Cotswolds Conservation Board continues ambitious meadow restoration project

PRESS RELEASE  11/06/19

Cotswolds Conservation Board continues ambitious meadow restoration project

Harvey Sherwood and Anna Field, from the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands project being run by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, have announced two free guided wildflower meadow walks this summer to help get people more familiar with the project. Open to everyone, including families, the walks will be held on 15th June and 6th July.

On the 15th June, climb on board for a tractor ride and guided wildflower walk across the limestone grassland at Whittington Lodge Farm, and learn more about this fantastic habitat and the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands project. Families are very welcome and plant hunt sheets will be provided for children. The walk will be up to 1 mile across rough grassland, with tea and biscuits afterwards. The walk on 6th July will be to celebrate National Meadows Day, and will be a guided 2 mile wildflower walk across the limestone grassland at Ampney Downs.

Curiously named flowers which might be spotted on the walks include Cotswold pennycress, pasque flower, oxeye daisy, common bird’s-foot trefoil, cowslip, and lady’s bedstraw. Grasslands and the flowers found on them support a host of wildlife too – including rare butterflies like the Chalkhill Blue and orange-flecked Duke of Burgundy, as well as insects, bats, birds, and small mammals.

Both walks are free, but booking is recommended. Please contact Harvey at harvey.sherwood@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk or on 07841 663 603 to book a place.

A staggering 97% of species-rich grassland in England and Wales has been lost since the 1930s. Factors like urban development, and changes in farming practice and land management, mean that the Jurassic limestone grassland coverage in the Cotswolds has shrunk from 40% to just 1.5%. These disappearing grasslands are precious though – a typical patch can contain over 100 species of flowering plants.

A grant of over £200,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, boosted by a private donation, and fundraising from the 2018 Cotswolds AONB Hare Trail, has allowed the Cotswolds Conservation Board to launch Glorious Cotswold Grasslands – a project which aims to conserve, restore and create wildflower-rich limestone grasslands across the Cotswolds AONB. The intention is to create the largest network of wildflower-rich Jurassic limestone grassland in the country. To break the cycle faced by many projects of ‘boom and bust’ due to the temporary nature of funding, this project aims to become self-financing over the delivery period. During the project, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities available and other ways to get involved and help.

ENDS 

Notes to editors:

  • Please contact Alana Hopkins at hopkins@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk / 01451 862 003 for further information or interview opportunities.
  • Image shown courtesy of Ian Boyd
  • For more information about Glorious Cotswold Grasslands, contact Harvey Sherwood at sherwood@cotswoldsaob.org.uk or Anna Field at anna.field@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • 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 third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks 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.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • 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: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk