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conservation - News, Articles and Events

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Learn how to help repair historic Cotswold drystone walls

Features by Adam No Comments »

People are being offered the opportunity to learn the traditional rural art of drystone walling in the beautiful surroundings of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). For the sixth year running the Cotswolds Conservation Board, the organisation that exists to conserve and enhance the AONB, is providing walling courses at locations across the 790 square mile protected landscape. Read the rest of this entry »

Gloucestershire Root, Fruit and Grain Society is looking for some Competitors

Features, Food and Produce by Tony No Comments »

The Gloucestershire Root, Fruit and Grain Society (GRFGS) has just issued its Annual Schedule of Competitions for 2008. The object of the Society is to encourage the improvement of all forms of agricultural practices and products and the 2008 Competitions are a Farm Championship, Livestock Championship, Arable Championship, Forage Championship and Special Awards. Read the rest of this entry »

Cotswold leader slams Eco Town proposal at Long Marston

Features by Adam No Comments »

Cotswold District Council Leader Lynden Stowe has slammed developer-led proposals to build a mega “eco town” at Long Marston, Warwickshire. The site is barely half a mile from the specially-designated Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Cllr Stowe said: “This new town of ‘solar shoeboxes’ would be an unmitigated environmental disaster for the surrounding areas”In particular the wider infrastructure, extending well in to the heart of the Cotswolds will be completely unable to handle the huge additional volume of traffic that would be generated.”

“Nor would it be possible to build new capacity to highways, power lines, water, sewage and drainage systems without “butchering” the northern parts of the Cotswolds AONB, including Gloucestershire, Warwickshire & Worcestershire.

He added: “I can barely think of a more unsustainable location for an Eco Town. I urge the Government to place the whole scheme in the bin – for good”

Cllr Stowe was also angry that these proposals had not even been forwarded to Cotswold District Council as the neighbouring planning authority for comment.

The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens celebrate 40th Anniversary

Features by Adam No Comments »

They have been working to conserve and enhance the Cotswolds since 1968 and are celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year. The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens are the voluntary arm of the organisation that exists to conserve and enhance the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cotswolds Conservation Board. Wardens carry out valuable conservation projects in the AONB and help to promote the area by encouraging the public to enjoy it.

There are now over 340 Cotswold Voluntary wardens but back in 1968 when they were established it was Head Warden, Major Ray Clarke’s job to recruit volunteers. Employed by Gloucestershire County Council to help found the Wardens, he set to work and by 1970 there were over 200 members.

The current Head Warden, Colin Boulton said:

“ It was no surprise that the number of warden’s swelled so quickly and that it stands at over 340 today. It is testament to Major Ray Clarke’s hard work but also to the dedication of those who have been wardens over the years and those who now make up the service. It also illustrates the great sense of achievement and fulfillment there is to be had from working voluntarily to care for an area that is well loved by so many. “

The Wardens will be celebrating their 40th year with a week of activity in the early summer, including parish walks in the north Cotswolds, family focused walks across the area, a public conservation work party in the south and a special event to mark the anniversary at the Royal Agricultural College.

A series of 15 short walks that are suitable for those using wheelchairs, power scooters and pushchairs has also been created to mark the 40th Anniversary. ‘Walks on Wheels’ which will be available to the public in the spring has been given the stamp of approval by access professionals and disability groups and all of the routes have been tested.

Wardens complete thousands of hours of conservation work every year and in 2006-7 broke their own record by collectively working over 40,000 hours. Their conservation work covers everything from walking route improvements, such as path clearance, gate installation and bridge building, to drystone walling, hedgelaying, scrub clearance and restoration of historic features. Wardens also lead hundreds of guided walks every year and hold stands at shows across the AONB.

Over the past 40 years, the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens have achieved a great deal:

  • 1975 – Guided walks programme established – it continues to this day with over 300 walks a year.
  • 1976 – Drought in Britain. Participants on walks requested not to smoke for fear of fire.
  • 1980s – Wardens won two awards for their work. The Tidy Britain Award for their ‘Clean up the Cotswolds’ campaign and the Carnegie Interpret Britain Award for audio visual presentations on their work.
  • 1981 – Over 400 people attended Prestbury village guided walk.
  • 1991 – The Wardens Way and Windrush Way were created by wardens.
  • 1990s – Wardens work to create easy access (stile free) routes and lead wheelchair walks
  • 1993 – 25th anniversary celebration held at Royal Agricultural College.
  • 2001 – Wardens create an alternative Town and Village walks programme to allow visitors to continue to enjoy the AONB despite Foot and Mouth restrictions.

Website details: The Cotswold Voluntary Warden service

Plans for gas pipeline within Cotswolds AONB to be put on hold

Features, Places by Adam No Comments »

Board responds to National Grid Announcement

The organisation that exists to oversee the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cotswolds Conservation Board has welcomed National Grid’s decision to postpone plans to build a pipeline, which would cut through parts of the 790 square mile protected landscape.

National Grid had been seeking the Secretary of State’s consent to build the 44km natural gas pipeline from Wormington in Worcestershire to Sapperton in Gloucestershire.

National Grid have said that the reason for the turn around is that revised figures show that gas demand for the West of England is not rising as fast as originally forecast. It has said that that situation will be kept under review because the pipeline may be needed in the future.

The Director of the Cotswolds Conservation Board Martin Lane said:

“The Board can only welcome the decision to put plans to build the pipeline on hold. We objected to the environmental impact statement for the proposed pipeline because it did not consider an alternative route outside of the AONB.

At the time we wrote to the Department of Trade and Industry, (now the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) stating our objection and this resulted in a request for National Grid to investigate alternative routes outside the area.

An alternative route that had a much lower impact on the AONB was identified and should a review of the pipeline lead to the plans being put back on the table the Board will be strongly advocating a full re-examination of the options available with an emphasis on routes outside of the AONB.”

About the Cotswolds AONB:

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.

www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk

Five-year Cotswold conservation project comes to close

Features, Places by Adam No Comments »

A 2.8 million pound project that has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds retains its natural beauty is nearing completion. The Caring for the Cotswolds project, which was supported by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund Grant has been tackling the key elements that make the area unique.

It is one of the first pioneering ‘landscape scale’ projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is conserved and enhanced for future generations.

In delivering the project the Cotswolds Conservation Board paid special attention to:

  • The drystone walls that are a distinctive feature of the AONB
  • The limestone grasslands that were greatly reduced in number decades ago due to intensive farming but are now being restored by conservationists and farmers to provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants, including up to 25 species of butterfly
  • Conserving the local distinctiveness of the field patterns, hedgerows, trees, towns, villages and buildings that make the Cotswolds unique
  • A major interpretation project aimed at helping the public understand and enjoy the Cotswolds AONB

Niel Curwen Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said:

“When you walk or drive through the Cotswolds landscape and take time to reflect upon the characteristics that make the area unique, it is worth remembering that, although they appear to have been there for ever, the features that catch your eye may well have been carefully cared for and tended recently.

“Very often, we see a view that pleases and find ourselves appreciating it for its timeless beauty but the satisfying balance and composition of some of the most stunning vistas in the area has very often been given a helping hand in the recent past by farmers, land managers and conservationists.”

The project, which ends this December has covered a wide spectrum of conservation work, from using conservation grazing to ensure that wildflower grassland sites in target areas flourish to providing rural skills courses to encourage more people to learn to repair drystone walls.

Five-year Cotswolds conservation project ends

Features by Adam No Comments »

A 2.8 million pound project that has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds retains its natural beauty is nearing completion. The Caring for the Cotswolds project, which was supported by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund Grant has been tackling the key elements that make the area unique.

It is one of the first pioneering ‘landscape scale’ projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is conserved and enhanced for future generations.

In delivering the project the Cotswolds Conservation Board paid special attention to:

  • The drystone walls that are a distinctive feature of the AONB
  • The limestone grasslands that were greatly reduced in number decades ago due to intensive farming but are now being restored by conservationists and farmers to provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants, including up to 25 species of butterfly
  • Conserving the local distinctiveness of the field patterns, hedgerows, trees, towns, villages and buildings that make the Cotswolds unique
  • A major interpretation project aimed at helping the public understand and enjoy the Cotswolds AONB

Niel Curwen Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said:

“ When you walk or drive through the Cotswolds landscape and take time to reflect upon the characteristics that make the area unique, it is worth remembering that, although they appear to have been there for ever, the features that catch your eye may well have been carefully cared for and tended recently.

“ Very often, we see a view that pleases and find ourselves appreciating it for its timeless beauty but the satisfying balance and composition of some of the most stunning vistas in the area has very often been given a helping hand in the recent past by farmers, land managers and conservationists.”

The project, which ends this December has covered a wide spectrum of conservation work, from using conservation grazing to ensure that wildflower grassland sites in target areas flourish to providing rural skills courses to encourage more people to learn to repair drystone walls.

http://www.cotswoldsaonb.com/

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