A 300 strong band of volunteers have taken part in an event to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens were established in 1968 and have spent the past four decades working to conserve the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The private celebration was held at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, on Saturday June 21st.

The wardens heard from The Lord Plumb of Coleshill DL FRAgs, the patron of the organisation that exists to conserve the Cotswolds AONB, the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

Baroness Young of Old Scone, who was the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency until May 2008, also gave an address.

Spokesperson for the Cotswolds Conservation Board, Claire Cunningham said:

"This event was the highlight of the warden's celebrations to mark their 40th anniversary, and a sincere acknowledgement of the years of dedication and effort that they have put into helping to conserve the Cotswolds AONB. Some of the guests who attended the event have been wardens from the start and have spent the last 40 years working on the ground to ensure that the area is looked after properly."

The wardens marked their 40th anniversary in a range of other ways during the last week of May. They: led 20 local walks in north Cotswold towns and villages including Stow and Blockley; launched 'Walks on Wheels' a collection of 15 walks across the Cotswolds for wheelchair, buggy and power scooter users; and led a walk where the public had a chance to see a wardens work party in action on Minchinhampton Common.

The wardens are also leading a range of 40th anniversary walks across the summer, which can be found in a walks listings directory in the Cotswold Lion Newspaper, available at most libraries and tourist information centres in the AONB. There is also a walks listing section on our website. Click here to find out more.