Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

A golden anniversary year for the Cotswolds

2016 is a big year for the Cotswolds as we celebrate 50 years of being designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Throughout the year, the Cotswolds Conservation Board will be organising celebration events to mark the occasion and to encourage everyone to protect, enhance and conserve this beautiful landscape.

The largest of the family of 38 AONBs in England and Wales, the Cotswolds also embraces a rare diversity of landscapes and heritage: from wildflower grasslands to ancient beech woods; the giddy scarp to hidden valleys; Neolithic long barrows to historic houses and gardens; drop-dead gorgeous villages to market towns.

“So many valuable people – farmers, tourism providers, master craftsmen, volunteers – are involved in keeping the Cotswolds thriving as a place to live, work, relax and visit,” says Martin Lane, Director of the Cotswolds Conservation Board. “The 50th anniversary gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate their efforts and reflect on what makes the landscape so special. All are welcome to mark the occasion and join the celebrations.”

Weekend Creative Courses

Starting from March 2016
Short courses in drawing and painting, weaving and photography.

Enjoy the Cotswolds through observing and capturing the outstanding natural beauty in the Cotswolds AONB special 50th anniversary courses.

Courses are split over 3 days visiting stunning locations for you to enjoy the outstanding Cotswolds landscape as you learn.

Click here to see the full list of creative courses


What’s On – Events for your diary…

Roadshow tour of the Cotswolds
Starting Saturday 19 March from Bath

Learn and discover more about the Cotswolds outstanding landscape, how you can enjoy and appreciate it even further and play your part in helping to protect and enhance it.

Join the team from the Cotswolds Conservation Board near where you live on this special tour featuring rural skills demonstrations, information on guided walks and how you could become a Cotswold Voluntary Warden. Bring along your own images and videos of the Cotswolds landscape to help us to create an online archive of the past and present. The tour will include visits to Bath, Bradford-on-Avon, Painswick, Broadway, Chipping Norton and Long Compton.

The Golden Anniversary Walk

Starting Saturday 19 March from Bath

The Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, Liz Eyre will be walking the length of the Cotswold Way from Bath to Chipping Camden during the course of the year. Along the way she will be joined by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, walkers and community groups. Liz will be capturing images of the landscape for the new online photo and video archive of the Cotswolds.

Click here to see dates, start and end points of each of the walk stages and how you can get involved!

The Cotswolds Touring Memory Café
From November 2016
Visiting Batsford Arboretum, Cotswolds Discovery Centre and other venues across the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds Conservation Board will be visiting cafes throughout the area where they will be encouraging the whole community to pop in and share their memories which will be captured for the online archive to record those special stories, individual recollections and unique moments, ensuring the rich heritage of the landscape remains alive for future generations.

Golden Guided Tours

The Cotswolds Conservation Board has teamed up with Go Cotswolds, who provide day tours of the Cotswolds by mini-bus. Book yourself on to any of the guided tours to explore and discover the outstanding qualities of the special landscape while experiencing some of the exceptional cultural and heritage activities available. Each tour will feature on-board commentary by one of the knowledgeable voluntary wardens who will also lead a short walk.

Cotswolds Arts & Crafts Guided Tour
From Stratford-upon-Avon to Broadway and Chipping Camden
Tuesday 5 April 2016, £40

Brewery to Distillery Guided Tour
From Banbury to Hook Norton Brewery and the Cotswolds Distillery at Stourton
Tuesday 7 June 2016, Includes lunch £40

Further tours are planned across the Cotswolds later in the year.

Cotswolds Living Landscape Festival

Lodge Park & Sherborne Estate
Sunday 18 September 2016, 10:30am - 4pm

A new outdoor festival in partnership with the National Trust as part of the golden anniversary festivities.

This will be a celebration of all that is created, produced and inspired by the outstanding Cotswold landscape. Featuring and showcasing the high quality array of local food, drink, arts and crafts from producers, and artisans from across the Cotswolds. At the heart of the event will be a wonderful array of live rural skills demonstrations including; dry stone walling, thatching, blacksmithing, live traditional music and dance, Cotswold Lion sheep and children’s activities. There will also be free guided short walks by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens and discover the delightful Lodge Park.

Click here to find out more

Cotswolds Food & Craft Christmas Market

Saturday 3 December, 10am – 4pm
Cotswolds Discovery Centre at the Old Prison, Northleach

A festive day to showcase local Cotswold craft and food producers. Stalls, decorations, music and mulled wine.

Cotswolds Inspired - Art Exhibition

Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Friday 13 January 2017 - Sunday 5 February 2017

The golden anniversary will culminate in a public art exhibition open to amateur and professional artists from within and beyond the Cotswolds. It will showcase art work in a variety of mediums and genres inspired by the Cotswold landscape.  Art submissions open now open

Click here to find out more