New initiative encourages tourism providers from across the Cotswolds to become landscape ambassadors

A new initiative aimed at encouraging tourism providers across the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to become ‘landscape ambassadors’ launches today.

Developed as part of “Our Land” ( - a sustainable tourism initiative celebrating the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks – this new fun training scheme is designed to equip those working in tourism with a greater insight to the local environment, landscape and heritage.

The online training tool ( takes the form of themed multiple-choice questions that test the knowledge of tourism providers about the Cotswolds AONB. It can be used by anyone working in the industry – from hoteliers and attractions, through to cycle hire companies and visitor information staff.

A wide range of topics are covered - including wildlife, historic buildings, landscape features, famous people - and, after successful completion, participants can print out and display their own ‘Landscape Ambassador for the Cotswolds’ certificate.

There are 131 businesses across the Cotswolds who are signed up with Our Land and who are committed to ensuring visitors have an excellent experience and a positive interaction with all aspects of their local landscape - from the food they eat, to the people they meet; and from the buildings they visit, to the history and heritage they learn about. They are also signed up to support a more sustainable tourism industry through a variety of activities, including supporting local suppliers and producers, encouraging use of public transport, and contributing to wildlife conservation.

Hege Usborne who runs Westley Farm self-catering accommodation in the Cotswolds, and is one of the first businesses to try out the new training tool, said: “This is an excellent tool and a perfect way for tourism business owners, like myself, to improve their knowledge of the local area for the benefit of our visitors. It’s great fun too.”

Nicola Greaves, Information and Interpretation Officer, Cotswolds Conservation Board said: “Tourism businesses have a very important role to play in helping to enhance the visitor experience. Through this fun online quiz, we want to encourage as many landscape ambassadors as possible so that they are equipped to tell their stories to visitors to the Cotswolds and make their stays even more memorable.”

In addition to the Cotswolds AONB, the new landscape awareness training initiative is available across the eight Our Land founding protected landscapes: Chilterns AONB; High Weald AONB; Isle of Wight AONB; Kent Downs AONB; New Forest National Park; North Wessex Downs AONB; Surrey Hills AONB; and South Downs National Park.

Any tourism business wishing to find out more about Our Land and the new training initiative should contact Nicola Greaves on 01451 862003 or email:


Notes to editors:

  • Our Land ( was launched in October 2011 with £1million funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), administered through Defra.
  • There are 25 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks from across the UK currently participating in Our Land.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit:
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. 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.
  • Over 300 Cotswold Voluntary Wardens dedicate thousands of hours of practical conservation work every year across the AONB, as well as lead an annual programme of guided walks and undertake a range of promotional and educational work.

 20 February 2015