Cotswold Way Volunteers Rise to the Challenge… Again!

31st October 2013

The Cotswold Way is supported, patrolled and largely maintained by a team of dedicated volunteers. Recently they have taken on even more responsibility to help our National Trail through austere times.

The Cotswold Way Wardens are part of the 350 strong Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, who carry out a vast amount of essential work along the Cotswold Way and across the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Each of the 25 Cotswold Way Wardens have their own stretch of the Trail to look after which they patrol every month, reporting issues, fixing gates and carrying a range of small jobs such as clearing nettles from around signposts. As well as making sure the Cotswold Way is kept in excellent condition, the green fleeces are a welcome sight on the ground for walkers, landowners and all friends of the National Trail; not only are they its hands, they are its face as well!

It would be hard to find a more committed, enthusiastic and hard-working bunch of people. Without them, the Cotswold Way would swiftly and surely slide into disrepair. In fact, it would not even exist, as it was a partnership between Wardens and Ramblers that created the route back in 1970. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to improve standards for the good of its users, its neighbours and the wonderful countryside through which it passes. Last year alone, over 1,200 hours were spent patrolling the Cotswold Way and just under 42,000 hours of work took place across the Cotswolds.

This year, the Cotswold Way is facing further cutbacks in funding, leading to a reduction in staffing levels and less money to spend on the ground. In order to safeguard the excellent Trail quality of which the Wardens are rightly proud, they have put in place a new model for managing the Cotswold Way. There are now four voluntary ‘Cotswold Way Coordinators’ that deal directly with the individual wardens, taking on a lot of the day-to-day responsibility for processing reports, organising work parties and generally making sure that everything on the Trail is kept in top condition. This allows the Trail Office more time for forward planning and the all-important fund-raising. The new system is already working extremely well, and the decline in standards that funding cuts would inevitably bring has for the time being been halted.

Everyone who uses the Cotswold Way, be it for a local walk, a weekend’s holiday or a 100-mile adventure, all owe the Wardens a huge debt of gratitude for their commitment to one of our country’s most important outdoor treasures. To find out more, visit their pages on the Cotswolds AONB website here.

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Volunteers on the Cotswold Way
Volunteers on the Cotswold Way
Volunteers on the Cotswold Way