New Forest National Park Awards winners crowned at New Forest Show

New Forest National Park Award winners 2022
New Forest National Park Award winners 2022

The New Forest National Park Authority and the CLA have announced the winners of the 2022 New Forest National Park Awards.


Now in their ninth year, the awards celebrate the wonderful people who support the New Forest’s environment and rural economy. This year a record 130 nominations were received for the best businesses, organisations and individual champions in the New Forest who help keep it a living, working landscape.


The winners were recognised at a special ceremony at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show, with individual trophies presented by Martin Stewart, Managing Director of Stewarts Garden Centres.


The winners of the 2022 awards, sponsored by Moore Barlow, were:
•    Young Farmer/Commoner: Katie Ferrett from Romsey
•    Best Supporter of Local Produce: Setley Ridge Farm Shop, Brockenhurst
•    Rural Diversification: Tatchbury Manor Farm, Winsor
•    Sustainability Champion: Countryside Education Trust, Beaulieu
•    Young Environmental Champion: Arun Curson from Bransgore

Katie Ferrett won the Young Farmer/Commoner award after demonstrating a real commitment to farming and commoning, with a passion that has enabled her to overcome many challenges. Working on her parents’ farm and with two young children of her own, she is a great ambassador for commoning life. She manages a beef herd, along with a herd of suckler cows and runs 20 ponies on the Forest.


This year’s Best Supporter of Local Produce was Setley Ridge Farm Shop which impressed the judges with its huge range of locally-produced goods as well as the valued support it gives its suppliers. Producers are regularly invited to showcase products at the shop itself as well as through links on the website. A huge passion for supporting and promoting local produce is clearly at the heart of the business.


The winner of the Rural Diversification category was Tatchbury Manor Farm. Owner Sarah Hunt has made her 30 acre livestock farm more financially viable by diversifying in several areas. She lost her husband during the pandemic but this hasn’t stopped her from throwing herself into her work, growing her pie business, and converting a mobile home into the ‘Pig Patch’ which is popular with families visiting Peppa Pig World and helping guests develop a greater understanding of farming. Sarah has also recently built a wood-fired bakery, using local wood and flour, and has planted an orchard.


The Sustainability Champion 2022 was the Countryside Education Trust (CET), noted for being an exemplar of sustainable operations well as promoting sustainability through education courses. This year its brand-new exhibition and eco education space, The Fort Climate Centre, will be completed - built to ensure that the highest environmental standard for insultation, lighting and waste management are all considered and mitigated. The CET is also a working productive farm and is involved with woodland management and restoration projects.


Founded in 2019, the Young Environmental Champion award celebrates the achievements of young people under 25 who are working to help protect the National Park and its wildlife. This year, it went to 13-year-old Arun Curson who is already a dedicated marine champion. He was the youngest person ever to become an Intertidal Survey Volunteer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (aged 10). He regularly volunteers for the Trust doing surveys in Keyhaven and Calshot and appeared on BBC Countryfile this February encouraging other young people to protect the oceans. He is developing his own website informing young children about sharks and their importance to the ocean eco-system.


New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: ‘It’s a real pleasure to be back at the New Forest Show with the CLA, recognising the people who do so much for the New Forest National Park.


‘Given the challenges of the past couple of years, it’s a testament to their resilience and determination, which really shines through. I’ve long said that it takes a Team New Forest to champion the National Park – by acting collectively to ensure the Forest continues to thrive and is fit for the future, especially in the face of the climate and nature emergencies.


‘Our winners have demonstrated this through their work in areas such as commoning, sustainable practices, and supporting local produce. It’s encouraging to see not only new faces and businesses nominated, but the number of younger people put forward for these awards, and how they are inspiring their own generation to protect the natural environment.’


Tim Bamford, Regional Director of CLA South East which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the New Forest, Hampshire and beyond, said: ‘A very warm congratulations to all of our deserving winners, who make such a contribution to Forest life, community and the environment.


‘The CLA is pleased to help celebrate their achievements once again this year, and we were heartened to see nominations arrive high in both quality and quantity. To have a record-breaking number of entries for our ninth awards is impressive, and we’re already looking forward to our tenth in 2023 already.


‘I would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply, as well as our partners Moore Barlow for their continued support.’


This year’s Highly Commended were:
Young Farmer/Commoner: Samantha Gates
Best Supporter of Local Produce: New Forest Hamper Company
Sustainability Champion: The Naked Pantry
 

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