New discovery centre for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty officially opened

Photo: @ShortTitle@

A brand new discovery centre for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), was officially opened yesterday at a special launch event.

Housed in the Old Prison, Northleach, and aptly named 'Escape to the Cotswolds', the new centre has been developed by the Cotswolds Conservation Board to help tell the fascinating story of the Cotswolds AONB. The new development also enables the re-opening of some of the original cells of the Old Prison, a former house of correction built in the 1790’s.

With stunningly designed new interpretive displays, the new centre provides a focus for discovering more about this unique landscape. Visitors to the centre can learn about the geology, history, landscape, wildlife and outdoor recreation, including the Cotswold Way National Trail, as well as the conservation heroes who have helped to make the Cotswolds the special place that it is today. Younger visitors will also be able to learn about the history of the Cotswolds landscape through an interactive video game entitled ‘Quantum Sheep and the Wonderful Wolds’.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Martin Lane, Director of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said: "I am delighted that this excellent new centre for the Cotswolds is now open. It has been the aspiration of the Board for some time to develop a facility that enables us to tell the story of the AONB to the millions of visitors to the area, as well as the many people who live here. Now, thanks to a tremendous team effort, we have something that I am sure will become a popular attraction that will help more people gain a greater understanding and appreciation of this beautiful landscape.”



Photograph attached: Jeff West, Chairman of Cotswolds Conservation Board (left) and Mike Pezet, Mayor and Chairman of Northleach Town Council, cut the celebration cake to mark the official opening of ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’.


Notes to editors:

  • ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ is open from 10am to 4pm, Wednesdays to Sundays (including Bank Holidays), April to October.
  • Admission is free of charge.
  • The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
  • The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) 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 second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park. 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.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of the family of 47 AONBs in the UK. For further details: