There is still time to enter rural success stories into the CLA and New Forest National Park Authority’s 2020 awards.
Although the New Forest and Hampshire County Show has been cancelled this summer, the awards will still be presented at a time when it is safe to do so.
Application forms are available on the New Forest National Park Authority website at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/newforestawards.
Categories at the eighth annual awards, which are supported by Moore Barlow and the New Forest Agricultural Show Society, are:
- Young Farmer/Commoner of the Year (aged 40 and under)
- Best Supporter of Local Produce
- Sustainability Champion
- Young Environmentalist (aged 25 and under)
- Rural Diversification
- Land Management.
Individuals, businesses and organisations can nominate themselves or be nominated by others, but must be living, working or practising within the New Forest Marque area (click here for a map).
CLA South East represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the Forest, Hampshire and beyond. Regional Director Michael Valenzia said: "The coronavirus pandemic is having a big impact on communities and businesses across the New Forest, but we want to showcase the innovation and dynamism being displayed.
“We’ve had some brilliant entries so far. Whether it’s a terrific tourism business, or a fantastic food one, we’d love to hear about it. Please visit the website and download the nomination form.”
New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: “These are challenging times, but we’re still urging you to nominate the people who are dedicated to the New Forest – in areas such as land management, commoning, rural diversification and supporting local produce.
“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been people continuing to work hard to safeguard our National Park and its communities. They need recognition now as much as ever.”
The winners in 2019 were:
- Young Farmer/Commoner of the Year – Daisy Slocombe
- Best Supporter of Local Produce – Pilley Community Shop
- Sustainability Champion – Kathy Sirl, The Naked Pantry
- Young Environmentalist – Dominik Reynolds
- Rural Diversification – Stephen and Wendy Maughan
- Land Management – Kevin and Fiona Gover.
2019 winner testimonials
The winners of the Land Management award 2019 were Fiona and Kevin Gover, who have a small-holding in the Western Escarpment of the Forest and have been bringing it up to modern standards for their small herd of cattle.
They have improved the land, put in appropriate housing and storage for the cattle and a few ponies, and have generally created a ‘traditional’ yet ‘modern day’ holding.
Mrs Gover said they were “completely gobsmacked to win, and very pleased to be recognised”. She added: “We love what we do.”
The winners of the Rural Diversification category were Stephen and Wendy Maughan, for their farm diversification project 'Forest Meats @ Manor Farm'.
They have set up a cutting room and chiller unit at their farm, Manor Farm in Bramshaw, with the help of an RDPE Leader grant. The couple are helping other farmers and commoners by storing and cutting their animals once back from the abattoir. It was this provision of a local facility for others to use which impressed the CLA judges.
Mrs Maughan said they were “absolutely delighted to receive such a prestigious accolade from the CLA and New Forest National Park Authority”.
She added: “This prestigious award greatly enhances knowledge of our Forest-reared stock and our newly developed outlet 'Forest Meats @ Manor Farm' – an award only surpassed by those who come across our native breeds happily grazing the open Forest around Bramshaw.”
Picture above: Fiona and Kevin Gover collect their trophy from Lord Gardiner in 2019.