Conservation In The Cotswolds

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


Cotswold Water Park

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 is growing.

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

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.


Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

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 GWT does in the Cotswolds.


Dry Stone Walling Association

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 DSWA Website.


Rare Breeds Survival Trust

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.


Cotswold Sheep Society

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 extinction. 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

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 Wotton-under-Edge and This England Wood at Slad are just some of the woods in the care of the Woodland Trust.


Friends of Leckhampton Hill

The Friends of Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common was formed to represent local interest in the conservation, 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.


The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Slimbridge is the headquarters of The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the largest international wetland conservation charity in the UK. The Trust was founded by the artist and naturalist Sir Peter Scott, and now there are 9 visitor centres around the UK, where people can get closer to wetland birds and enjoy spectacular wetland scenery.

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


Cotswold Voluntary Wardens

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 Trust

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 and lakes. The Woodchester Mansion Trust website gives details of opening times and events.


The Wychwood Project

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

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 organisations, farming bodies, environmental and recreational interests along with local authorities. The website can be found at


Gloucestershire Geology Trust

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 where a lot of information is available and from where the Local Geodiversity Action Plan can be downloaded as a series of pdf files.


Cotteswold Naturalists Field Club

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 Cotswolds".

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 includes 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 Cotteswold Naturalists Field Cluband then visit the website for lots more information.