Back in 1966 an area covering 582 square miles (1,507 sq kms) was designated in law as a special landscape which should be protected for future generations. In 1990, the boundaries were extended to create the Cotswolds AONB as we know it today-the largest in England and Wales covering 790 sq miles (2,038 sq kms).

Over the past four decades AONB status has meant that the Cotswolds has been conserved and enhanced and that any change has, where possible, been in keeping with the distinctive nature of the area.

HRH, The Prince of Wales who lives in the AONB has congratulated the Board on the work that has been done to conserve the Cotswolds over the past four decades and has said that he hopes that we will continue our work for 'countless years to come'.

In the Board's 40th Anniversary publication the Prince said:

"I am particularly pleased, therefore, that the new Conservation Boards have a responsibility to conserve the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and promote people's enjoyment of them, but also to foster the social and economic wellbeing of local communities."

It is our belief that The Prince has taken a keen interest in the conservation of the AONB because our work encompasses issues that are close to his heart.

Throughout 2006 the Cotswolds Conservation Board will be encouraging the public to join us in celebrating the 40th Anniversary by working to ensure that as many people as possible enjoy the AONB.

We will provide a range of publications that will help improve public understanding of the Cotswolds landscape and guide people towards events designed to encourage them to get out and enjoy the Cotswolds.