04 November 2015

Nigel Oakey from Bicester scoops prestigious Cotswolds Grey Partridge Trophy

Cotswold GP Trophy Award 2015.Nigel Oakey, farmer from Grange Farm, Godington, Nr Bicester, Oxfordshire has won the prestigious Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Grey Partridge Cotswolds Trophy for his efforts in fighting the decline of this iconic game bird - the Grey partridge.

GWCT’s Dr Roger Draycott says: “Nigel Oakey is a very worthy winner of the GWCT Cotswolds Grey Partridge Trophy.  The judges were particularly impressed with how Nigel has worked hard to put into place round the year habitats for Grey partridge, in the form of lots of grass margins for nesting, flower rich habitats for insects that chicks can feed on and also seed crops to provide over-winter cover and food. Add to this, effective, targeted predator control carried out by Gamekeeper Colin Jeacock, and you have a successful scenario”.

The award, kindly sponsored by Cotswold farm business Calmsden Ltd, is presented each year to a farmer or gamekeeper to recognise their efforts undertaken to help restore and monitor the numbers of wild grey partridges on farmland.

The award recognises that Nigel has managed to protect an endangered species of British partridge along with other farmland birds with his excellent conservation skills. 

Well done Nigel!

GWCT’s Partridge Count Scheme

Grey partridge numbers have declined drastically since the 1960s and the bird is considered a red list species. It is thought the population has fallen because of the introduction of pesticides, loss of hedgerows, seed sources, and nesting habitats. Predation has also contributed to their decline.

Once a familiar and widespread farmland bird, the Grey partridge needs more farmers, land-owners and keepers to be more active in their conservation. The future of the Cotswolds Grey partridges rests in the hands of those “on the ground” who can implement management measures that help wild Greys (and benefit other farmland wildlife), and understand what factors may be hindering further recovery.

GWCT’s Partridge Count Scheme is a free and voluntary scheme run by the GWCT since 1933 to collect information on the annual abundance and breeding success of grey partridges.

Neville Kingdon, Partridge count scheme coordinator, GWCT, says; “Like Nigel Oakey has done for 6 years, we want to encourage more farms across the Cotswolds to get involved in the Partridge Count Scheme and find out more about what’s helping or hindering grey partridges on their own land. For more information, and to sign up, go to gwct.org.uk/pcs.

We are grateful to those Cotswolds farms already involved in the Trust’s Partridge Count Scheme who have undertaken their autumn covey counts. If you are participating please don’t forget to submit your autumn findings to us – pcs@gwct.org.uk

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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