden, dating back to the 1600s, has been restored following an award by the Board’s Sustainable Development Fund and with practical help from the voluntary wardens.

Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment, said:
“I was impressed to see the excellent work that is being carried out by the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The voluntary wardens and other staff are a great example of how local communities can both be involved in, and benefit from, the environment.”

Martin Lane, Cotswolds Conservation Board Director, said: “We were delighted to host a visit by the Minister and have the opportunity to discuss some of the key achievements of the Board as well as ideas for the future management of our protected landscapes.”


Notes to editors:

  • The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
  • The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) 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 second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park. 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.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of the family of 46 AONBs in the UK. For further details:

Press contact: Nicola Greaves
Tel: 01451 862003 Email:

Cotswolds Conservation Board, Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH
Tel: 01451 862000 Website: