H.R.H THE PRINCE OF WALES GIVES A MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FOR THE COTSWOLDS AONB ON ITS 40th ANNIVERSARY

H.R.H The Prince of Wales has given a message of support for the work that the Cotswolds Conservation Board does to help conserve and enhance the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It comes as the Board celebrates 40 years of AONB status for the Cotswolds Landscape.

Our new booklet 'Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Cotswolds AONB', which is aimed at the general public is being circulated widely through tourist information centres and libraries. In the foreword, The Prince congratulates us on the efforts that have been made to conserve the Cotswolds over the past four decades and says that he hopes that we will continue our work for 'countless years to come'.

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. His foreword acknowledges that there are challenges to be faced in the countryside and offers strong encouragement for everything that is being done to improve the quality of life within the Cotswolds. He also points out that everybody can help to conserve the countryside;

"But consumers too have a critical part to play in preserving our landscapes. The choices they make when for instance they buy their groceries each week can quite literally determine the future for British farmers".

The Prince says that it is important to remember that the Cotswolds is a managed landscape and that the contribution of farmers to the unique characteristics of the area is immense;

"The recent Limestone Grasslands Survey carried out by the Cotswolds Conservation Board revealed that this nationally important habitat for wildlife and rare plants only exists because of the type of livestock grazing practiced over generations. Without it, the grasslands would quickly turn into inhospitable scrubland."

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 this year.

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. More details are available on our website. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Please see the 40th Anniversary Booklet enclosed for more detailed background about the history of the AONB and the work of the Cotswolds Conservation Board. The board is planning to hold a press week in August designed to give the media the chance to get out into the landscape and see examples of the work that we do. There will be an opportunity for journalists to try their hand at the rural skills of drystone walling and hedge laying. A press release will be issued nearer the time.

For general reference:

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members, 17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed by Government.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) 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 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.

Contact: Claire Cunningham.

Information and Interpretation Officer.

Cotswolds Conservation Board

The Old Police Station Cotswold Heritage Centre Northleach Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 862000 Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk