Countryside Awards – Sep 2019

Countryside Awards Finalists Cheering
Jason Allen Photography

The Countryside Awards are a celebration of the fantastic work being carried out in Hampshire to support a thriving countryside.

The 2019 Countryside Awards Ceremony was a fine showcase of some of the brilliant organisations in Hampshire working to enhance the countryside.

Thank you to our volunteers and the CPRE Hampshire team who helped to make the event run so smoothly, especially to Penny Hudson who did a brilliant job in her first year as the Countryside Awards Project Manager.

On the night, the finalists showcased their work and networked with potential partners. The Winchester-based First Bite prepared a delicious range of canapés for all to enjoy with a glass of fizz. FirstBite uses surplus food to cook healthy and nutritious meals at cafes, workshops and events, tackling the systemic waste problem in the food supply chain.

Nigel Atkinson Esq, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire talked to each finalist about their work and presented the Countryside Awards finalist certificates. Other attendees included the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Eleanor Bell, the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Patrick Cunningham and the Vice President of CPRE Hampshire, John Cooper CBE, to name a few.

The winners of the 2019 Countryside Awards were:

Countryside Awards Watercress Way

Community and Voluntary

Proudly supported by our friends at Southern Co-op, this award recognises organisations, individuals and enterprises who have put the countryside at the forefront of a project or their organisation.

Winner: The Watercress Way for establishing a 26-mile circular route developed to draw people into the countryside for recreation, and for wildlife and heritage conservation.  Geocaching, listening posts and information boards have all added to the overall countryside experience. The project has attracted volunteers from near and far to support work parties and fundraising. The judges were particularly impressed with the knowledge of the history of the routes and the energy and enthusiasm which is helping to inspire future plans for the project.

Successful finalists in this category were the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust New Forest Non-Native Plants Project and Headley Down Nature Reserve Trust for the Restoration of a Landfill Site.

Young People Countryside Awards Winners Sustainability Centre

Young People

This category is sponsored by Forest Holidays, a previous award winner for its Blackwood Forest location and celebrates work that supports young people, with a particular focus on developing an appreciation, knowledge and love of the countryside.

Winner: Sustainability Centre – Sustainable Landscapes, for working with young people aged 10-19 who struggle with traditional classroom learning, offering specialist outdoor conservation work. ‘We are delighted with our Award thank you all at CPRE and judges and sponsor!’ Janet Hammerton, The Sustainability Centre.

Successful finalists in this category were Enable Ability Hampshire Youth Project and Down to the Coast Woodland Apprentices.

Chalk Stream Food

Rural Enterprise 

Supported by Hampshire Fare, this award recognises businesses or council organisations which, through their work, either directly or indirectly enhance the rural environment and the rural economy.

Winner: Chalk Stream Foods for promoting and producing sustainable food products and the importance of sustainable aquaculture practices as well as good husbandry. ‘We were so thrilled by the whole evening. Our winning the award was really the icing on top!’ Victoria Hardman, Chalk Stream Foods.

Successful finalists in this category were Hill Farm Juice, Three Hares Honey, The Cold Pressed Oil Company and Stansted Park Farm Shop.

Hawley Community Garden

Making Places 

Sponsored by Hastoe Group, this category recognises positive contributions to the sustainability of the rural environment or communities.

Winner: Mayfield Community Partnership for the Hawley Community Garden for transforming a set of derelict garages into a community garden, based on the organic principles of permaculture, producing fruit and vegetables that are shared amongst members. The judges were impressed with the exchange of ideas between cultures. This project has not just created a place to grow food and a haven for wildlife but a place where the community comes together to meet others and where friendships grow alongside vegetables.

Successful finalists in this category were Whitchurch Silk Mill and the National Trust Foxbury.

Hampshire Choice Award

Hampshire’s Choice Award Public Vote

Almost 2000 votes were cast in the public vote which shows the incredible support in Hampshire for work that promotes a living and thriving countryside.

The 2019 Hampshire’s Choice Award Winner was Bishop’s Waltham North Pond Conservation Volunteers for their Pond Restoration work. The group received a cheque for £500 which it plans to put towards the maintenance of the pond and the development of projects that promote increased engagement opportunities for people in the community.

Colin Palma from Bishop’s Waltham North Pond Conservation Volunteers described what the Hampshire’s Choice Award meant to their group: ‘Having CPRE publicly acknowledge our conservation project at the Awards Evening represents the highlight for thousands of hours of work over ten years for our volunteers and our community. It truly was a thrill to win this prestigious award’.

As always, heartfelt thanks to our wonderful sponsors for all their support with the Countryside Awards 2019. Without them the awards would not have been able to run. Thank you to Southern Co-op, Hastoe, Forest Holidays and our supporters Hampshire Fare.

Sponsors for 2021 are Southern Co-op and Hastoe. If you are interested in sponsoring or supporting our Countryside Awards, please contact the office at admin@cprehampshire.org.uk or on 01962 841897.

The 2021 Countryside Awards are not yet open for entries, however if you would like more information about getting involved, please contact the CPRE Hampshire office via the details above.

Children climbing in the New Forest