RICH grasslands, rolling green hills and diverse wildlife are all staples of the Five Valley’s iconic and much-loved landscape.

While we all love Stroud’s fields, pastures and commons - one resident has gone the extra mile to capture this incredible environment in all its natural splendour.

Photographer Deborah Roberts has created a new exhibition at the Subscription Rooms which celebrates the beauty of the area and work of local environmental organisations.

Titled Grasslands of the Stroud Valleys, the exhibition documents the dedicated conservation efforts of volunteers, wild flower meadows and an appreciation of the countryside.

Ahead of the launch of the show, the SNJ caught up with Deborah to have a preview of the work and talk about her inspiration for the unique display.

“This exhibition is a culmination of over a year’s work and really blends together themes of nature, wildlife, preservation and community,” said Deborah, who studied as a photographer and lives in Stroud town centre.

“I have been involved with conservation work with Stroud Valleys Project and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust for the last few years, as well as Stroud Nature.

“During that time I started taking photos of the conservation work and the some of the amazing activities, sites and thing going on around the district. I’ve always been a keen walker too so I try to get out as much as possible

“I’ve always had a passion for grasslands and nature. There is just so much to photograph in the Stroud Valleys.

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“They actually hold a large proportion of the country’s declining wildflower-rich limestone grassland – so they are incredibly important.

“Some unimproved limestone grasslands in the area have been described as Europe’s equivalent to the Amazon Rainforest for how diverse and rich in species they are. However, over the past 30 years this type of habitat has declined by 80 per cent and sites that remain in the district are of international significance.

“So a big part of my exhibition is that it aims to highlight the conservation work undertaken by local organisations and their amazing volunteers.

“It also shows the type of animals used for the managed grazing needed in order for wildflowers and insects to thrive.”

Photographs range from Minchinhampton Common and Slad Valley to Swift’s Hill and Westley Farm and capture everything from roaming cattle and butterflies to wildflowers and haystacks.

As well as documenting the work of a number of volunteer organisations and their drive to conserve key pockets of the countryside, the exhibition also explores the idea of preservation through the lens of the threatened areas like Baxter’s Fields in Slad.

Other organisations include Save our Magnificent Meadows, Butterfly Conservation Gloucestershire, Stroud Wildlife Survey Group, National Trust, Friends of Minchinhampton Churchyard, Natural England and the Biodynamic Land Trust's Oakbrook Farm.

Having been taken throughout the year, the images also look at the changing seasons and their effects on the area’s grasslands.

“I really want each picture to tell a story about the amazing landscape we have here,” continued Deborah, who is a director of Stroud Nature.

“This is my first ever full exhibition so I’m hoping a lot of people will pop in during the week and see my work.”

Prints and calendars will be on sale at the event, which is held in The George Room until Wednesday October 5.

It will be open from 10am-5pm daily and the photographer will be on hand to answer questions.

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