Awards recognise the best of the New Forest

Award winners 2017

Published Thursday 27 July 2017

Passion for local produce and woodcraft, contributions to the commoning community and a talent for inspiring young people about sustainability were the recipe for success at this year’s awards.

The CLA and New Forest National Park Authority Awards recognise the best of the Forest’s rural businesses, organisations and volunteers and were presented at a special ceremony at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show by Show Presidents Geoff and Judy Morgan.

The winners of the 2017 awards are:

  • Young Farmer/Commoner of the Year – Oliver Cook
  • Best Supporter of Local Produce – Rosie Lea's, Brockehurst
  • Sustainability Champion – Nicky Cook, Hounsdown School
  • Rural Diversification – Paul Brockman, Woodlander Coppice at Hoburne Bashley

Oliver Cook won the Young Farmer/Commoner award for his ability to expertly juggle the pressures of a demanding full time job with commoning commitments. He takes a leading role in the commoning community, running the New Forest Young Commoners, as well as caring for his own ponies and cattle. The judges said Oliver is committed to tackling the issues facing commoners and ensuring the commoning system thrives in the future.

A special award was also presented to Peter Fogarty who has overcome significant challenges in his life to become a committed and accomplished commoner.

The expansion of Rosie Lea's from a tea shop in Brockenhurst to run a new café and farm shop at Setley Ridge is a real Forest success story and won its owner Rachel Rabbetts the title of Best Supporter of Local Produce.

Rachel is passionate about local produce and supporting producers in the New Forest. The judges were particularly impressed that with the farm shop now building its range of local products, the site is set to become the hub for New Forest Marque produce.

The award of Sustainability Champion to Nicky Cook of Hounsdown School, recognised her ability to inspire young minds and staff members alike to pick up and run with her sustainability projects. Nicky took the school through its first Green Flag Award eight years ago and has now achieved four Green Flag awards, an impressive feat for a busy secondary school.

The work of woodlander Paul Brockman at Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park highlighted the outstanding results which can be achieved from active woodland management.

The judges commented that Paul’s passion for what he does is evident in the woodcraft school’s organic growth which he has developed, giving children the chance to develop and learn in an environment which mainstream schooling cannot offer. They also commended the Hoburne Group for their support and ability to see the benefits that bringing the woodland back into management could offer their business and the wider community.

Alison Barnes, chief executive of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: 'It is now our fifth year running these awards with the CLA and they have developed into a shining example of partnership working. It is great to be able to show our appreciation through these awards for the many individuals and businesses who help protect and enhance the National Park and whose efforts make an important contribution to ensuring the New Forest remains a living working Forest.'

CLA South East Regional Director Robin Edwards, said: 'This year’s winners highlight once again, the hugely important role played by farmers and other rural businesses in managing the landscape and helping our local communities prosper. This year, for the first time, we were delighted to open the rural diversification category to businesses across Hampshire as well as the New Forest and we look forward to receiving many more innovative rural success stories next year.'

The awards are sponsored by Moore Blatch and supported by the New Forest Agricultural Show Society. 

Highly commended certificates were presented to:

  • Young Farmer/Commoner: Ben Dolbear and Tom Hordle
  • Sustainability Champion: Anthony Woolhouse of the West Solent Cooperative, Breamore School, Cottage Lodge Hotel and Chris Townsend from Minstead Study Centre
  • Best Supporter of Local Produce: Dancing Cows distillery, Minstead Village Shop, Hockey’s Farm Shop and the Bell Inn, Bramshaw.
  • Rural Diversification: Embers Camping  

Notes to photo editor

Award winners Rachel Rabbetts (Local Produce), Paul Brockman (Rural Diversification), Kevin James (on behalf of Nicky Cook, Sustainability), and Oliver Cook (Young Commoner) with their awards at the New Forest Show.

Notes to editor

About the CLA

CLA South East covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, East & West Sussex
The CLA has around 32,000 members

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.

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.

For news and more information on our events, campaigns, lobbying and advice see the regional pages on our website www.cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east 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 www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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