The characteristic nature conservation features of the Greater Cotswold Natural Area are calcareous grasslands, neutral grasslands, ancient woodlands, rivers, riparian habitats, parklands, geological sites and arable habitats. One of the most significant features of the Natural Area is the unimproved limestone grassland resource, particular CG3 upright brome Bromus erectus and CG5 upright brome-tor grass Brachypodium pinnatum grassland. The conservation and expansion of this resource are the key objectives for this Natural Area. Knowledge of the grassland resource varies between counties and teams, with differing levels of information available. Detailed (Phase 2) survey data exists for Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. The Avon resource has been identified and mapped, although it has not been surveyed to the same level. The location of most of the Wiltshire and Oxfordshire sites is known, although they have not been systematically surveyed. Somerset has only two known sites that are SSSIs, while Leicestershire contains no unimproved grassland sites within the Natural Area. This project therefore took a stratified approach of examining the application and utility of differing levels of data to secure the Natural Area grassland objectives. The initial aim was to establish a Greater Cotswold Natural Area database for the location of the grassland resource to be mapped by MapInfo. The project also looked at the benefits of handling the available data using the MapInfo software.
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