Everybody’s favourite five-foot furry friends will be springing through the Cotswolds once again in May 2018, when the fifth annual Hare Trail gets underway to celebrate the burgeoning of new life and, for the first time, support Cotswolds conservation thanks to an exciting new partnership.
Organisers are delighted to team up with The Cotswolds Conservation Board to help conserve and enhance the special qualities of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), whilst encouraging everyone from art aficionados and nature lovers to social media snappers to explore new attractions, hidden hills and valleys, quiet corners and busy market towns along the trail.
Plus, for the first time in 2018, the trail will branch out from as far as Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath to the Forest of Dean and almost Oxford; giving thousands more an opportunity to marvel at the March hares along a variety of routes designed for those travelling in cars and public transport, by bike or on foot.
As in previous years, scores of spring hare sculptures and leverets will be sponsored by local businesses, attractions, schools, colleges and community groups, and decorated by inspired local artists, before being dotted throughout the Cotswolds in a unique art installation for all to enjoy for almost four and a half months. At the end of the trail, the sculptures will be gathered in for a public Farewell to the Hares event, before being auctioned off to raise money for the Cotswolds AONB.
The first prestigious trail sponsor is confirmed as The Kings Head Hotel in Cirencester; an elegant boutique hotel, subterranean spa and relaxed restaurant with an affinity for the history and beauty of the Cotswolds – with further sponsors to be confirmed over the coming months.
Festival founder and Director, Florence Beetlestone, said: “We are thrilled to be working with the Cotswolds AONB on the Cotswold Hare Trail 2018. This year our 104 hares and leverets raised over £60,000 at auction, and we know next year’s trail will be even bigger, and we hope to raise even more money to fund two key Cotswolds AONB conservation initiatives.
“Over the years our hares have really brought the Cotswold community together and innovative ideas for next year’s trail are already underway to ensure we really showcase local creativity, as well as remind us all of the constant need to preserve and protect our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
Liz Eyre, Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, added: “The Cotswolds Conservation Board is delighted to be supporting this year’s Cotswolds Hare Trail, giving the Board an opportunity to increase greater awareness and understanding of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The hares will be located in towns and villages across the 790 square miles of England’s third largest protected landscape.
“Funds generated from the hares auction at the end of the trail will support the AONB’s Caring for the Cotswolds visitor giving scheme and Glorious Cotswold Grasslands; delivering a unique and tailored project to transform the fortunes of our wonderful flower rich grasslands”.
There are still a limited number of sponsorship packages available for local businesses, attractions, schools, colleges and community groups to become Cotswoldharians. Organisers are looking for the top environmentally aware businesses in the region, whether large or small, to share their vision.
For more information on how to sponsor your own hare, and put a spring in the step of locals and visitors alike, please call Mel on 07771 988432.