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CPRE Sussex Countryside Awards Previous Winners

Inspiring, ingenious and innovative projects were celebrated at the Sussex Countryside Awards 2017. They saw countryside heroes from across the county celebrated with everything from chocolatiers and brewers to farmers and developers winning on the night.

CPRE Sussex Countryside Awards 2017 winners

Organised by the Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the award ceremony was held at Petworth House on 11 October 2017. The awards were presented by Lady Egremont, who chaired the panel of judges.

“This year’s awards were a fantastic celebration of the hugely diverse and exciting projects happening right here in Sussex to protect, conserve and improve our stunning countryside,” said CPRE Sussex director Kia Trainor.

The special Peter Brandon Award, in memory of the branch’s former chairman, was presented to The Bluebell Walk,Arlington. Since 1972, the project has worked with 50 charities to raise almost £1m.

“So far, we have raised £966,000 for the charities we work with and we should reach £1m next year which we are very excited about,” said founder John McCutchen.

“In the last couple of years we have noticed a lot of families coming down through the generations so there are parents who used to come as children bringing their own families,” said Philippa Vine from the project. “It is really nice for the youngsters to get back to nature without any modern technology. I think that is why our visitor numbers seem to be increasing each year.”

The pair were presented with a hand-crafted sculptural award created by Ed Chason, an undergraduate 3D design and craft student at the University of Brighton.


There were four categories of awards – Rural Enterprise, Environmental Education, Making Places Design and New Sussex Landscapes.

Full award winners in the Rural Enterprise category were: Twineham Timber; Egrets Way,Southease; and The Bluebell Walk, Arlington.

“It is an absolute thrill to win an award,” said chairman of the Egrets Way project Neville Harrison. “It is a real boost to the project.”

Egrets Way is part of the wider Ouse Valley Cycle Network and is aiming to create an accessible path from Newhaven to Lewes, creating a ‘gateway to the national park from Europe’.

Winners in the New Sussex Landscapes category were the recreation of the salt marsh in Rye Harbour and the Breaky Bottom restoration project, Northease.

“We are really thrilled to get an award, our restoration has really been a lifeline to the building,” said Christine Hall from Breaky Bottom. “It was just great to be recognised as it is only a very small business, only a six-acre vineyard, although we have supplied the Queen for her birthday.”

The Big Parks Project, Peacehaven; Ostlers Field, Brede; Littlehampton Rain Garden; and the Bridge Cottage, Uckfield were winners in the Making Places Design category while The Oak Community Project, Durrington, won the Environmental Education category.

Terry Ellis, from the Littlehampton Civic Society, said it was fantastic the Rain Garden was getting recognition because it was a true community project. “So many different people worked on it from children up to adults, from the residents to the councils, everybody,” he said. “Even to the extent that when we first opened it was in July and we then had very hot weather and the firemen from the fire station opposite were watering it down daily.

“The people of the town have recognised it as being important. People respect it and it is proved to work.”

Mick Harker, from Bridge Cottage, said: “It is quite an honour really. It is a little project and we are so pleased it is being recognised as something worthwhile.”

He said the restoration of the 600-year-old house showed you could stay true to historic features while also introducing eco-friendly measures and creating a community resource. “It is a heritage centre and that’s the point, it is a community facility,” he said. “We have had everything from educational events to weddings and craft fairs.”

Chris Hughes from The Oak Community Project said: “It is just nice to be recognised. I just saw the awards on Facebook and thought we are definitely qualified for all of that. I applied on behalf of the guys and now here we are.”

The Oak Community project works with people who have experienced a range of challenges. Using the natural delights and possibilities of ancient and old established native woodlands, the team does woodland conservation work in the West Worthing area at Durrington and Goring. They work with Community Park Rangers from Adur & Worthing Borough to improve the habitat at woodland sites; this not only benefits the species within the woods, flora and fauna, but most importantly benefits the participants who receive training in use of tools and in the results of their activities, increasing both physical and mental capabilities by working in the open air on an important conservation project.

