What a great thing to be back and after a 3-year break, to once again be celebrating the people and projects that make the Hampshire Countryside so special.
Many thanks to everyone who has entered. We loved hearing about your projects. They are so varied it was not an easy task to pick any winners but they all had at least one thing in common – a passion and love for our Hampshire Countryside.
A big thank you to our sponsors: Hampshire County Council Rural Communities Fund, Hastoe Housing and the Newbury Building Society. We just couldn’t have done it without you.
Here are the four category winners , please have a look at all the projects and cast a vote for your favourite.
The Cabin at Harmony Woods
Winner of the Sustainable Communities Award.
Andover Trees have been working on an ambitious project to build an off-grid, sustainable classroom and field study base at Harmony Woods, a community woodland in Andover. The cabin has been carefully crafted to fit in with its landscape and be sensitive to its surroundings. This versatile facility will transform the community-planted woodland, making possible forest schools, training programmes, craft workshops and importantly, space for volunteers.
What the judges said
This is an excellent application well aligned with the aims of the sustainable community award. It is a well thought out project, using locally-sourced materials, involving the local community in its creation and in its build, and with long term benefit to the local community. The organisers have been imaginative in involving the community in its construction and in using this as an opportunity to teach new skills. The use of hyper-local materials and low impact building techniques is impressive as are other sustainable aspects of the build such as rooftop solar and water capture and storage. The supporting letters from local schools support the long term community benefit of this scheme.
Find out more about Andover Trees: Andover Trees United
Popell Barns Mobile Farm
Winner of the Environmental Education Award.
Popell Barns Mobile Farm visits community settings and schools with their mobile farm , complete with lots of fun and interactive activities to engage, teach and inspire people about sustainable farming and really help people understand what that looks like!
Holly and Lester Brooks who set up the project explain, ‘We are passionate about inspiring future generations about the countryside, its importance and looking after it for everyone to enjoy. We use fun ways of learning with interactive activities to engage, teach and inspire people. Being sustainable on our farm is extremely important to us for example we use a returnable glass bottle system for our micro dairy’.
What the judges said:
Amazing to see a farm so heavily devoted to sustainability, demonstrating the merits of producing food in a sustainable way. They sound super active within their local community, and being involved with LEAF is a sure sign of doing things right! The activities look engaging for younger people – I particularly liked the animal feed activity – and the feedback sounds very positive from those involved. The Micro Dairy as it gives the local community a chance to invest in the farm, and by extension, in sustainable farming.
Find out More About Popell’s Farm : Popell Barns Mobile Farm – Mobile Farm Visits – Southampton, England
PUPS (Pick Up Poo Squad) at Ballard Water Meadows
Winner of the Grassroots Action Award.
This group in the New Forest took action on a real blight on the countryside, dog fouling. it was amazing to read that in one poo pick up alone, volunteers had cleared 174 deposits from paths around a local beauty spot. The real success of this initiative was that they encouraged people to change their behaviours; and by installing poo bag dispensers and highlighting the problem ,the volunteers were soon able to see that their messaging was being well received and people were taking responsibility for the beautiful water meadow site on their doorstep.
What the Judges Said:
The PUPS project fitted the category criteria well of identifying and being proactive in addressing a countryside related issue ‘on your doorstep’. The project had a defined structure, time frame and goal; and a successful outcome that they could clearly demonstrate. The project involved many volunteer hours, doing unpleasant work. The project was resourceful in the sourcing of bag dispensers which were better suited to a countryside site. Clear signage and encouraging messages were key to encourage a change of behaviour’s from dog owners using the site. It was good to see evidence of this approach being used at other public spaces in New Milton and Hordle.
Find out more about Ballard Water Meadows: Friends of Ballard Water Meadow
HOOVES (Hedgerows of Ogden Valley Environment Scheme)
Winner of the Landscape Award. Sponsored by Hastoe Housing
HOOVES is an informal project which has brought together over 20 landowners in the Ogdens Valley, near Fordingbridge in the New Forest. It has been set up to support and enhance biodiversity of the Ogdens Valley with a focus on hedgerow management. Its’ aims:
1. To return hedges – with a good native mix – where they have disappeared or disintegrated.
2. To lay and repair existing outgrown hedges to return them to full function.
3. To reinforce existing hedgerows with additional planting and encourage widening them.
Over the last 2 years members of HOOVES have planted some 16,000 saplings of 11 different native species and mainly locally sourced. Hooves have received support from the Tree Council and Network Rail.
What the Judges said:
The Judges of the CPRE Hampshire Landscape Award highly commend this excellent landscape project. Spread over five years, the aim is to support and enhance biodiversity by planting and restoring hedgerows across a broad swathe of the Hampshire countryside. This has been achieved through the voluntary involvement of over 20 landowners. As CPRE Hampshire knows from its own hedgerow work over the last couple of years, this is critical to success. And it is likely to be self-sustaining, as more landowners get to understand the real benefits to the landscape and the environment, not least in the context of climate change.
For more information about the Tree Council Network Rail project :Our work with Network Rail – Tree Council Members and Partnerships