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22/01/2021

Five-year Cotswold conservation project comes to close

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A 2.8 million pound project that has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds retains its natural beauty is nearing completion. The Caring for the Cotswolds project, which was supported by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund Grant has been tackling the key elements that make the area unique.

It is one of the first pioneering ‘landscape scale’ projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has helped to ensure that the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is conserved and enhanced for future generations.

In delivering the project the Cotswolds Conservation Board paid special attention to:

  • The drystone walls that are a distinctive feature of the AONB
  • The limestone grasslands that were greatly reduced in number decades ago due to intensive farming but are now being restored by conservationists and farmers to provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants, including up to 25 species of butterfly
  • Conserving the local distinctiveness of the field patterns, hedgerows, trees, towns, villages and buildings that make the Cotswolds unique
  • A major interpretation project aimed at helping the public understand and enjoy the Cotswolds AONB

Niel Curwen Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said:

“When you walk or drive through the Cotswolds landscape and take time to reflect upon the characteristics that make the area unique, it is worth remembering that, although they appear to have been there for ever, the features that catch your eye may well have been carefully cared for and tended recently.

“Very often, we see a view that pleases and find ourselves appreciating it for its timeless beauty but the satisfying balance and composition of some of the most stunning vistas in the area has very often been given a helping hand in the recent past by farmers, land managers and conservationists.”

The project, which ends this December has covered a wide spectrum of conservation work, from using conservation grazing to ensure that wildflower grassland sites in target areas flourish to providing rural skills courses to encourage more people to learn to repair drystone walls.

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