Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust

Grant of £2,500 towards the reconstruction of a railway halt near Hayles Abbey.

This newly restored halt on the historic Gloucestershire Warwickshire steam railway line will not only be a historic feature in its own right it will also connect with the local rights of way network and is just 800 metres from Hailes Abbey.

It will provide for walkers, cyclists and visitors without cars to visit the National Trust owned historic ruins of Hailes Abbey as well as the church opposite, which predates the Abbey by half a century. The Church is home to a number of early wall paintings which are of much interest to local visitors.

The halt will also enable a circular walk along the edge of the Cotswold escarpment from Winchcombe to Hailes Abbey, returning via the railway from Hayles Halt. Hayles is the original Great Western spelling for the halt which will be used in the reconstruction.

The authentically rebuilt halt will be an interesting and photographic subject in its’ own right with good views from the adjacent bridge offering visitors and photographers a completely new and exciting photographic location

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Bristol Avon Rivers Trust

Grant of £1,000 to Bristol Avon Rivers Trust for the Sherston River IMProvement Project (SHRIMP)

The grant funded coppicing in Grove Woods to let light into the woodland floor, increasing species diversity within the woodland. Vegetation was also cleared in a popular seating area, along footpaths, and also along the riverbank to improve walker’s views of and access to the river.

The grant was also used to work with local residents to clear Hancock’s Well. The waters of this well have a historic reputation for having healing properties for human eyes and dog’s legs. Waste was removed from the site, including a large tractor tyre that was covering the well.

Vegetation was cut back to reveal a stone surround to the well which will now be a much more impressive site for visitors.

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Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers

A community group in Winchcombe has been able to complete a missing section of hard surface footpath thanks to the Cotswold Visitor Giving Scheme. In 2011 the Winchcombe Walkers are Welcome group created the Winchcombe Way, a 42 mile walk around the north Cotswolds. However there was a 30 metre section of path missing where the route crossed Abbey Fields between the play park in Back Lane and the church in the centre of Winchcombe. Walkers faced a steep drop in gradient and a muddy section before rejoining the path at the entrance to St Peter's Churchyard.

Contributions from visitors to the Cotswolds went towards laying tonnes of stone and soil to re-profile the gradients and provide an all weather hard surface. Now walkers and parishioners have a more scenic route through to the town centre and to hidden and forgotten historic sites. The path crosses the former fishponds and gardens of the old Benedictine Abbey.

Robert Talbot, Secretary of the Winchcombe Walkers are Welcome group said "The offer of a grant from the Cotswold Visitor Giving Scheme was the catalyst to get this much needed improvement made to the footpath network within Winchcombe Town Centre and it will benefit locals and visitors alike for years to come."

Cotswolds Rivers Trust

Grant of £500 to the Cotswolds Rivers Trust towards river restoration work on the River Coln.

Based around the Winson area near Bibury, this project consists primarily of installing in-stream flow deflectors on featureless stretches of the river. These will use the force of the current to create deeper pockets in the riverbed providing refuges for fish.

The varying depths and current speeds will also enable river plants such as water-crowfoot to thrive providing cover for fish and habitat for invertebrates. It will particularly benefit brown trout which have been identified as an iconic Cotswold species.

The end result will be an enhanced ecosystem with greater numbers of birds such as Kingfishers as well as insects such as dragon and damselflies. A scheme like this at the top of a river is particularly valuable as the natural downstream drift of organisms benefits the whole river.

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World Land Trust

Grant of £500 to the World Land Trust towards woodland coppicing and site interpretation at Kites Hill Nature Reserve.

Kites Hill Nature Reserve near Painswick Beacon is owned by international conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT) and managed in partnership with the Gloucestershire branch of The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).

Woodland coppicing (a traditional method of harvesting wood) is used at the reserve to maintain a varied and healthy woodland structure. TCV work parties cut hazel to the base to allow light to reach the woodland floor and encourage new growth. This practice benefits a wide variety of plants, insects and birds.

The grant will also contribute towards the production of four interpretation boards to be placed along the Kites Hill nature trail. The boards will highlight key species living at the reserve such as the hairy dragonfly and pyramidal orchid, and explain the management practices that help conserve them and the Cotswolds landscape. 

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