Projects Update

April 2022

Preserving a three-acre traditional orchard at Wolds End, Chipping Campden


Wolds End Orchard in Blossom with Chipping Campden Church Tower in the distance © Keyna Doran

The Campden Society successfully bid to Caring for the Cotswolds towards a project that will help preserve a three-acre traditional orchard at Wolds End, Chipping Campden. The project involves pruning the oldest trees to safeguard them from being damaged in high winds, a survey of the trees and tools to enable ongoing management by the volunteers. Pruning the trees prolongs their life and promotes health. The survey of the trees, as well as the grassland, will improve understanding of the site and inform future management.

Traditional orchards, once commonplace, are now increasingly rare. They are excellent for wildlife; the trees of different ages and unimproved grassland provides habitat for a range of species. The proximity of Wolds End orchard to the town of Chipping Campden also makes it unusual. Whilst there is no public right of way, the orchard is open to the local community through regular volunteer work parties and four main events throughout the year: Blossom Time, Summer Picnic, Apple Day & Harvesting, and Wassailing. This year, the orchard will be open to the public for Blossom Weekend from Sat 30 Apr to Mon 2 May.

March 2022

Bringing the environment and history to life in Limpley Stoke, Wiltshire


One of three new information boards in Limpley Stoke © Tom Harper

Limpley Stoke is a village in the southern Cotswolds in the Avon valley between Bath and Freshford. A Caring for the Cotswolds grant has funded the design and installation of three new information boards: in the park (pictured above) by the church, and near the Best Western Hotel entrance and opposite the Hop Pole Inn. The locations were selected because they are key routes for residents and visitors walking into and around the village.

The creation of the Environment and History information boards has been the culmination of diligent work carried out by many villagers and researchers over the years. Environment research has included the obtaining of habitat maps from the Association of Local Environmental Records. Over the years various history documents have been produced on the village, and information from these has been incorporated into the boards. A QR Code can be found on the boards for further information sources.

February 2022

Community Shelter at Westonbirt Arboretum


Getting stuck in; work has begun on the new community shelter © Tony Lucas

Caring for the Cotswolds is proud to be supporting the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum with our biggest grant to date. The community shelter has been designed and built with the help of the people that will ultimately use it. The structure will be seriously impressive once finished and will act as a hub for educational events and activities at the Arboretum.

The project is engaging and working with a wide range of schools, charities and community groups. Graham Anstey, Community Shelter Development Officer (pictured above) says “We hear from the schools and colleges we work with that the students carry their engagement and confidence back with them, and often talk about their positive experience of being part of the programme.”

The shelter is currently under construction and scheduled to be complete by summer 2022.

See here for more info: https://www.fowa.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/community-shelter-project

January 2022

New projects supported by Caring for the Cotswolds!


Wolds End Orchard in the Snow – one of the new projects supported © Susie Tombs

In autumn 2021, the Caring for the Cotswolds grant scheme opened to new applications. In January 2022 six of the applications were approved by the Grants Panel. In total, £6,000 was awarded. One of the projects, pictured above, is Wolds End Orchard in Chipping Campden. The project was proposed by The Campden Society and focuses on the restoration and management of this traditional orchard. Not only will the wildlife benefit from this project, there will be lots of opportunities for community involvement through volunteering, events and visits. A summary of new projects is below:

Organisation Project
100 Acer Wood Conservation Trust Hedgerow/ orchard planting & tools for management
Friendship Café & Cotswold Wardens Equipment, clothing & maps to facilitate walking groups
Long Newnton Parish Council Wild flower verge creation & management over 3 yrs
The Campden Society Management & restoration of a traditional orchard
Tysoe Parish Council Community engagement & conservation project
Wotton Area Climate Action Network Wildflower plants & interpretation

December 2021

Sladebank Woods revisited

Woodhenge; constructed from chestnut posts & larch poles with owner Martin Jakes © James Webb

We revisit Sladebank Woods CIC almost a year after they were awarded a Caring for the Cotswolds grant and boy, have they been busy! The grant helped pay for the surfacing of new access paths around the woodland, a compost loo and the construction of the woodhenge, which is used as a focal point for visiting groups. A number of the visiting groups were also involved in its construction; a real community endeavour. The project has been attracting lots of (well deserved) attention, featuring on BBC Points West in September. Also, look out for the March 2022 issue of Cotswold Life, in which Martin Jakes, the woodland owner, shares his thoughts, passions and plans for the woodland.

