Andy Parsons, chief executive of Cotswolds National Landscape, tells us more about the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands programme run by the Cotswolds National Landscape team.

Buzz, buzz, buzz

This week, the temperature crept up a little and the sun has been breaking through the clouds. Spring flowers are peeping their heads above the soil – snowdrops and crocus flowers heralding the long-awaited arrival of spring. And, as I enjoyed looking at these intrepid little flowers in the garden, I noticed that there were also eager bumblebees and honey bees buzzing around too, looking for early nectar.

No small feat

Seeing the bees reminded me of the impressive achievements of our Glorious Cotswold Grasslands team members in their work restoring wildflower grasslands across the Cotswolds. To date, they have racked up some remarkable statistics: over 300 hectares restored so far, 344 different species of wildflower surveyed to date, and two tonnes of wildflower seed harvested for redistribution in 2022. And they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Bugs, bees, birds and more

Limestone wildflower grasslands are a precious habitat. In the 1930s, 40% of the Cotswolds National Landscape was covered in wildflower-rich grassland. This habitat was abundant with beautiful wildflowers, and supported a vast diversity of wildlife, including rare wildflowers such as the vibrant purple pasqueflower, and a huge variety of invertebrates – and the birds and mammals that depend on them. Wildflower grasslands are particularly important for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, including many rare species such as the Chalkhill Blue and Duke of Burgundy.

Agricultural intensification and changing land management practices have led to the loss of almost all this wildflower grassland…less than 1.5% remains. But the GCG team are turning things around. By working with a growing number of enthusiastic farmers, land owners, community groups, and individuals, they are reviving wildflower grasslands across the area.

By collecting wildflower seeds from local ‘donor’ sites, and then redistributing to ‘recipient’ sites, the team is carefully working to increase biodiversity and nature recovery in the area.

And wildlife is thriving as a result. From grasshoppers, to hares, to birds of prey – these restored habitats are vital for nature recovery in the Cotswolds. Conservation grazing is an almost-essential element to the success of the grassland restoration, so you’ll often see sheep, cows, horses, and even goats helping the team by grazing the land and treading in seed.

Get involved and help spread the word

If you are a land owner who has a site that may be suitable for grassland restoration, visit the Glorious Cotswold Grassland pages of our website to find out more. And look out for the GCG team at the annual Moreton-in-Marsh Show, at National Meadows Day events, and at events relating to national programmes like Open Farm Sunday – they’re always happy to chat about the wonderful world of wildflowers!

If you’d like to find out more, visit the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands page in the Our Work section at