FIVE-YEAR CONSERVATION PROJECT ENDS

A 2.8 million pound project that has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds retains its natural beauty is nearing completion. The Caring for the Cotswolds project, which was supported by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund Grant has been tackling the key elements that make the area unique.

It is one of the first pioneering 'landscape scale' projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is conserved and enhanced for future generations.

In delivering the project the Cotswolds Conservation Board paid special attention to:

The drystone walls that are a distinctive feature of the AONB

The limestone grasslands that were greatly reduced in number decades ago due to intensive farming but are now being restored by conservationists and farmers to provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants, including up to 25 species of butterfly

Conserving the local distinctiveness of the field patterns, hedgerows, trees, towns, villages and buildings that make the Cotswolds unique

A major interpretation project aimed at helping the public understand and enjoy the Cotswolds AONB

Niel Curwen Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said:

" When you walk or drive through the Cotswolds landscape and take time to reflect upon the characteristics that make the area unique, it is worth remembering that, although they appear to have been there for ever, the features that catch your eye may well have been carefully cared for and tended recently.

" Very often, we see a view that pleases and find ourselves appreciating it for its timeless beauty but the satisfying balance and composition of some of the most stunning vistas in the area has very often been given a helping hand in the recent past by farmers, land managers and conservationists."

The project, which ends this December has covered a wide spectrum of conservation work, from using conservation grazing to ensure that wildflower grassland sites in target areas flourish to providing rural skills courses to encourage more people to learn to repair drystone walls.

Ends

Notes to editors:

CLICK HERE to view a booklet: Caring for the Cotswolds, Celebrating the culmination of our five-year conservation project. We hope that this provides you with adequate background information about the project, including case studies. Please contact us if you require photographs or more detail: Claire Cunningham - 01451 862003

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.

Press contact: Claire Cunningham

Tel: 01451 862003

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

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