The Cotswolds became an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, this means that the Cotswolds are
protected as a special landscape of national importance for everyone to enjoy. The Cotswold countryside is
cared for by a multitude of local people with skills that have been passed down through the centuries.
There are over 4,000 miles of dry stone walling that require constant repairing, ancient woodland that
need careful management, the preservation of rare animal breeds such as the famous
Cotswold sheep, the restoration of inland waterways like the Thames and Severn canal, the constant
upkeep of many of the historic buildings including the churches that cover the landscape, open spaces,
gardens or parkland.
Much of this work is carried out by volunteers who give their time to ensure that future generations will
enjoy the Cotswolds as we all enjoy them today. To find out how you can help with this essential work,
take a look at the various organisations that help to secure the future of the Cotswolds for the generations
that follow us today.
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Cotswolds Conservation Board
The Cotswolds Conservation Board works with others to conserve the natural beauty of the countryside
and they are the only organisation to look after the area as a whole. The Conservation Board replaced
the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership in December 2004. For more details about the
Conservation Board visit their website at
The Cotswold Water Park is Britain's largest water park consisting of over 133 lakes created by gravel
extraction. Covering over 40 square miles the water park is over 50% larger than the Norfolk Broads and still
The park provides a resource that allows adults and children alike to enjoy walks,
bird watching, nature photography and lot's of water based sports.
A visit to the Cotswold Water Park
is a must when visiting the area.
The National Trust was founded in 1895 by three Victorian's, Miss Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and
Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Each was worried about the impact of uncontrolled development and
industrialisation, much as we are today, so they set up the National Trust to act as a guardian for the nation
in the acquisition and protection of our threatened
coastline, countryside and buildings. The Trust owns many of Britain's finest house's and
garden's throughout England and Wales; here in the Cotswolds we have some of the finest you will visit,
Chastleton House, Upton House, Snowshill Manor, The Courts Gardens, Hidcote Manor Gardens and
the Commons above Stroud. The
National Trust website is a must.
The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are the county's leading conservation charity dedicated to wildlife.
The Trust is part of a national partnership of 47 local wildlife trusts. Their mission is a "Gloucestershire
rich in wildlife and
valued by everyone.". The Trust bought the 160 acre Greystones Farm at Bourton on the Water in 2003.
Find out what the
does in the Cotswolds.
The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain was founded in 1968 and "seeks to ensure the
best craftsmanship of the past is preserved and that the craft has a thriving future". Many of the stone
walls in the Cotswolds are centuries old
and will need constant maintenance to keep them in tip top condition for years to come. The DSWA train
people in the art of stone
walling and run courses throughout the Cotswolds during the year. If you are interested in this form of
craftsmanship, visit the
Between 1900 and 1973 more than 20 unique breeds of British farm animals became extinct. With your
help the RBST can ensure that breeds such as the Cotswold sheep, Gloucestershire Old Spot pig or the
Gloucester cattle do not suffer the same fate.
The RBST was founded in 1973 and is a registered charity funded entirely on membership subscriptions
and donations. To help
the RBST visit their website.
The famous Cotswold sheep is revered the world over. The breed helped to shape the economic
history of the Cotswolds,
for, without this breed the grand houses and beautiful churches would not have been built.
After centuries of being the
source of wealth, the need for Cotswold sheep to provide wool disappeared and the breed edged towards
It is a history spanning hundred's of years, highly significant, yet after all the fears the breed is
now thriving once more.
For a more in depth look at the survival of the Cotswold breed visit the
Cotswold Sheep Society website.
The Woodland Trust is the UK's leading conservation charity dedicated to the protection of Britain's
native woodland. Barber Wood at Coberley, Coaley Wood near Uley, Laycombe Wood close to
This England Wood at Slad are just some of the woods in the care of the
The Friends of Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common was formed to represent local interest in
recreation, history and land management of the SSSI; Site of Special Scientific Interest. The group
works in partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council,
landowners, and for the benefit of residents and visitors to Cheltenham and the Cotswolds.
Slimbridge is the headquarters of The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the largest international
charity in the UK. The Trust was founded by the artist and naturalist Sir Peter Scott, and now there are
centres around the UK, where people can get closer to wetland birds and enjoy spectacular wetland
Sir Peter Scott's vision became a reality at Slimbridge in 1946, when he realised how many thousands
of geese depended on
the banks and shoreline of the Severn Estuary and today Slimbridge is world famous for its importance
as a site for
over-wintering of migrating water birds such as Bewick's Swans or Canada Geese.
You can join the trust at www.wwt.org.uk.
The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has some of England's most beautiful countryside
and for over 30
years the Cotswolds Voluntary Wardens have helped to care for the Cotswolds landscape.
The wardens help maintain the many
paths around the area has well as leading walks for those who enjoy the countryside.
Visit the Cotswold Wardens
website for more information on their work.
Woodchester Mansion is an architectural masterpiece of the Victorian age. A building hidden in a
steep valley and left
abandoned by its builders before it could be completed. It had been left untouched until recent times,
and today the trust
offers a unique opportunity to tour and explore a Gothic building in mid-assembly.
The Mansion is in the 400-acre Woodchester Park, a landscape park owned by the National Trust and
is of great beauty,
sheltering an abundance of wildlife. Beautiful woodland walks of various lengths wind around the parks wood
lakes. The Woodchester Mansion Trust
website gives details of opening times and events.
The Wychwood Project aims to raise awareness of the history and heritage of the former Royal
Hunting Forest of Wychwood.
Local people are encouraged to participate in and benefit from the restoration and
the conservation of the landscape and
wildlife habitats within the Forest boundaries. Visit the website
for further information.
Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum was set up as an independent organisation in 1993 to create
a platform for wildlife
conservation in Oxfordshire. Today it is an innovative and expanding partnership of 60 conservation
bodies, environmental and recreational interests along with local authorities. The website can be found at
The Gloucestershire Geoconservation Trust are a geological conservation organisation and a founder
member of The
Geology Trusts. The organisation also lead regular field trips and walks throughout the Cotswolds and
Gloucestershire, have a program of 'Rock and Fossil Roadshows" that are
taken to schools, museums and other visitor attractions.
The Gloucestershire Geoconservation Trust are a not-for-profit organisation, currently involved in an
application for charity status and have a membership of around 100
people with varying backgrounds and levels of knowledge about geology
in Gloucestershire. The group has a website www.glosgeotrust.org.uk where a lot of
information is available and from where the Local Geodiversity Action Plan can be downloaded as a series of
Cotteswold Naturalists Field Club is one of the the oldest field clubs in the country and the groups aim
is to "promote interest in the natural history, geology and archaeology of Gloucestershire and the
The group hold's regular field trips and walks during the summer months, and indoor talks and meetings
in the winter.
Membership is extremely varied and they produce the 'Transactions' of the club as a regular journal which
papers and essays on everything from club visits to local gardens to serious research papers.
Like all good group's of like minded people the regular field trips always finish at a pub with fine local ales in the
best traditions of field geology and if you would like to know more about the aims and social aspects of the
Field Cluband then visit the website for lots more information.