Highly commended were Courtlea Housing Development, Petworth; Foresters Cottage, East Dean; Weald Smokery, Flimwell; South Downs Yarn, Rustington; Saddlescombe Farm; and So Sussex Schools Without Walls.

Commended were Noble and Stace Chocolatiers, Easebourne; Franklins Brewery, Ringmer; and Hendall Manor Barn.

CPRE Sussex president Lord Egremont was full of praise for all the winners and the event itself. “It is exactly the sort of thing we want to support,” he said. “I have been involved in the CPRE for a long time now and it is a cause very dear to my heart.”
 CPRE Sussex Countryside Awards 2014 winners

Ten awards were presented across three categories, New Sussex Landscape, Sussex Rural Enterprise and Field to Table. Prizes were given as either a Full Award, or a Highly Commended level.

In the New Sussex Landscape category Ashplats Wood, Oldland Mill and Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft were all presented with Full Awards, while Sussex Prairie Garden received a Highly Commended Award.

Oldland Mill also received the Peter Brandon Award in memory of CPRE Sussex’s past Chairman, which was presented at the judges’ discretion to the project they deemed to be the most outstanding.

Stuart Meier, Chairman of the Oldland Mill Trust, said: “This project has come together through the work of volunteers over several generations and is now a tremendous landmark in Sussex – a huge credit to all those involved.”

In the Sussex Rural Enterprise category, the judges gave Full Awards to Ringer Community College and Sixth Form and Slindon Forge, with the Woodland Flora and Fauna Group and the Grove Café  and Village shop both being Highly Commended.

The judges were impressed by the Year 10 & 11 students at Ringmer Community College, who presented and spoke enthusiastically and confidently about their work on sustainability and environmental issues. Margaret Moore said of their judging visit: “The students’ enthusiasm was almost overwhelming, and certainly inspiring – these students could teach us all a lesson or two.”

In the Field to Table category The Sussex Produce Company was received a Full Award. The owner, Nick Hempleman, said: “Thank-you for this award – it is tremendously well deserved, not for us, but for our customers who support us; which enables us to support local producers and suppliers and to employ local people too.”

The awards were presented on Thursday 16 October 2014 at a prestigious ceremony at Firle Place, Lewes, courtesy of Lord and Lady Gage. The evening was a celebration of the Sussex countryside and the projects that create opportunity, enhance cherished landscapes through innovation and tackle pressing environmental issues across the county.

CPRE Sussex Chair David Johnson said:

“An Awards ceremony is a celebration and therefore not an occasion for detailing the many challenges to our countryside ranging from threatened widening of the nearby A27, to new market towns and building on our flood plains. We are tonight celebrating very positive contributions to a Sussex landscape that has been changing for so many years.”

A panel of distinguished judges selected the winners. Lady Caroline Egremont of Petworth House chaired the panel and presented the awards. Also on the panel were Sir Charles Burrell of Knepp Castle; Nick Gant, University of Brighton lead on sustainable design and Assistant Head of School for Research, Economic and Social Engagement; and Miss Margaret Moore, Vice President of CPRE Sussex.

Lady Egremont said: “It has been a privilege to be asked to judge such a fine group of entries which are committed to enhancing the Sussex landscape and helping its communities in so many new, exciting and enterprising ways.”

Sir Charles Burrell, said: “It’s been a thrilling experience being on the Judging panel of the CPRE awards 2014. You get to see and understand so many different and diverse projects in our region, it’s amazing and encouraging what is going on out there.”

Claire Lloyd, CPRE Sussex Countryside Awards Project Manager, said: “We have been lucky enough to meet some very enterprising and inspiring groups and individuals across Sussex, and we were happy to be able to share their success with so many people at our Awards ceremony. My eyes have been opened to all the hard work being done across Sussex to restore countryside icons, buildings and nature, to teach others about the beauty of nature and conservation, and to promote the fantastic produce being grown and consumed locally.”