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Celebrating Hampshire’s countryside winners

CPRE Hampshire’s Countryside Awards 2017 winners with Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq (2nd left, front row) and the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor David McLean CPRE Hampshire’s Countryside Awards 2017 winners with Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq (2nd left, front row) and the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor David McLean Jason Allen Photography; copyright CPRE Hampshire

20 September 2017

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq, presented the 11th annual Countryside Awards on 19th September 2017 at Littleton Millennium Memorial Hall near Winchester. The awards, organised by CPRE Hampshire, the county branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, celebrate the communities, volunteers, young people and businesses that support the charity’s mission of ‘standing up for the countryside’.

CPRE Hampshire’s Countryside Awards are sponsored by Southern Co-op (lead sponsor), Steve’s Leaves, Hildon, and Hastoe. 2017 saw a record number of quality entries from projects based in both urban and rural areas across Hampshire. This year’s winners have been chosen from a shortlist of 21 projects across four award categories. They are:

Community and Voluntary – sponsored by Southern Co-op

  • Winner – Community Roots (based at the Sandhurst Road Allotments, Southampton), Southampton Voluntary Services
  • Highly Commended – Milton’s Hidden Seashore (Milton, Portsmouth), Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
  • Highly Commended – Hordle Environment Group, Lymington, New Forest

Young People – sponsored by Steve’s Leaves

  • Winner – Learning Through Our Grounds, Kings Worthy Primary School, Kings Worthy, near Winchester
  • Highly Commended – Patrick’s Patch, Fairweather’s Garden Centre, Beaulieu, New Forest

Rural Enterprise – sponsored by Hildon

  • Winner – Holden Farm Camping, Holden Farm, Cheriton, near Alresford
  • Highly Commended – Two Hoots Campsite, Bighton, near Alresford

Sustainable Buildings – sponsored by Hastoe

  • Winner – Wessex Learning Centre, Winchester Cathedral – Hampshire County Council Architects
  • Highly Commended – Forest Lodge, Brook, New Forest – PAD Studio

Information on each of the CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards 2017 winners is given below. 

Community and Voluntary – sponsored by Southern Co-op

Winner – Community Roots, Southampton Voluntary Services

The Community Roots project is a partnership between Southampton Voluntary Services and Ideal Collection, a local hospitality group. The project is based at the Sandhurst Road allotments near Southampton city centre and provides supported volunteering, training and work experience opportunities for those who have experienced homelessness, mental health, and alcohol or substance misuse issues.

Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communications at Southern Co-op said: “The judges loved the idea behind this project of growing people through growing vegetables and plants, and how being outdoors and connecting with nature, albeit in a tucked away green space in an urban environment, can benefit peoples’ wellbeing.

We were blown away by the energy and enthusiasm of the people engaged in Community Roots and the very evident difference this ever-evolving project is making to their lives.” 

Highly Commended – Milton’s Hidden Seashore, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

The Milton’s Hidden Seashore project is located at Milton Locks Nature Reserve in Portsmouth. The project is run by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and volunteers.

Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communications at Southern Co-op said: “Through outdoor learning and community engagement activities, Milton’s Hidden Seashore is bringing a tucked away two-acre wild space, home to grassland and seashore habitats and a thriving community of wildlife, in a densely populated urban area back into the heart of the local community.

The project has transformed this small reserve in the heart of urban Portsmouth, previously a draw for anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping. It has engaged school children, families and the wider community to help create a special habitat for wildlife as well as a place for all the community to enjoy that celebrates Milton Locks unique history.” 

Highly Commended – Hordle Environment Group, Lymington

The Hordle Environment Group is the idea of a group of local residents who have come together to volunteer their time to manage and improve the wildlife value and visual amenity of two residential areas in Lymington. Activities include tree, hedgerow, wildflower and bulb planting, ditch clearance, restoration of a small hazel coppice, and the creation of wildlife habitat homes.

Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communications at Southern Co-op said: said: “Hordle Environment Group perfectly demonstrates the power of local community action, and the positive difference a group of like-minded people can make to their local environment and community. The project is something that can be easily replicated by communities across Hampshire and I hope will provide inspiration to others to care for and value our precious green spaces and the wildlife that inhabit them.”

Young People – sponsored by Steve’s Leaves

Winner – Learning Through Our Grounds, Kings Worthy Primary School, Winchester

The Learning Through Our Grounds project at Kings Worthy Primary School makes the most of the school’s unique grounds for enhancing both the curriculum and the children’s awareness of the outdoor world. The project brings history lessons to life through interactive replicas and provides a hands-on working space for the children to plant and nurture.

Chris Hall, Managing Director at Steve’s Leaves said: “Having been a previous runner-up in the Countryside Awards, the judges were delighted to see Kings Worthy Primary School enter for a second time, bringing a number of new initiatives to their attention.