November 2021

Tormarton Village Pond

A view of the village pond capturing a beautiful Cotswold stone wall © James Webb

The village of Tormarton is in South Gloucestershire, located just north of the M4 motorway. The village boasts many historic buildings including, St Mary Magdalene church which dates back to the 12th century. Another little gem at the centre of the village is the village pond. It is quite large, relative to the village, and has two access points from the High Street leading to a seating area. Two years ago, a Caring for the Cotswolds grant paid for an interpretation board that explains the various features of the pond, its surroundings and the wildlife on site. For such a small site, there is a lot to see – testament to the importance of good quality fresh water habitats. The pond has lost many of the mature ash trees that surrounded it; a result of ash die-back. However, the trees have been pollarded (a high cut) rather than felled so that they will continue to provide valuable habitat for insects, birds and mammals in the years to come.

October 2021

New Footbridge near Rissington Mill

Before and after photos of the completed footpath improvements © Nicola Chidley

A well-used footpath that runs from Bourton on the Water to Little Rissington has benefited from a new footbridge in a notoriously wet and muddy spot. The project, which took several years planning, was developed by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens working with Gloucestershire County Council Public Rights of Way team and the local landowner. It took several months to arrange the Environment Agency licence, materials and access but finally on a couple of damp October days the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens spent their mornings constructing the footbridge on site.  Further along the same path, the wardens also replaced a broken gate and handrail to ensure the onward path is easy to use.

This is a legacy project of the North Cotswold Walkers Charity (NCW), which wound up its operations earlier this year. NCW donated its residual funds to Caring for the Cotswolds with funds ring-fenced for access projects in the North Cotswolds after its closure.  One at these projects was at Rissington Mill where £1,100 was allocated to the work. The bridge has been well received by local walkers and will be appreciated by visitors on a popular path between Bourton-on-on-the-Water, Rissington Mill and Wyck Rissington/ Little Rissington.

September 2021

Stroud Landscape Project receives welcome boost


The view from Boundary Court Farm looking towards Rodborough Common © James Webb

A challenging project has been delivered by the National Trust (NT) at Boundary Court Farm, sandwiched between Selsley and Woodchester near Stroud. A Caring for the Cotswolds grant was used to purchase and install a new water trough for the NT’s herd of Belted Galloway cattle. The trough is supplied from a water source at the top of the hill in Selsley and the pipe had to be laid a meter underground following an old woodland track!

The new trough will enable the NT to extend the grazing regime at Boundary Court Farm. The extension will see over seven hectares of a species-poor grassland bank being restored. The restoration of the bank at the farm is an important element in the Stroud Landscape Project. As the bank gradually begins to support more wildflowers over the coming years, the team will be able to harvest the seed – further expanding the successful programme of collection and sowing.

A wonderful circular walk can be enjoyed around Boundary Court Farm with access points and parking near St Mary’s Church, North Woodchester.

August 2021

Chalford Parish Council launches new biodiversity trails!


