Maps showing the result of a hedgerow survey spanning ten parishes in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will go on display on Tuesday 20th March at Marshfield Community Centre in south Gloucestershire. It is part of an event being held to thank volunteers who helped to gather data on over 18,000 species living in 2,000 hedgerows.

The Cotswolds Hedgerow Project run by the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) in Bristol was part funded by a Sustainable Development Fund grant of just over £18,000 from the organisation that exists to oversee the Cotswolds AONB, the Cotswolds Conservation Board. The project also received funding through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund and was supported by volunteer labour.

Over 60 volunteers took part in the survey and all the information collected has been collated into three parish maps, showing the diversity and distribution of hedgerow species and local wildlife. The maps also provide sustainable management advice for all hedgerows in each parish and will also be available on the BRERC website: www.brerc.org.uk.

Jo Illsley Illsley spokeswoman for BRERC said:

"We hope the maps show how important it is to collect wildlife data and what a variety of species live all around us. Hedgerows are such an integral feature of our landscape that is important we do all we can to conserve them."

The hedges surveyed were in the parishes of: Doynton, Dyrham and Hinton, Little Sodbury, Sodbury, Charlcombe, Bathampton, Southstoke, Freshford, Claverton and Combe Hay.


Notes to editors:

All the hedgerow survey maps will be on display at Marshfield Community Centre on Tuesday 20th March between 12 and 2pm. There will be a short presentation about the project and a buffet lunch will be provided. Please phone 0117 9349833 to confirm attendance.

Hedgerows are an integral part of the Cotswolds landscape and provide a habitat for many species of conservation concern. They are a UK BAP priority habitat and especially important for invertebrates, birds, bats, dormice, reptiles and amphibians and provide and essential refuge for woodland and farmland birds. The also act as ' wildlife corridors' allowing species to move between habitats. This ability to move may prove essential for the survival of species when temperatures change as the result of global warming.

The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) is delivered locally by the Cotswolds Conservation Board and co-ordinated by Natural England on Behalf of Defra. SDF supports projects that bring local environmental and economic benefits to the Cotswolds. It aims to develop and test new methods of achieving a more sustainable way of life. Individuals or businesses can qualify for a grant as long as their project shows a benefit to the wider community. For more information contact Anne Powell on 01451 862035.

The Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) collects, stores and distributes wildlife data about the former Avon area. They have several million records in paper format and about a million available on a computerised database. BREC provides data that helps to determine the status and distribution of species and habitats, locally, regionally and nationally. Their data is also used to report to government on regional and national biodiversity habitats. Find out more at: www.brerc.org.uk.

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 Cotswolds Conservation Board acts as an advisor to planning departments of the 17 local authorities within the AONB.

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: Jo Illsley Tel: 0117 934 9833

Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC), Third Floor, Bristol Central Library, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TL www.brerc.org.uk

Cotswolds Conservation Board Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

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