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Cotswolds Farming Forum

This year’s Farming Forum, organised by Cotswolds Conservation Board, is exploring two areas that will impact greatly on the farm, the new Environmental Land Management System (ELMS) and ash dieback.

The speakers are:

John Law, Policy Advisor, Environmental Land Management, Defra

The new Environmental Land Management System – Where we are at and where we are heading

Tim Shardlow, Forestry Director and Nathan Fall, Woodland Manager, Nicholsons Nurseries Ltd

Ash Dieback – Why should I care?

Doors open at 6.30 with tea, coffee and cakes. Welcome and introduction by the Chairman for the evening, Graham Nichols, Chairman, Gloucestershire NFU, at 7.00pm.

If you would like to attend please let us know by Monday 18th March by sending an email to,

Or you can register for free by visiting

Cotswolds LEADER re-opens to new Expressions of Interest

The Cotswolds LEADER Programme has re-opened to new Expressions of Interest for two weeks from Monday 4 March 2019 to Friday 15 March 2019


Who are we?

The LEADER Programme is a national grant scheme targeted at the rural areas of England. The aim of the programme is to create new jobs and grow the rural economy through capital grant investment. The Cotswolds LEADER Programme is delivered by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

Who can apply?

LEADER is open to a wide range of businesses, farmers and not for profits. The six LEADER funding priorities are: increasing farm productivity, micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification, rural tourism, culture and heritage, rural services and increasing forestry productivity.

How much is available?

Grants are available from £5,000 to £50,000 at a maximum intervention rate of 40% of the project’s total eligible costs. For exceptional projects under Priority 2 (Support for micro and small businesses and farm diversification) with high job outputs, grants from £50,000 to £100,000 will be considered.

What is the timeline?

  • All Expressions of Interest must be submitted by Friday 15 March 2019
  • All Full Applications to be submitted by Tuesday 30 April 2019
  • All projects must be approved and contracted by Wednesday 31 July 2019
  • All grant payments must have been made by 31 December 2020

Eligible area

The Cotswolds LEADER eligible area broadly mirrors the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the exclusion of urban areas.

Please speak to Lioba Erwert to request an Expression of Interest Form.
Tel 01451 862001


Chasing Darkness…

Join us for an evening with respected astronomer Will Gater to celebrate our dark skies!

Dark skies are recognisably important as part of our heritage, for wildlife, and for health and wellbeing. They are a notable and characteristic feature of the Cotswolds AONB and in 2016, CPRE published survey data showing that a good part of the Cotswolds AONB retains high quality dark skies – but also warns that dark skies are becoming increasingly rare. We need to protect the astronomical landscape as much as the landscape underfoot.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board is launching the Cotswolds Dark Skies Initiative on the evening of 16th March at Guiting Power Village Hall. Astronomy Journalist, author, and science presenter Will Gater will be talking about what dark skies mean to us, what they can reveal, and how we must work to protect their treasures. Weather permitting, the evening will conclude with an outdoor stargazing session.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL Tickets are £8.00 for adults, 16 and under free and are available from:

Call for projects for Caring for the Cotswolds

Caring for the Cotswolds, the visitor giving scheme for the Cotswolds AONB is again accepting applications for projects. The scheme distributes funds raised by local companies for environmental and heritage projects. Based around the concept of visitors acknowledging their appreciation for the Cotswolds by contributing something towards the conservation of the wonderful place they have come to see and enjoy. All grants will support at least one of the scheme’s primary objectives;

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape
  • Manage and restore habitats for wildlife
  • Manage and improve footpaths and bridleways
  • Look after the area’s distinctive historical heritage
  • Provide countryside access information and/or improve the public’s understanding of the things that make the Cotswolds special.

Examples of projects funded to date can be seen here

Details of the scheme and downloadable guidance and application forms can be found here;

The deadline for applications is 5th April 2019.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome by the end of May 2019.

Potential applicants can discuss possible projects with Edward Bonn, Grants Officer E-mail tel: 01451 862032

Gloucestershire’s young people dig into rural life

L_R: Team programme participants: Fergus, Martyna, Natasha, Jack, Sam, Morgan, and Luis, with Programme Leader, Archie Morton. 

Cotswolds Conservation Board is celebrating the conclusion of a pilot rural skills training scheme in partnership with Young Gloucestershire and The Princes Trust. The ‘Team’ programme, offered by the Prince’s Trust, and facilitated by Young Gloucestershire, aims to help young people from urban areas in Gloucestershire prepare for work or further education with a range of practice-based activities.

Team is a nationally recognised programme set up by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. More than 70% of young people who complete the course go on to get a job or return to education or training within three months of finishing the programme.

The 12 week programme is for young people aged 16-25 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Participants get involved in a local community project, complete a short work placement, participate in a team challenge (involving caring for others), and work on their CVs and work skills. The course encourages group working, confidence building, and motivation.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board has been involved in a trial of a new element of the course which offers young people opportunities to get some hands-on rural skills experience. From thatching, to woodland management and bushcraft, to map reading, stone carving, dry stone walling, and blacksmithing – participants have been able to try a range of rural skills, at the same time as experiencing what it’s like to work outside in a rural context.

Many of the young people taking part do not have regular access to the countryside surrounding the towns and cities where they live, so this element of the Team programme is a valuable opportunity for them to explore what options might be available to them.

Edward Bonn, Rural Skills Officer at Cotswolds Conservation Board said, “It’s been brilliant introducing these groups of young people to our rural skills programme. Lots of them have never experienced anything like it before, and have really got stuck in to the sessions we’ve run for them. In particular, the blacksmithing, stone carving, and bushcraft sessions were very popular.”

Archie Morton, Programme Leader at Young Gloucestershire said, “Including rural skills in the Team programme is new for Young Gloucestershire – but we feel it’s a valuable addition. This time round was a pilot – so our focus now will be on seeking funding to continue being able to allow young people to broaden their skill set and experience.”

If you or your organisation is interested in finding out more about how to contribute to funding this valuable programme, please contact Simon Smith (Cotswolds Conservation Board) at or Archie Morton(Young Gloucestershire) at

Call for Projects in the vicinity of pylon line ZF2 (Upper Coberley to Alderton)

National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative (LEI)


The Cotswolds Conservation Board has issued a call for projects for the National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative.

This £24 million grant scheme offers awards of up to £200,000 for projects to enhance landscapes containing or impacted by National Grid’s existing electricity transmission infrastructure.

Only the Board can apply to the National Grid for this funding and we are inviting partners to put forward projects.

The Board has selected pylon line ZF2 which runs between Coberley and Alderton for our first call for projects as it is judged to have the highest impact of any line within the Cotswolds AONB.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest to the Board is the 1st February 2019 for projects commencing in December 2019.

Next steps / essential documents:

Anyone with a project idea is encouraged to talk to Simon Smith the Board’s Project Development Officer at