A VALE of Evesham construction company is helping to enhance the "visitor experience" of the Cotswolds.

Heming Group, which is based in Willersey, near Broadway, won the contract to erect four gateway marker stones in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Cotswolds Conservation Board, the body tasked with conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the AONB, decided the anniversary would be an ideal opportunity to introduce the additional stones in Gloucestershire. Another 29 marker stones are dotted around the AONB, which stretches around 100 miles from Bath and Wiltshire in the south, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, to Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north.

Peter Heming, managing director of Heming Group, which itself is nearing its 50th anniversary, said: “The Cotswolds is acknowledged as one of the most beautiful areas of England and the new markers stones will help conserve and raise awareness of the natural beauty of the area for now and future generations. Heming Group prides itself on close attention to detail and the highest standards of customer service for all its clients. The company was very pleased to have made a contribution to the gateway marker stone programme.”

The new marker stones are located at: the A40 on leaving Cheltenham at Charlton Kings; the Cirencester Road on leaving Cheltenham; the A46 on leaving Stroud towards Painswick and the B4632 at Cleeve Hill.

Andrew Lord, planning and landscape officer at the CCB, added: "The Cotswolds Conservation Board was very pleased to work with Heming Group to ensure the gateway marker stones, which are made from Cotswolds stone, were collected from our stores, assembled and safely located on site. There are now a total of 33 gateway marker stones in place around the edge of the Cotswolds AONB. This year, as it is the 50th anniversary of the Cotswolds AONB designation, it was thought particularly relevant to erect four new signs and gateway marker stones."

A programme to erect gateway marker stones and signs on the entrance boundaries into the AONB was introduced in 2001. Only routes that could safely accommodate a gateway marker stone on a wide grass verge were shortlisted for the latest additions. The design of the stones and plaques is similar to the traditional stone cut mile posts already present on the outskirts of the AONB.