The 2017 Purdey Awards were presented last week at a ceremony held in London gun and rifle maker James Purdey & Sons’ famous Long Room.
The Gold Award was won by the Bywell Shoot, Northumberland, for their work in turning a reared pheasant shoot into a wild game shoot with a sustainable population of wild grey partridge and pheasant.
Brewery Farm, Suffolk, won the Silver Award for their extensive work on the farm’s biodiversity.
The Bronze Award was given to Lindisfarne Island’s Wildfowling Club for its work in having a wholly sustainable operation on the land, which also supports a public nature reserve.
The Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation have their origins in the Laurent-Perrier Wild Game and Conservation Awards, which were run annually by Laurent-Perrier Champagne (UK) Ltd from 1986 until 1998. James Purdey & Sons took over their Awards in 1999, with Laurent Perrier generously maintaining their support and connection through the provision of their champagne for the presentations ceremony, prizes for all the winners and finalists, and to assist the judges’ deliberations at their twice yearly meetings.
At the presentations, the Duke of Wellington, chairman of the awards judging panel, announced the 2017 winners of Purdey’s annual competition to find the UK’s most outstanding game and conservation projects.
They were presented with their awards by farmer, countryside broadcaster and TV personality Adam Henson.
The Bywell Shoot, Stocksdale, Northumberland won the 2017 Purdey Gold Award.
Viscount Allendale, and his son the Hon Wentworth Beaumont, owners of the Bywell Estate, were announced as the overall winners of the 2017 Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation.
The Purdey judges recognised the outstanding vision and leadership of the owners and their head keeper, Alan Edwards. They have successfully changed the 5,000 acre Bywell Estate Shoot from a ‘family and friends’ reared pheasant shoot in 2012 to what is now: a wild game shoot with a sustainable population of many wild birds including grey partridge. It sits on 3,700 acres, with the 1,300 acres of remaining land run as a syndicate shoot, members being drawn from within the local community.
Lord Allendale was presented with the 2017 Purdey Annual Trophy and the £5000 Gold Award.
In second place, winning the 2017 Purdey Silver Award and £3,000, is farmer and former game keeper Graham Denny with his Brewery Farm, near Stowmarket in Suffolk.
Judges said that this family owned and managed shoot is clearly very well run and successful, but what is really exceptional, and makes it stand out in the Purdey Awards, is the quality of the environment around the shoot. This is thanks to the Denny family taking such a close interest in the farm’s overall biodiversity.
The judging panel considered Lindisfarne to be a quite exceptional wildfowling shoot, not just for it size, but also for taking place at one of the UK’s largest and best known nature reserves, with strong public access and attracting over 500,000 visitors a year and for the fact that it is wholly sustainable. It took the bronze award.
The Lindisfarne Wildfowling Shoot operates over 750 hectares of the total area of 3,500 hectares, and is run by a dedicated team of highly knowledgeable and experienced wildfowlers and conservators. Judges were unanimous in their wish to give recognition to Lindisfarne Island Wildfowling Club for their outstanding work by awarding them the Bronze Award and £2,000.
Swannybrook Farm, Oxfordshire won a GWCT Advisory Visit.
The Walton Shoot, Somerset, took a Special Award for Community Engagement.
Mrs Katherine Astor, Kirby Estate, Inkpen, Berkshire wins a Special Award for Community Engagement.
The following finalists were awarded Highly Commended Certificates
John Harris – owner of Brackenburgh Shoot, Penrith, Cumbria.
Charles Lane–Fox – owner of Bignell Park Farm, near Bicester, Oxfordshire.
Luke Wilkinson – owner of Bransdale Moor, Kirkby Moorside, West Yorkshire.