A school, a farm shop, a shipwrights’ school and woodland restoration volunteers all won recognition from a leading countryside conservation charity for their contributions to rural life in Hampshire.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson presented this year’s Campaign to Protect Rural England (Hampshire) Countryside Awards at a ceremony in Itchen Abbas and Avington Village Hall on Friday evening, 25th September 2015.
Lead sponsor of the awards was The Southern Co-operative, whose director of sustainability and communications Gemma Lacey said: “Active and genuine involvement in our local communities is part of The Southern Co-operative’s way of working, so we are delighted to be both lead sponsor and sponsor of the Community and Voluntary category.”
She added: “The standard of entries this year was quite exceptional, which made judging particularly challenging, but we have some outstanding winners who I hope will inspire others across Hampshire to make a positive difference to our countryside.”
Purbrook Park Secondary School’s Community Vegetable Garden project in Waterlooville won the Young People category, sponsored by Steve's Leaves. The project will leave a legacy to the school and the surrounding community and has helped participating students learn about the countryside, develop skills and mature as citizens.
Pondhead Conservation in Lyndhurst won the Community and Voluntary category, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, for their project to restore 76 hectares of unique woodland habitat near Lyndhurst by reinstating sustainable coppicing. The conservation volunteers have opened up previously inaccessible areas of woodland to the public and created more diverse habitats for wildlife. The timber cut is being used to make charcoal for sale locally in the New Forest.
Winner of the Green Buildings category, sponsored by Radian, is Buckler’s Hard Shipwright School Workshop at Beaulieu. The project used only traditional tools and methods to train students, volunteers and apprentices who built a replica 18th Century timber-framed workshop. The building will serve as a training facility for future generations in traditional ship building techniques and related areas such as woodland management.
Hockey’s Farm Shop in South Gorley, near Fordingbridge, won the Rural Enterprise category, sponsored by Dutton Gregory Solicitors. Following two years of extensive restoration, the business showcases local New Forest food and aims to provide the highest quality meats and produce at affordable prices. They also raise their own rare breed of pigs.
Chalk Valley based at the Bossington Estate at Houghton was also highly commended in this category for promoting pasture-raised meats, local organic produce sourced from family farms and the farm-to-table restaurant concept.
The CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards were established in 2007 to recognise projects that enhance the environment and quality of life in the county and to celebrate a beautiful, diverse and living countryside.
CPRE Hampshire will announce the launch of the 2016 Countryside Awards in the new year.