The annual Purdey Awards for Game & Conservation began in 1999 as a vehicle to promote the outstanding work that is carried out across the United Kingdom for game and habitat conservation.
A vital aspect of shooting is giving back to the countryside. It is important to honour those who actively improve habitats for game birds and who demonstrate a dedication to conserving the British countryside for all to enjoy.
Entries are invited from any type or size of shoot that is actively involved in habitat conservation for game birds. All entries must demonstrate to the Awards judges how their work has both improved their shoot and also widened its biodiversity to benefit many other species of bird and wildlife.
Winners of the Purdey Awards have all shown commitment to improving their land for the benefit of many species of flora and fauna, in addition to game birds. For instance, Temple Farm at Rockley won their 2013 Award for transforming the landscape of what was formerly a 2000-acre prairie style arable farm with few habitat benefits for birds and wildlife.
Over a period of almost 30 years, they planted 23 miles of new hedgerows, over a million trees, and constructed 9 new dew ponds to help support a healthy population of roe deer.
Other recent winners include the Bingley and Ilkley Moor Partnership outside of Leeds for their leadership in restoring red grouse as part of a project for the entire Rombalds Moors, and enabling a massive improvement in the moors’ overall biodiversity.
The Awards judges felt that the Partnership’s most remarkable achievement had been how they have improved and managed the moors for the benefit of the public at large, with around 2.4 million people living in the towns and cities nearby and using the land for hiking, cycling, running and dog walking.
Allargue Estate in Aberdeenshire received its Gold Award in recognition of their team’s work on a long-term project to restore 500 acres of mature conifers on ex Forestry Commission land to heather. With two thirds of this area restored, there have already been remarkable improvements to wildlife habitats.
Sharing the 2015 Award with Allargue, Rectory Farm in Buckinghamshire worked tirelessly to restore and transform the farm into what is now a haven for many different farmland bird, game and wildlife species. The judges were particularly impressed by the volume and variation of wildlife, including pheasant and grey partridge.
This year’s Prize Fund will be worth up to £15,000 shared between winners of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Special Awards. Five newly introduced GWCT Advisory Awards, which provide a free of charge visit to your shoot by a GWCT adviser, will also be awarded.
The sixteen strong Purdey Awards judging panel, chaired by the Duke of Wellington, meets in June to shortlist the most promising entries to receive judging visits. It reconvenes in October to decide winners, who will be presented with their Awards on 24th November at the annual ceremony held at Audley House in Mayfair.
Richard Purdey, Awards Organiser since their inception, said, ‘I look forward to seeing this year's crop of new entries in May and wish all those willing to 'have a go' the very best of good luck.’
Visit the Purdey website for more information about the awards.
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