Glorious Cotswold Grasslands

 

Glorious Cotswold Grasslands started as an exciting and ambitious 3-year project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to create the largest network of wildflower-rich Jurassic limestone grassland in the country.

From 2019-2022 we initiated restoration work on over 200 hectares of land throughout the Cotswold National Landscape, more than doubling the original target – an amazing achievement. In 2021 we entered into a partnership with Severn Trent Water as part of their Great Big Nature Boost and this funding, combined with several other potential funding sources has enabled the Cotswold National Landscape to move the project onto a permanent footing, meaning we will be working to restore Cotswolds grassland for many years to come.

The background – habitat loss

In the 1930s, 40% of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was covered in wildflower-rich grassland. This habitat was abundant with beautiful wildflowers, and supported a vast diversity of wildlife, including rare wildflowers such as the beautiful Pasqueflower and a huge variety of invertebrates and all the birds and mammals that depend on them. Wildflower grasslands are particularly important for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, including many rare species such as the Chalkhill Blue and Duke of Burgundy. Sadly, agricultural intensification and changing land management practices have led to the loss of almost all this wildflower grassland…less than 1.5% remains.

The future – habitat restoration

Through careful management it is possible to restore previously ‘improved’ grasslands and create new species-rich grasslands. Using seed collected by our brush seed harvester we can over-seed existing grassland or land previously used for arable farming to increase the floristic diversity of such sites with wildflowers of local provenance and genetics. We are able to work with a range of organisations including large and small private landowners and managers, conservation charities, local authorities, parish councils and schools.

Want to help us continue to thrive? Donate below!

Donate to the Cotswolds Conservation Board

Landowners and managers

Do you own or manage some grassland? Encouraging species-rich wildflower grassland offers benefits to you, your livestock, and the wider environment. We provide advice on grassland management best practice and techniques, and funding to restore or create wildflower grassland. Please do get in touch with Harvey & Anna (details below) for advice on your grassland restoration plans or to arrange a free site visit. In the meantime please download our Glorious Cotswold Grasslands Advice Pack for guidance on many of these issues.

Events

As part of our engagement work, we aim to run a number of events throughout the year, news of which will be posted here. These will include guided walks, events and festivals, and equine and landowner workshops. As these are finalised they will be listed below. For courses marked * please email Anna (details below) to register an interest for further details.

  • Equine Workshop at Farm Ed – 19 May 2022 (click here to book via Farm Ed)
  • Nature day at Yew Tree Farm – 12 June, 9.30am – 1pm
    Explore a wildflower meadow, moths and butterflies, woodland and an orchard, and pond wildlife in the beautiful surroundings of Thrupp. Free entry, with proceeds from tea and cake sales going to charity.
    Top of Brewery lane, Thrupp, Stroud GL5 2EF, car parking at nearby Stroud Brewery or limited on street.
  • Calcareous grassland wildflower & grass ID training day – 20 June 2022 Book here
  • Calcareous grassland wildflower & grass ID training day – 27 June 2022 Book here
  • National Meadows Day at Lower Hampen Farm * – 2 July 2022
  • Moreton Show – 3 September 2022. Find our stand and pop in to say hello!

For courses marked * please email anna.field@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk to register an interest for further details.

Newsletters

Free schools art pack

During our arts competition in 2021, we produced a fun, colourful, and engaging arts pack for Key Stages 1 & 2 to help school children and learn all about wildflower meadows. Download the free schools art pack here.

Volunteer with us

Can you spare a few hours to help our wildflowers and other wildlife? We are always looking for volunteers to help with our work. Do you have a love for wildflowers? During the spring and summer we are always looking for help with botanical surveys of our sites. Or would you prefer to help at one of our seed harvesting days in July and August? Or want to keep fit? Join our autumn/winter Wednesday habitat management group. No experience required, and all essentials (including tea and cake!) will be provided. Please contact Anna (details below) for more information.

Get involved

Meet our team

Harvey Sherwood

Harvey Sherwood is our Glorious Cotswolds Grasslands Operations Co-ordinator. He has worked in a range of practical and advisory roles in farming, ecology and land management for many years and has extensive experience working with land managers in the Cotswolds.

Email: harvey.sherwood@cotswoldsAONB.org.uk

 

Anna Field

Anna Field is our Glorious Cotswold Grasslands Programme Officer. She is a trained ecologist with a wide variety of experience of botanical, invertebrate, and ornithological surveys and practical habitat conservation in the Cotswolds.

Email: anna.field@cotswoldsAONB.org.uk