These included a Celtic Roundhouse, Anderson Shelter and “Dig for Victory” garden all of which have been developed sustainably and enable the children to learn about self-sufficiency. The pupils at the school demonstrated their appreciation of the countryside and enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge and experiences with the wider world via the internet.” 

Highly Commended – Patrick’s Patch, Fairweather’s Garden Centre, Beaulieu

Patrick’s Patch is a one-acre garden which supplies year-round produce to Steff’s Kitchen at Fairweather’s Garden Centre in the village of Beaulieu in the New Forest.

Chris Hall, Managing Director at Steve’s Leaves said: “This productive garden which is open to the public is maintained with the help of numerous volunteers and has involved a wide variety of young people to give them a hands-on experience of growing food whilst learning the processes involved and the need to consider wildlife and respect the environment.

The local primary school uses it as part of their curriculum and it is used by secondary groups including those with complex needs. In addition, there are various fun and educational weekend and holiday events for pre-school to teenage children.” 

Rural Enterprise – sponsored by Hildon

Winner – Holden Farm Camping, Holden Farm, Cheriton, near Alresford

Holden Farm Camping at Holden Farm, Cheriton in the South Downs National Park was established to diversify the farming business of a fourth-generation farmer by offering camping where visitors can learn about nature, understand and enjoy the rural landscape and watch a farm at work.

Debbie Jones, Executive Director at Hildon said: “Holden Farm Camping is at heart a very simple campsite offering families a low-cost way of coming to enjoy the countryside.

The judges were impressed with the way that the business has faced up to the challenges that an influx of people presents. Rebecca Corbett has demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm and creativity in making sure that her new business enterprise makes a minimal impact on the beautiful local countryside - especially through her passion for re-cycling, while at the same time bringing benefits to the local economy and the neighbouring community.” 

Highly Commended – Two Hoots Campsite, Bighton, near Alresford

Two Hoots Campsite is a rural glamping retreat for those wishing to find an alternative to the larger, more populated campsites. It has the first four eco-friendly camping pods in Hampshire and, in 2015, the addition of two traditionally-built Shepherds Huts.

Debbie Jones, Executive Director at Hildon said: “Caz and Dave Parham took over the Two Hoots site that had previously been used for caravan rallies and turned it into a very picturesque glamping site. 

A lot of hard work has gone into making sure that all aspects of nature conservation were considered, and the judges were delighted to see their commitments written down in their own policy documents. But, taken as a whole, the biggest impact on the judges was the overall feeling of tranquillity that they have created at the site.” 

Sustainable Buildings – sponsored by Hastoe

Winner – Wessex Learning Centre, Winchester Cathedral – Hampshire County Council Architects

The Wessex Learning Centre is a new contemporary building located in Winchester Cathedral’s historic Close. The centre enables a greater range of activities and brings a new perspective to the understanding of faith and life at the Cathedral.

Karen Hillhouse, Regional Head of Development for the Hastoe Group said: “This deceptively simple building is beautifully detailed and blends effortlessly into the historical context. Its credentials are sustainable in both construction and in its use as a learning centre for schools, visitors and for local events. 

The green oak structure was sourced from wind-blown trees at a local estate which were then milled locally. The frame is insulated with hemp and clad in contextual materials - clay roof tiles, lime render and oak framed glazing. A shallow raft foundation minimises impact on the site while an air source heat pump provides background heating. The judges also enjoyed the herbaceous planting around the perimeter which is a reference to the site’s original use as an Apothecary's garden.”

Highly Commended – Forest Lodge, Brook, New Forest – PAD Studio

Forest Lodge is a mobile dwelling which replaces a traditional static caravan on a five-acre site in the New Forest National Park.

Karen Hillhouse, Regional Head of Development for the Hastoe Group said: “This project is an exemplar of what can be achieved with ingenuity and an interrogation of the planning system. Built to comply with the Caravan Act of 1968, it is relatively modest in size and did not require planning permission as it replaces a static caravan. 

The house was constructed off site and assembled in two parts to Passivhaus standards. It is essentially self-sufficient making use of photovoltaics, mechanical heat recovery and a sewage treatment plant. The judges felt the house sat beautifully within its context: a clearing on private land within the New Forest National Park. Although it has a non-traditional flat roofed appearance, the contemporary detailing and stained sweet chestnut cladding offer a seamless connection to the landscape.” 

- Ends -

Notes for editors

To view and download photos from the awards ceremony please follow this linkTo download high res jpegs please click on the down facing arrow next to large image on right. Please credit photos: Jason Allen Photography, copyright CPRE Hampshire. Any queries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., CPRE Hampshire Communications Officer.

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