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Awards Recognise the Best of the New Forest

Awards Recognise the Best of the New Forest

PUBLISHED ON: 27 JULY 2018

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

The awards recognise the best of the New Forest’s rural businesses, organisations, land managers and champions and were presented at a special ceremony at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show. The prizes were handed over by National Parks Minister Lord Gardiner, Julian Lewis MP and National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes.

The winners of the 2018 awards were:

  • Young Farmer/Commoner of the Year – Tom Hordle
  • Best Supporter of Local Produce – Andrew Parry-Norton
  • Sustainability Champion – Gemma Wilks, Ban the Straw New Forest
  • Rural Diversification – New Forest Shepherds Huts
  • Land Management – Milford Conservation Volunteers and Milford on Sea Parish Council.

Tom Hordle won the Young Farmer/Commoner award for his progress since being nominated last year and his commitment to his herd of cattle and beef business. Tom is involved in the New Forest Young Commoners and his enthusiasm for helping out those within the group looking to improve their knowledge of commoning was encouraging. The judges were impressed with Tom’s commitment to tackle the issues facing commoners and ensuring the commoning system thrives in the future.

This year’s Best Supporter of Local Produce was local commoner Andrew Parry-Norton. Andrew runs a small family-run commoning farm with his wife Sarah, producing duck eggs, lamb and pork from livestock that is reared by traditional Forest methods. The judges commended Andrew’s passion for the commoning community and New Forest Marque local produce scheme, of which he is a member.

In particular, judges were impressed by Andrew’s views on how the commoning community and local produce schemes can work together in the future to better support each other and benefit the Forest’s livestock, communities and local businesses.

The 2018 Sustainability Champion was Gemma Wilks, recognised for establishing Ban the Straw New Forest to help reduce the amount of single-use plastic used in the National Park. Gemma has successfully encouraged a number of Forest pubs to replace plastic straws with sustainable alternatives or remove them altogether, and has worked with local schools to enthuse the younger generation to care for the environment and reduce plastic pollution.

Her determination to protect the National Park’s environment and wildlife from plastic pollution was clear to the judges and she is clearly committed to her cause long-term.

New Forest Shepherds Huts were the recipients of the Rural Diversification award. The business offers unique glamping accommodation on a 60-acre small holding, next to the Royal Oak pub in Fritham, which has been run by the McCulloch family for around 20 years. The judges were impressed with the huts which were built using locally sourced materials where possible, blending sympathetically with their surroundings and allowing the business to diversify and expand in a village where short stay tourist accommodation is limited.

This year’s awards included a new category for the best Land Management in the New Forest, which was won by Milford Conservation Volunteers and Milford on Sea Parish Council. Working together in their village, particularly at Studland Common, the volunteers have been busy removing scrub to encourage low-growing grassland plants and working on the orchard. Their improvements to visitor access, particularly for buggies and wheelchairs, and opening up of extra areas to the public was commended by the judging panel.

Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority said: ‘It is now our sixth year running these awards with the CLA and they have become a shining example of partnership working. It is great to be able to reward people who are helping to safeguard the National Park as a living, working Forest through their work in commoning, land management and their support for local produce. We are also pleased to recognise some impressive people and businesses in the fields of sustainability and rural diversification, whose work ensures the Forest is protected and enhanced. Every nominee should be immensely proud to have been put forward.’

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 land management category 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.

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Notes to Photo Editor:

Award winners 2018 (l-r): Robin Edwards, CLA South East Regional Director; Tom Hordle, young commoner, and his partner Adele Colton; Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority; Andrew and Sarah Parry-Norton, local commoners; Lord Gardiner, National Parks Minister; New Forest Show President, Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre; Gemma Wilks, Ban the Straw New Forest; Jenna Bessant, New Forest Shepherds Huts; Tony Locke and David Horne, Milford Conservation Volunteers; and Julian Lewis MP.

Credit to Craig Hobbs.

Notes to Editor:

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 more than 30,000 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 http://www.cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east or follow us on Twitter: @CLASouthEast

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

Media Contacts

For further information or interviews, please contact:

CLA: Mike Sims, Communications Manager South East, 01264 313434 / 07702 926916 or mike.sims@cla.org.uk

New Forest National Park Authority: Beki Mole, 01590 646639 or beki.mole@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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