WITH just over two weeks remaining until the Cotswolds AONB Hare Trail draws to a close, organisers are delighted with how well the event has gone.

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in this year's Trail since it opened in May, according to Trail team member Melanie Jones.

She said: "We have been been absolutely overwhelmed with how successful it has been. People have come from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Spain as well as all over the UK to take part.

"It has become a massive event in the Cotswolds diary and contributes extensively to local tourism."

There is still time to take in this year's unique public art trail featuring over 128 hare sculptures hand-painted by local amateur and professional artists to the theme of living landscapes in the Cotswolds.

The trail has been designed to promote local businesses through tourism and to showcase the artistic talents of residents.

This year's Trail has not been without incident, with several hares including one in Fairford and Cirencester's Watermoor area being vandalised.

In June, organisers called for a concerted effort to ensure the care, protection and management of the Trail.

This year the Hare Trail has been extended and now covers all corners of the Cotswolds, from Stratford-upon-Avon to Bath and towns and small villages in between.

The South Cotswolds zone spans Slimbridge, Stroud, Tetbury, Wotton and more.

Malmesbury has added a mini hare trail, taking in independent shops and venues in a gentle walk across the town, including a pit stop at the library to discover 12 hares decorated by the children of Malmesbury School. A passport is available from the Malmesbury Tourist Information Office and there is a chance to win a mini hare of your own if you check all 20 off.

There are also mini Trail’s in Stroud, Dursley, Farringdon and Stow-on-the-Wold.

Festival Director, Florence Beetlestone, said: “If you’re looking to take some quality family time out, away from it all, wander the woods of Dursley’s Ashen Plains campsite and see if you can catch the beautiful Bryony Hare.

"Or take a tour of the nearby historic Georgian mansion, Kingshill House, whilst snapping the spirited springer, Raymond the Rambler.

"A firm family favourite come rain or shine, Berkeley-based Cattle Country is not only home to friendly farm animals, but the lively leveret Harey Mary too, who bears a strong resemblance to some of the adventure park’s residents.”

The trail will be open to the public until Sunday, September 9 when the hares, springers and leverets will be auctioned to raise funds for trail partner, Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Visit cotswoldsharetrail.org.uk to download your family’s free trail passport.

To register your interest in the annual auction visit cotswoldsharetrail.org.uk