Friday, 19 November 2010

Purdey Awards recognise shooting's finest conservation successes

The Duke of Norfolk's Peppering Shoot, a glittering conservation
success story, and winner of the 2010 Purdey Award. The shoot
has successfully restored wild grey partridges on the South Downs
Conservation success stories on game shoots large and small were recognised last night at the Purdey Awards, held in the historic Long Room at Purdeys' shop in London.

The Gold Award went to the Duke of Norfolk, for an astonishingly successful six year project to restory wild grey partridges on the South Downs near Arundel. Starting with just a handful of birds threatened with extinction, the Duke and his team have successfully built up a robust population of over 2,000. Many songbirds and other species have also benefited from the conservation work carried out on the Peppering Shoot over the past six years, contributing to a major improvement in the biodiversity of the area.

Ten further awards were presented across the evening, including the Purdey Silver Award, and £2000, to brothers Andrew and William Pitts from Northamptonshire for exemplary shoot and game management.

There were two Purdey Bronze Awards presented and £500 each, to Alan Wilson of Warrington, and Chris Spence of Calbourne, Isle of Wight. They were both recognised for their outstanding conservation led shoots with a strong community spirit.

Two Special Awards of £1000 were also announced. The first was to Colin Blanchard and Malcolm Riding, from the Northern School of Game and Wildlife in Cumbria, and to Graham Downing, and the Alde and Ord Wildfowlers Association in Suffolk.

The Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation have their origins in the Laurent Perrier Wild Game and Conservation Awards, which were run annually by Laurent Perrier Champagne (UK) Ltd from 1986 until 1998. James Purdey & Sons took over their sponsorship in 1999, but Laurent Perrier have maintained their support.


The Peppering Shoot, Arundel, West Sussex
The Purdey Shield, the Gold Award and
£5,000 + Jeroboam Laurent-Perrier Champagne

The Duke of Norfolk was awarded the coveted Purdey Gold Award through his ambition, vision, and determination to succeed over six years with his project to restore coveys of all wild grey partridge to his corner of the South Downs

The Duke’s stated aim with the project is to show what can be done in a traditional wild partridge area, and to encourage other landowners and shooting tenants to bolt on their own wild partridge shoots with the objective of creating a nationally important wild partridge area on the South Downs. This will not only bring huge conservation benefits for wildlife, but also demonstrate how shooting and conservation work together to improve the countryside.

Mears Ashby Grange, Northamptonshire
The Purdey Silver Award
£2,000 + Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Andrew and William Pitts farm 680 acres in Northamptonshire, in three units, on which they specialise in producing seed quality wheat. One of these, Grange Farm at Mears Ashby, accommodates their shoot, where they carry out all keepering and conservation work themselves.

The project proves that it can be economically viable to farm in an environmentally friendly way, while also having an excellent wild bird shoot.

The Pitts brothers are true enthusiasts equally passionate about their farming, their conservation work and their shoot. They actively promote good PR with farm open days in order to meet and talk with a wide variety of organisations such as the RSPB and CPRE. Pupils from their local primary school are regular visitors to Grange Farm as it is approved by the OFSTED Community Cohesion Link scheme.

Rixton Firs Shoot, Warrington, Cheshire
The Purdey Bronze Award
£500 + Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Rixton Firs is a remarkable twenty year project which has turned 54 acres of swampy Cheshire woodland into what was later described as a wildlife wonderland enabling with a delightful small shoot and a strong local community spirit.

The project was started 20 years ago in a wood intended for pigeon shooting. Since then members of the syndicate, led by Alan Wilson, have turned Rixton Firs from a dense sterile wood into a productive small shoot embracing many excellent conservation measures to improve game and wildfowl habitats. This has hugely improved the environment of an area which previously hosted very little wildlife at all.

New Barn Shoot, Calbourne, Isle of Wight
The Purdey Bronze Award
£500 + Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Chris Spence was commended for his beautifully positioned, well managed, community spirited, 500 acre shoot at New Barn Farm, Calbourne, on the Isle of Wight. Mr. Spence has been actively and energetically engaged in conservation-led improvements since 1996.

The judges applauded Mr Spence’s ongoing efforts, in creating an excellent shoot with an abundance of wildlife and the much improved biodiversity.

Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumbria
Purdey Special Award
£1,000 + Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Colin Blanchard and Malcolm Riding were recognised for their leadership in achieving consistent high standards for the University of Carlisle’s Northern School of Game and Wildlife at Newton Rigg in Cumbria. The game management courses are run by Malcolm and Colin and the fine reputation of the college, which was built up by its many students who learned the essentials of their craft at Newton Rigg, speaks for itself. The judges were greatly impressed by the thoroughness of the courses and the quality of training provided.

Aldeburgh Town Ponds, Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Purdey Special Award
£1,000 + Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Graham Downing, Secretary of the Alde and Ore Association (and association members), were commended for their work in the restoration of the Aldeburgh Town Ponds in Suffolk, owned by Aldeburgh Town Council.

The Alde and Ore Wildfowlers Association managed successfully to negotiate a ten year lease of the shooting rights over an area of old ponds and reed beds against competition from both the RSPB and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. With the assurance of a ten year lease under their belts they were able to restore the ponds from their derelict and overgrown state changing what had become an eyesore into an attractive civic amenity. The ponds now attract a wide variety of migratory duck, providing the members with a few days duck flighting each winter.

Plumpton College, East Sussex
Purdey- Highly Commended
Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

The Plumpton College shoot was recognised for the students’ efforts in achieving a high standard of game and habitat management, and under the supervision of tuition team Neil Bianchi and his son Jamie, for the efficient running of syndicate shoot days.

The college shoot is run over 500 acres of the college’s 2000 acre arable and livestock farm at the foot of the South Downs escarpment. The game management team have also recently restored three ponds to encourage wild duck, and cleared two streams. Plumpton college focuses largely on land based courses, including game and shoot management.

Cauldshiel, East Lothian
Purdey-Highly Commended
Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Keith Maxwell, owner of The Cauldshiel Farm shoot, was commended for his sound shoot management and conservation efforts, not only providing friends and family with three high quality shoot days a season, but with a great sense of achievement for their improvements to the overall biodiversity of the farm.

Cauldshiel was cited as being a well run non commercial shoot with strong local community involvement. It was highlighted that over the past 25 years, Mr Maxwell has undertaken extensive planting programmes to create new hedges and woodland, and dug new ponds which are successfully attracting duck. All these well proven conservation measures are encouraged by the desire to improve the shoot, and have succeeded in endowing Cauldshiel with much greater biodiversity than was the case a quarter of a century ago.

Ben Rinnes, Aberlour, Morayshire
Purdey-Finalist Certificate
Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Dick Bartlett, shoot tenant of Ben Rinnes, Glenrinne and Drummuir Estates, in Aberlour, Morayshire, was recognised for his dedication to the conservation of the local area.

Nine years ago, Dick Bartlett set up the British Moorlands project in order to tend to a number of previously unmanaged moors, amongst them - Ben Rinnes, Glenrinnes and Drummuir Estates. Through the creation of ponds, management of wetlands and targeted predator control, Bartlett has managed to run successful shooting days across the estates, and has future plans to extend his British Moorlands project to other areas where grouse production has become impossible over the last four decades.

Criftins Farm Shoot, Ellesmerem Shropshire
Purdey-Finalist Certificate
Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Mr. and Mrs. Bevan, who run the Criftins Farm Shoot, were rewarded for the high standards they had achieved in running their exemplary farm shoot.

David Bevan, a former FWAG (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group) award winner was commended for his well established and well run farm shoot. David and Ann Bevan took on the full time running of the shoot in 2008 after they had discontinued dairying. They have exciting plans to develop their shoot further, with increasing emphasis on game and wildlife habitat management and conservation.

Westcroft, Whitehaven, Cumbria
Purdey-Finalist Certificate
Magnum Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Gordon Thomson, owner of the Westcroft Shoot, was rewarded for successfully increasing the number of hand reared and wild game birds across fifty two acres and for his work over several years in developing a high quality small shoot.

In the past eight years Gordon has planted in excess of 3000 trees, created three ponds and successfully bred wild grey partridge into the area.


vicky said...


James Marchington said...

How many of those Autumnwatch stories were only possible with the help of shooters and fishermen? But I can't see Packham and Humble ever admitting that shooters contribute anything to conservation.