Three important grant schemes that help to conserve the Cotswolds have received a 'top-up' and people are being encouraged to apply for funding.

In addition a new £50,000 grant fund has been created to support local communities' efforts to tell people about the unique qualities of their village or town.

The additional grant funding has been released to support four key areas of conservation work as part of the Cotswolds Conservation Board's 'Caring for the Cotswolds Project', which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Extra cash will be available to help repair drystone walls, restore unimproved limestone grassland, create or conserve locally distinctive features and help communities promote the special qualities of their area.

In each case the Cotswolds Conservation Board will be offering grants, which will cover up to 50% of the costs of the project.

Project manager for Caring for the Cotswolds John Tabor said:

"The Cotswolds Conservation Board encourages people living and working within the area to help conserve and enhance the Cotswolds AONB and this is a great opportunity for people who may want to do that to get involved.

"The grant funding available will ensure projects that otherwise may never have taken place are carried out. Offering up to 50% of the cost of restoration work is a great way to encourage people to care for the Cotswolds".

The deadline for grant applications is 13th July 2007 and any grant aided work should be completed by October.


Notes to editors:

Please contact the project officers below for more information: Drystone walling grants: Jonathan Gahan 01451 862002, Limestone grassland grants: Jenny Phelps 01451 862033, Local distinctiveness grants: John Tabor 01451 862032, Parish interpretation grants: Becky Smith 01451 862038.

The additional funding available for the existing schemes is as follows: the drystone walling grant scheme is being extended to all areas of the AONB rather than being confined to target areas, the upper limit is being removed on project costs and grants for the local distinctiveness grant scheme, with £94,000 of funding available and the grassland restoration budget is being topped up with an add ional £90,000 to pump prime restoration work.

Caring for the Cotswolds is a £2.8m project delivered by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, which ends in December. Supported by a £1.4m lottery grant, the five year project focuses on four interrelated areas all designed to practically conserve the Cotswolds. These are local distinctiveness, drystone walls, unimproved grassland and interpretation.

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 the17 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.

Press contact: Claire Cunningham

Tel: 01451 862003

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

Tel: 01451 862000 Website: