Month: August 2022

People invited to view once in a generation plans in the Cotswolds

An visualisation image of how Cleeve Common could look after pylon removal.

How Cleeve Common could look after pylon removal.

  • Removal of up to 20 pylons and 7 kilometres of overhead electricity line could transform the skyline to the east of Cheltenham and onto the Cotswold Plateau
  • Local people are welcome to attend any of a series of drop-in events to find out about the plans
  • National Grid developing proposals with the Cotswolds National Landscape Board and local experts

Exciting plans to remove up to 20 pylons and around 7 kilometres of overhead electricity line in the Cotswolds National Landscape are about to be shared with local people in Winchcombe and the Charlton Kings area of Cheltenham.

The project will see the pylons replaced with cables buried underground to significantly enhance the landscape and views as part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project*, which is a national programme to reduce the visual impact of existing high voltage power lines in protected areas across England and Wales.

A series of public information drop-in events will be taking place during August where visitors can view the plans, speak to members of the team and share their views:

  • Winchcombe Museum, High Street, Winchcombe, GL54 5LJ: Thursday 11 August, 10:00am–1:00pm 
  • Abbey Fields Community Centre, Back Lane, Winchcombe, GL54 5PR: Thursday 11 August, 3:00pm–8:00pm
  • Stanton Hall (Stanton Suite), Church Street, Charlton Kings, GL53 8AR: Thursday 18 August, 3:00pm–8:00pm
  • Winchcombe Country Show (hosted at Winchcombe School, Greet Road, Winchcombe, GL54 5LB): Monday 29 August (bank holiday), 1:00pm–5:00pm

Robbie Griggs, National Grid Lead Project Manager said: “By going underground in the Cotswolds, we’ll transform the skyline right across the stunning landscape of the Cotswold Plateau. The section that we’ve earmarked for removal runs from Postlip Mill in the north, right across the plateau avoiding the ancient woodland and steep slopes of West Down, and ending up near Dowdeswell Wood in the south.

“We’ve chosen this section following an extensive piece of independent landscape and visual impact research – which identified the plateau as one of the landscapes most affected by pylons anywhere in England and Wales. We’ve already started early investigations of the unique archaeology and ecology in the area with support from local experts, and we are talking to local groups such as parish and town councils, Cotswold voluntary wardens and the Cleeve Common Trust to share our emerging plans.”

National Grid will survey the area extensively and explore a range of potential routes for the new underground cables that would replace the pylons. Our plans will be developed and refined with the advice of local experts and community representatives including the Cotswolds National Landscape Board, Historic England, Natural England, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the local authorities along the proposed route.

You can find out more via the project’s website (nationalgrid.com/cotswoldsvip) which includes information on the plans, next steps and will soon include a new virtual 360 tour where visitors can see what the landscape looks like now and how it could look once pylons are removed.

Andy Parsons, chief executive of Cotswolds National Landscape, said: “The Cotswolds National Landscape is the largest of all AONBs in England and Wales and spans 790 square miles.

“The last few years have been a reminder that our protected landscapes, our national parks and AONBs are really important for the health and wellbeing of our nation.

“The Cotswolds also has more pylons than any other protected landscape in England and Wales. That’s why we’re really pleased to be partnering with National Grid on this project which will reinvigorate the natural beauty of the area.”

Robbie Griggs concluded: “We really want the local community to get involved and have their say on our plans to enhance this special, protected landscape. If you’re a resident close to our intended route for pylon removal, you should be receiving a letter in the post. You’ll also be able to view our interactive 360 tour when it launches in the coming days, and you can contact us using any of the details below. We look forward to meeting you and hearing from you soon.”

To find out more about the Cotswolds VIP project, get in touch via:


Bathscape launches the Circuit of Bath walking trail

Image shows a group of people on a guided walk being led on one of the Circuit of Bath routes.

Nicole Daw leads a guided walk taking in a section of the 21 mile Circuit of Bath route. 

The Circuit of Bath takes in river, canal, meadows, woodland and peaceful valleys and provides a beautiful walk in any season.

It passes classic Bath landmarks in the landscape – Little Solsbury Hill, Beckford’s Tower, Dundas Aqueduct, the Kennet & Avon Canal, Millennium viewpoint and the Wansdyke. The route also includes the picture-perfect villages of Woolley, Upper Swainswick, Bathampton, Monkton Combe, South Stoke and Englishcombe. You can find more information here.

With its compact layout and surrounding hills and valleys, Bath is known as one of the most beautiful and most walkable cities in the UK.

Bathscape project manager, Dan Merrett, said: “This is a significant milestone in our project and one of which we are very proud. Through our project partner, Cotswolds National Landscape, we have made physical improvements to the route including installing waymarkers and we now have trail guides ready to use, splitting the route into four sections. Walkers can really challenge themselves whilst experiencing the best of Bath as a landscape city. We’re grateful to the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens and Bath Ramblers for all their work and to the players of the National Lottery, which is funding the project.”

Bathscape has worked with a large group of volunteers to complete the improvements and waymarking and has recently recruited a team of volunteer rangers to look after the route. Working with experienced wardens, volunteers have taken on a stretch of the route that they walk regularly, keeping it well maintained and easy to walk. The new rangers recently joined the volunteers who worked on the path improvements at a thank you event.

Councillor Mark Roper, cabinet assistant for Neighbourhood Services, said: “Many people enjoyed taking walks in their local area during the pandemic. This new walking route offers a longer connected path around our beautiful city and surrounding countryside. It’s also a great motivator for people who want to improve their fitness or wellbeing.  The Circuit of Bath walking route is accessible by public transport and the easy-to-use guides and waymarking will get you round safely.”

The route is based on the Julian House Circuit of Bath walk, which the Bath-based charity has been checking and refining every year since 2001. People looking for a challenge who want to try to walk the full distance in one day, can sign up to the Julian House sponsored walk on Sunday, 25 September. You can register for it here.  On this date, Julian House will provide check points, with water, snacks and toilets and a shuttle bus in case you want to shorten the walk. You’ll be able to raise vital money to support people experiencing homelessness and escaping domestic abuse.  The Julian House walk is the finale of the annual Bathscape Walking Festival, featuring 60+ walks on different themes and in different locations.

For a more leisurely approach to the route, the walk has been divided into four sections linking to public transport stops. The route maps, step by step instructions and travel information are available here. Walking it in sections is also great training for the sponsored walk! You’ll also find this and other walking trails on the Bathscape map.

A team of volunteers have been checking and rechecking the instructions, but continued feedback on the walk and the guides is welcomed, please get in touch with us at info@bathscape.co.uk.  Bathscape will continue working with Cotswolds National Landscape and Bath Ramblers to carry out more improvement works on the route.