The project launch event brought the community together this summer © ChalCAN

Early in 2021, Chalford Climate Action Network received a grant from the Cotswold National Landscape’s Caring for the Cotswold scheme. Dr Grace O’Donovan explained the group’s objectives and how the grant was used.  “We have a range of initiatives to reduce our community’s use of carbon and become more sustainable. This has included enhancing several habitats around the Parish, including planting a spinney of 150 trees. Next, we wanted to create trails so everyone could enjoy these sites and learn why they are so valuable. In particular, we wanted to encourage people to visit varied and lesser-known parts of the Parish, so the trails go through grassland, ancient woods and along The Thames and Severn Canal and the River Frome.” If walked in full, the trail combines four established protected areas and two new wildlife sites developed by the Network’s Biodiversity Action team.

A trail leaflet is available, but around the walks there are five information boards, which in addition to advice on what can be seen, offer a QR code to direct people onto the trail’s website.  “Then you can download either a GPS or Google Earth file which will guide you round the walk. Local schoolchildren visit the sites too, and search for all the unusual plants and animals.  They are very good at finding them – perhaps because they are closer to the ground than adults!”

July 2021

Making Space for Nature in Tysoe


Identifying moths with Prof Rosemary Collier, as part of Tysoe’s Wildlife Activity Week

This project started as a space in the church yard, set aside for wild flowers. Since those early days and with the help of a Caring for the Cotswolds grant, the project has extended to many new areas. New sites have been designated and managed for wildlife, including wildflowers, which attracts pollinators and a host of birds and mammals.

There is a strong focus on education, supported by three attractive information boards in the village. These boards tell the story of what is happening in the specified areas and are updated regularly to keep people interested in what’s going on. Over the summer holidays, the church hosted a Wildlife Activity Week for thirty primary school-aged children with Tysoe connections. The excellent report and accompanying photo story board can be read here:

June 2021

For people and for nature: Lovar Garden, Box, Wiltshire


The site has a wide range of habitats, including wetland, woodland and the banks of By Brook © Ben Dent

The Lovar Garden is in Box, at the southern end of the Cotswolds, between Bath and Chippenham.

Cllr Marilyn Tye, who is championing this project on the Parish Council, explained why the location is especially valuable. “Our village is quite hilly, and this is the only flat area of countryside, so it offers a unique, easily accessible level walk for those with limited mobility. And during the pandemic, it has been especially cherished as somewhere to find tranquillity.”

With joint funding from the Cotswold National Landscape’s Caring of the Cotswolds scheme and the Wiltshire Community Foundation, the garden will be enhanced. A group of Cotswolds Voluntary Wardens have been doing a lot of work too, including improving the footpaths.

The next steps including adding benches so that more people can sit and soak up the restorative peace of the garden, and an information board to help visitors to connect more deeply with what they are looking at. Cllr Tye adds: “We are so grateful to everyone who contributes to the Caring for the Cotswolds fund.  These improvements will make such a difference to the mental and physical wellbeing of residents and visitors.”

The Lovar Garden is free, open to everyone and can be incorporated as part of the 4½ mile Box Heritage Trail as a short diversion at the start.  Full details of the Trail are available here: 20200319-Box-Heritage-Trail-Interactive-Map.pdf or by searching “Box Heritage Trail”.

May 2021

The Tombs and Trails of Radway, Warwickshire


Radway Working Party

With lots of hard work and the help of a Caring for the Cotswolds grant, the team at Radway Parish Council have cleared a historic graveyard, including the graves of eminent soldiers. What was an overgrown, rather unused and somewhat inaccessible green space, is now a pleasant accessible area. The space has been used by people in the village to meet, which has been very beneficial in these Covid times. A large bench has been donated, from where one can sit and take in the whole green space.

An information Board explaining the history of the site will be erected. This will explain the personal history of some of the famous people in the graveyard, the story of the removal of the church which was a ‘mystery’ for many years.

The graveyard is next to the well-used Battlefield Trail which links Edgecote, Danes Moor, Cropredy Bridge and Edgehill; each a site of one or more famous battle, civil war and medieval. The ‘new’ church has a well-stocked and managed civil war permanent expedition. The Battlefield Trail, tours and re-enactments bring visitors to the area, who will now have even more heritage to enjoy.