IT has been a successful 12 months for the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens who clocked up nearly a record 45,249 hours between them.

More than 320 active wardens, who form the voluntary arm of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, regularly carry out a wide range of activities to conserve, enhance and increase understanding and enjoyment of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Their work in 2013/14, was estimated to be worth at least £283,000.

Despite the wet weather earlier this year, the wardens managed to surpass last year’s total hours of 41,973 and came very close to breaking their 2011/12 record of 46,960 hours.

Much of the wardens’ time was spent carrying out a variety of practical conservation and enhancement work along with organising and leading guided walks, attending shows and working with schools.

Wardens also helped to facilitate easier access to the Cotswolds countryside by installing or repairing 145 gates and 130 waymark or finger posts, constructing 260 steps in banks and 28 bridges as well as patrolling more than 3,000 miles of paths across different parishes, and clearing 39,000 metres of footpaths and bridleways.

Head Warden John Bartram said: "It has been another very productive year and thanks must go to all our wardens who have once again shown huge enthusiasm, professionalism and a wide range of skills and expertise.

"Whether it involves building a dry stone wall, maintaining a footpath or enthusing children in nature, our ever-resourceful wardens always rise to the challenge and help make many significant and tangible contributions to the activities of the Conservation Board throughout the Cotswolds AONB.”

More volunteers are needed for the Avon, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire areas of the Cotswolds. For details, visit