Farming and forestry in the Cotswolds AONB

Client: Cotswolds Conservation Board

Cumulus Consultants was commissioned by the Cotswolds Conservation Board to analyse the current state and trends in farming and forestry in the Cotswolds AONB and forecast future trends over the next decade.  The work updated an earlier study focused on the impacts of climate change and globalisation on farming and forestry in the Cotswolds.


Cumulus collated and analysed agriculture, forestry and equine data, reviewed literature, and appraised future trends and impacts.  Recommendations were made for future policies and actions.

Findings and recommendations

Key findings include:

  • More spring barley, agri-environment scheme participation, on-farm renewable energy projects and woodland management are recent, new trends.
  • In future, more beans and fallow, more mixed farming practices, less agri-environment management and fewer new renewable energy projects are likely.
  • Significant loss of ash trees can be expected with the spread of ‘ash dieback’ disease.
  • The equestrian sector is valuable, with £76 million gross output, and likely to grow.

Key recommendations include:

  • Support farmers and advisers to make the most of the new schemes in terms of option selection and access to funding.
  • Encourage alterative mechanisms to maintain environment investment made to date.
  • Guide and support woodland owners and managers prepare for ash dieback.
  • Recognise the contribution of the equestrian sector and develop closer links with relevant organisations and businesses.

Key benefits

  • Better understanding of recent trends and future opportunities and threats
  • Suggested priorities for future policies and actions
  • Informed the next Cotswolds AONB Management Plan


Our latest report can be accessed here

Informative and thought provoking … the feedback has been excellent.

Rebecca Jones, Cotswold Conservation Board