2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the ownership in the Bagshawe family of Dene Manor, a 33 ha farm within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Luddesdown. A large area of the farm is designated as a Local Wildlife Site and it has many natural features such as hedges, ponds, ancient woodland and species rich chalk grassland. Owner James Bagshawe has undertaken an extensive programme of work in the last 10 years on restoration of chalk grassland, scrub management, woodland management and hedge planting. This has been assisted by a whole farm conservation plan for the farm drawn up by Kent FWAG and a woodland management plan by ESUS Forestry, and with support from the Stewardship and Woodland Grant Schemes.
Accepting the award from Ann Barnes, Jon James' brother said: "The principles my family has followed since we took over the farm are based on respecting and encouraging wildlife and fauna in a way that also supports farming activity. The plan which we worked on with FWAG and that we have followed over the last 10 years has ensured that it continues and delivers the best outcome. In particular I know that James is grateful for the expert help and advice from Paul Cobb and his continued support for our efforts".
The CLA Forestry Award was also presented during the drinks reception. David Rossney, arguably one of the finest chainsaw trainers in the country, was presented with the award by CLA Kent Chairman Nick Sandford.
Nick Sandford said: "David's infectious style and enthusiasm for his subject has been passed onto countless students in the South East, his knowledge is second to none, and his dry sense of humour all add up to make one of the best teachers you could possibly hope for. From his beginnings in Highgate Cemetery, to completing his thesis on woodland management and his subsequent training career, woodlands and the environment have run in his blood since a very young age, and there are few in the forestry industry who can match his knowledge and love of the woodland environment. His company, Esus Forestry, has seen hundreds of students through its doors on innumerable courses from basic chainsaw use to coppicing efficiency and more. His great ability to impart knowledge through group teaching and participation, whilst maintaining a fun and friendly atmosphere throughout are what sets him apart from other training providers, as well as his famous coffee made from scratch on every morning of his courses! He is a trainer that few of his students will ever forget."
Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner was also on the CLA stand on Friday to discuss rural crime with CLA members and the general public.
Ann Barnes said: 'I am delighted that the CLA invited me on to their stand for the Kent Show today. Rural communities face different challenges, threats and problems and that sense of isolation can all too easily turn into a sense of vulnerability and fear. During my election campaign I travelled the length and breadth of the County and the feedback from rural communities was they wanted to see a more visible police presence. That's why I've just launched a fleet of mobile mini Police Stations that would get right out to our smaller communities. This is a new service, extra to what has been done until now, that will be visiting 180 small rural communities on a regular cycle every fortnight.'
Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, met with members on the CLA stand after the drinks reception to discuss local farming and rural issues. Mr Patterson took a real interest in the work of the CLA.
CLA regional director Robin Edwards concluded: "The diverse range of issues highlighted today has gone some way to showcase the breath of CLA expertise and knowledge. From rural crime to conservation in farming, the CLA offers advice, guidance and most importantly a strong political voice for rural businesses across the South East."