Our Aims

  • Promote a higher awareness and focus on public art, design and sculpture and interest in arts projects; their impact on daily life and the local environment and an understanding of the way in which the arts can support environmental conservation.
  • Use art to enhance the experience of visitors to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and to reflect the theme of Living Landscapes
  • Develop an interest and knowledge of the history and culture of the brown hare and its significance to the Cotswolds AONB alongside an increased awareness of the interdependence between the landscape, natural and built environment
  • Act as a large scale tourist attraction promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of the Cotswolds AONB and sustainable tourism
  • Provide increased opportunities for the local community and visitors to explore all corners of the Cotswolds and to learn more about its rich history, natural diversity, agriculture, crafts, culture and businesses.
  • Develop community involvement and build links between the business, cultural and commercial life in the towns and villages in the Cotswolds AONB through working together on a shared project.
  • Provide a “feel good” event for local communities and visitors over a prolonged period of time through a number of free activities with wide appeal and accessibility to all sectors of society.
  • Foster links with schools through a linked educational project using the arts to promote and develop a love for the local environment and its conservation and enjoyment
  • Raise funds for Caring for the Cotswolds and Glorious Cotswold Grasslands : two projects run by the Cotswolds Conservation Board through the Trail’s fundraising auction in October.

A Brief History of the Trail

In 2013 Florence Beetlestone took on the challenge of setting up a 6 month long Festival for the Cirencester Community Development Trust. The Cirencester March Hare Festival was put into action in 2014 celebrating the Town’s links with the famous Roman Hare Mosaic in the Corinium Museum and involving the inaugural Trail of 5 foot hare sculptures decorated by local artists. The money raised at the auction at the end of the Trail went to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) to assist them in setting up a permanent new walkway around the River Churn in Cirencester for the benefit of locals and tourists alike. The GWT worked closely with Cirencester Town Council and in 2015 the Hare Festival Way was opened by the Duke of Gloucester as a legacy for the Town.

In 2015 the Cirencester March Hare Festival celebrated hare art with a Passport trail of 18″ high hares (leverets): a community arts event featuring artists’s images of hares in a town wide open exhibition; hare workshops with the Corinium Museum and National Trust Chedworth Roman Villa and seven new hare sculptures were commissioned for permanent siting along the Hare Festival Way.

In 2016 Watermoor Primary School pupils decorated mini hares (6″ high) which were then displayed around Cirencester in its shops and local businesses thus keeping the Hare Festival innovative and embedding it in the heart of the local community.

2017 saw the return of the five foot hares, but this time featuring them in a new Cotswold wide Trail. The Cotswold Hare Trail also expanded on numbers with 80 large hares and 22 leverets across a wide region stretching from Bristol to Broadway, Cheltenham to Woodstock. Auction proceeds this time were donated to National Star. The success of this trail prompted the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to decide to partner the event in 2018.

Florence Beetlestone -Founder & Festival Director

Jenny Hincks – Finance

Melanie Jones  – PR & Marketing

Athena Web Designs – Website

Chris Brant – Cotswolds AONB

Sarah Watson – Merchandise

Katie Riley – Area Representative

Claire Dowse – Fundraising and Education

Pauline Beasley – Area Representative

Martin Lane – Cotswolds AONB

Vacancy – Logistics

Doreen Newman – Minutes

Our Partners

Kings Head Hotel

Cotswold Life

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Wilts & Glos Standard

Waterstones (Cirencester)


  • Dame Janet Trotter, HM Lord Lieutenant of the County of Gloucestershire
  • The Right Honourable the Earl Bathurst
  • Vanessa Arbuthnott
  • The Right Honourable the Countess Bathurst, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire
  • Professor Chris Gaskell
  • Charles Berkeley
  • Lord & Lady Vestey
  • Lady Ashcombe

Cotswolds Conservation Board

The Cotswolds Conservation Board is an independent statutory body that works to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Cotswolds AONB, to increase understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities, and to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities.

It was established by Parliamentary Order in 2004 and is one of only two Conservation Boards in the country, the other being the Chilterns. It has 37 members drawn from local authorities, parish councils and communities across the Cotswolds, a staff team of 15 based in Northleach, Gloucestershire and 300+ voluntary wardens throughout the AONB.

Its Role

Established in 2004, the Board is the only organisation to look after the Cotswolds AONB as a whole and is a statutory body created as a result of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW) 2000.

The two key purposes of the Board are to:

  • conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Cotswolds AONB
  • increase understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the AONB, ensuring that these complement the conservation and enhancement of the area