10 September 2018

East Anglian Grey Partridge award winner announced

Released 07 September 2018

Sir Kenneth Carlisle, Owner of the Wyken Hall Estate in Suffolk, has Won the 2018 Castleacre GWCT East Anglian Grey Partridge Conservation Award

Trophy Winners East Anglia 2018

L-R: Sir Kenneth Carlisle from Wyken Hall Estate, Hugo Johnsen from Castleacre Insurance, Roger Draycott from Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

The Castleacre GWCT East Anglian Grey Partridge Conservation Award, held on 6 September, has become a popular feature of the Autumn calendar.

Designed by the Game Wildlife and Conservation Trust to encourage landowners and farmers in this region to improve native grey partridge populations, the farm walk and award ceremony was held at Rivers Hall, Boxted in the Dedham Vale, the home of last year’s winners, landowner, Jonathan Minter, and gamekeeper, Robert Graves.

This year’s trophy was awarded by sponsors Castleacre Insurance to Sir Kenneth Carlisle, owner of Wyken Hall estate near Stanton and a longstanding champion of farm diversity and sensitive land management for wildlife and native game birds.

Dr Roger Draycott Head of GWCT Advisory said, ‘Sir Kenneth Carlisle and his team at Wyken are very deserving winners of this award. They have really been committed to providing particularly good all round habitat for the grey and have always been willing to support others who want to do the same, hosting grey partridge conservation walks on the estate. It is great credit to Sir Kenneth that Wyken is one of the few areas that saw a growth in Grey Partridge numbers this year, after a couple of challenging years. The proactive conservation practised at Wyken is inspiring and farmers and gamekeepers in East Anglia are certainly becoming more and more interested in safeguarding the grey partridge for future generations, which is great news.’

Each year the award begins with a walk round the previous winners’ farm or estate, looking at habitat provision, predator control and other factors that influence grey partridge numbers and this presents the perfect opporturnity for land owners, mangers and gamekeepers  to share their experience and knowledge. This year more than 50 guests took the opportunity to have an insight into the management of Jonathan Minter’s beautiful 1100 acre estate in the Dedham Vale.

Rivers Hall

Dr Roger Draycott continues, ‘It seems that every time we hold the award the number of people attending grows and we had a terrific turn out at Rivers Hall this year. In fact we were lucky enough to have three previous winners attending, that in itself seems to be a great demonstration of the enthusiasm for the project. Protecting our native grey partridge isn’t an easy option for land mangers but it is a very rewarding one. Jonathan Minter, the owner of Rivers Hall perfectly described how you need absolute year on year dedication to supporting the grey or it really isn’t worth undertaking, but the flip side of this is the extraordinary sense of achievement felt when you catch site of a covey of wild birds that you have helped protect.’

Castleacre Insurance Director, Hugo Johnsen, who has sponsored the award for a number of years said ‘it never ceases to amaze us how farmers, landowners and gamekeepers in this region really relish the challenge of looking after this rather unassuming but  beautiful native gamebird. Sir Kenneth Carlisle and Jonathan Minter and their thoughtful and industrious estate management teams, are very admirable role models for the rest of us.’