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Countryside Awards winners announced

Congratulations go to the winners and finalists of the 13th Annual Hampshire Countryside Awards, announced at a ceremony attended by over 100 guests at the Littleton Millennium Memorial Hall in Winchester on 17th September.

A diverse selection of groups and projects from across the county, all of whom are working towards a flourishing countryside, were selected by the Countryside Awards judges following a set of visits held throughout July and August. The finalists were invited to attend the ceremony in order to showcase their work and build links with other projects within Hampshire.

All 15 finalists were presented with a certificate by Nigel Atkinson Esq, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire who closed the Ceremony with the presentation of commemorative plaques to the five well-deserved Winners.

The winners were:

* Community and Voluntary – The Watercress Way: A 26-mile circular route developed to draw people into the countryside for recreation, and for wildlife and heritage conservation.

* Young People – Sustainability Centre – Sustainable Landscapes: Working with young people aged 10-19 who struggle with traditional classroom learning, offering specialist outdoor conservation work.

* Rural Enterprise – Chalk Stream Foods: Promoting and producing sustainable food products and the importance of sustainable aquaculture practices and good husbandry.

* Making Places – Mayfield Community Partnership — Hawley Community Garden: Bringing together British and Nepali communities, Hawley Community Garden has transformed a set of derelict garages into a community garden, based on the organic principles of permaculture, producing fruit and vegetables that are shared amongst the members.

* The Hampshire’s Choice Award gave the public the chance to vote for their favourite project out of the list of Finalists. Almost 2,000 votes were cast, and the winner was Bishop’s Waltham North Pond Conservation Volunteers for their Pond Restoration work. The group will receive £500 which it plans to put towards the maintenance of the pond and the development of projects that promote increased engagement opportunities.

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