The Cotswolds is not a museum. Will our climate change it forever?
I was delighted when Andy Parsons, the Chief Executive at Cotswolds National Landscape, recently shared their latest commissioned report — Creating a Pathway to a climate-friendly Cotswolds.
My first thought when I’d read the well written, easy to digest study was I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.
The Cotswolds is the largest of Britain’s 41 areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). An area of roughly 800 square miles of quintessential England, market towns and picturesque villages nestled amongst the rolling wolds (hills), a patchwork quilt of fields bounded by cream tea yellow limestone walls. The churches and inns have decorated many a Christmas card and cameras rolled for big budget period dramas.
Courtesy of Green Traveller’s Guides
It’s farming country and has looked much the same way for centuries. It broadly covers Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, creeping tentatively into Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire on the margins.
The sitting MP for this constituency created in 1997 by the conservatives and not a bad fit geographically to the AONB, is journeyman Tory, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown. He’s sitting on a 20,000 majority, the Lib Dems a solid second. It’s currently the 211th safest Tory seat.
I’m assuming that many Londoners of a certain persuasion with second homes in this constituency, choose to vote there in order to avoid disappointment.
The potential conflict of interest between second home owners and the indigenous farming community, is only one obvious complication.
Tourism has recently overtaken agriculture as the single largest employer.
16 million people visit the Cotswolds every year, the majority of which will be driving their fossil fuelled vehicles to their destination, many just for the day.