Gloucestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Campaigners celebrate 90 years protecting our countryside

Friday, 30 September 2016 11:17

30 September 2016

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is celebrating 90 years of championing our countryside with a key event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October.

The origins, personalities and achievements of countryside conservation are highlighted in a new book - 22 Ideas That Saved The English Countryside - The Campaign to Protect Rural England by Peter Waine and Oliver Hilliam.

The book is to be featured in this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival on October 14th. Author and newspaper columnist Sir Simon Jenkins will be chairing a panel discussion and question and answer session with the book’s co-author Oliver Hilliam, Times columnist Alice Thomson and CPRE Gloucestershire Vice-Chairman Richard Lloyd.

The book is a fascinating account of the evolution of our relationship with the countryside, and our desire to defend it - from the birth of conservation and the influence of 19th century figures like John Ruskin and William Morris, to the recent campaign to save England’s public forests.

Key ideas and milestones discussed range from rural planning and national parks, to keeping villages alive and the right to roam. The book includes a foreword by Sir Andrew Motion and contributions from a range of prominent figures, including Kate Adie, Melvyn Bragg, Joan Bakewell, John le Carré, Jonathan Dimbleby, Caroline Quentin and Tony Robinson.

Local references include:

•    In 1968 CPRE Gloucestershire scored a major success, calling on the Government to stop a line of pylons from crossing the Severn Estuary at Sharpness ‘and adding yet another electrical eyesore to the hard-pressed Cotswolds’  

•    The Forest of Dean was declared the first ‘National Forest Park’ in England in 1938. In recent years, such progress was put at risk when the Coalition Government tried to sell off the state forests to private bodies. With the Forest of Dean particularly vulnerable, CPRE Gloucestershire campaigner Colin Evers articulated the thoughts of thousands: “For hundreds of years it was used by monarchs to hunt in, but today it is one of our forests, a national gem’  

•    In the 1930s Gloucestershire CPRE volunteers were among pioneers of a burgeoning anti-litter campaign, acting as wardens on Minchinhampton Common and gathering signed anti-litter pledges from the public  

•    Grace Hadow (born in Cirencester), campaigner for women’s suffrage who helped create England’s first Rural Community Council in Oxfordshire in 1920, and promoted pioneering adult education schemes through village libraries  

•    CPRE Tidy Village Competitions were introduced to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation.  Gloucestershire Branch had led the way with its pioneering Bledisloe Cup Best Kept Village Competition in 1937.   

•    Alongside National Parks and designated under the same legislation are AONBs.  The largest AONB in England is the Cotswolds which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.  CPRE Gloucestershire championed its early designation.  

Richard Lloyd of CPRE Gloucestershire said: “With an ever-growing population and the requirement for more housing and infrastructure, the need for CPRE is a great as ever.  Change is inevitable but it should be for the better.  

“We will continue to campaign to protect and enhance Gloucestershire’s countryside and rural economy and oppose inappropriate development”.

For more details on the book and where to buy it, see


Media contact: Richard Lloyd on 01454 613302 /07772 744461 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CPRE Gloucestershire is a campaigning organisation, a charity promoting the beauty, tranquility and diversity of rural England. Unlike many environmental charities, CPRE has no vested interests; owns no land and relies solely on donations and grants. It is politically independent and welcomes new members.

For more information visit:

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