Awards celebrate New Forest successes


Published Thursday 30 July 2015

The CLA and New Forest National Park Authority have announced the winners of their 2015 joint awards.

The awards are presented to local people and businesses which have made an exceptional contribution to maintaining the unique landscape and way of life of the New Forest.

  • Young Farmer/Commoner of the Year – Pete Niccolls, Beaulieu
  • Best Supporter of Local Produce – Alison Slingo, Paws Deli
  • Sustainability Champion – Dave Dibden, Pondhead Conservation Trust
  • Rural Diversification –Mary Montagu-Scott, Buckler’s Hard Shipwright School.

Winner of the Young Farmer/Commoner award, Pete Niccolls, received a cast iron wren trophy at the award ceremony in the main show ring at the New Forest Show. The three other winners were presented with bespoke wooden awards crafted by Eric Gibbons, a wood turner based in Boldre, near Lymington.

Pete Niccolls was chosen as Young Farmer/Commoner of the Year for his forward thinking approach to commoning, as well as his support for other farmers and commoners. He has continued to grow his herd and the judges were impressed by his ‘field to fork’ approach to his beef.

The judges selected Alison Slingo of Paws Deli in Lymington as Best Supporter of Local Produce, commenting that she has built her business around ensuring that all ingredients are sourced locally.

The 2015 Sustainability Champion, Dave Dibden, is the inspiration behind the regeneration of Pondhead Inclosure near Lyndhurst and has worked tirelessly for many years to improve the woodland for wildlife and local people.

The awards also included a new category this year for Rural Diversification, which was presented to Mary Montagu-Scott on behalf of the Buckler’s Hard Shipwright School. The judges commented that the traditional wooden structure is a perfect example of a sympathetic rural diversification that benefits the wider business it sits within.

Highly Commended certificates were also presented to runners-up in each category:

  • Tom Hordle of Rockford (Young Farmer/Commoner)
  • Claire Lee of Spice ‘n’ Easy, Christian Rivron of The Granary Kitchen and Wayne Smith of Longdown Farm Shop (Best Supporter of Local Produce)
  • David Watts, Avon Tyrrell boathouse (Sustainability)
  • Cheryl and Ciaran Maher, Daisybank Bed and Breakfast (Rural Diversification).

All candidates went through a comprehensive selection process, culminating in a personal visit from a judging panel.

New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive, Alison Barnes, said: ‘It’s been a pleasure to work with the CLA again this year to reward people whose enterprises contribute to the living, working Forest.

‘These awards are our way of celebrating the hard work of local people and providing publicity for their business or project. All shortlisted candidates and the overall winners should be very proud of their contribution to the National Park.’

Robin Edwards, CLA Director South East, added: ‘The size and strength of the rural economy is significant, with recent statistics compiled by the CLA indicating that in the New Forest area alone, landowners, farmers and rural businesses employ more than 36,000 people. These awards celebrate that success but also highlight the outstanding contribution made by many local people to conserving the natural beauty of the New Forest for future generations.’

The awards were sponsored by Blake Morgan.


Notes to photo editors:

From left to right: Edward Heron, National Park Authority Deputy Chairman; Alison Barnes, National Park Authority Chief Executive; Kerry Dovey, Blake Morgan; Mary Montagu-Scott, Rural Diversification; Alison Slingo, Best Supporter of Local Produce; Pete Niccolls, Young Commoner, Dave Dibden, Sustainability Champion; Iain Curry, CLA Hampshire Chairman.

Notes to editors:

About the CLA

  1. CLA South East covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, East & West Sussex
  2. The CLA has around 33,000 members
  3. As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset: the land. We are dedicated to supporting landowners and their businesses. Our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support.
  4. We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership, land management and rural business activities for the past 100 years. CLA members own or manage approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.
  5. For news and more information on our events, campaigns, lobbying and advice see the regional pages on our website or follow us on Twitter: @CLASouthEast

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more

Media Contacts:

Matt Stroud, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

Helen Symes, Communications Manager, CLA South East
Tel: 01264 313434

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