Awards celebrate community nature and wildlife heroes

A volunteer work party at Kett's Heights

A volunteer work party at Kett's Heights - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards - Credit: Kett's Heights

Community efforts to care for Norfolk's countryside and combat climate change during challenging times have been celebrated with awards.

The Norfolk branch of countryside charity CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) held its biennial awards ceremony at Dereham Memorial Hall.

After a challenging two years, CPRE Norfolk said the 27 award entries highlighted the important role the countryside had played in people's lives during the global Covid pandemic.

Far from curtailing local action, the charity said there had been a resurgence of interest in caring for the countryside during lockdown.

CPRE Norfolk president Prof Tim O’Riordan said: “We have observed how many parish councils have been prepared to lead the way to set up schemes that will improve the local environment and benefit local people.

"Despite the huge challenges faced by schools and their pupils, we were pleased to receive several worthy applications.“

Awards were presented under four categories.

Andy and Rebecca Thornton of Manor Farm at Shropham, at one of their two Wild With Nature glamping s

Andy and Rebecca Thornton of Wild With Nature at Manor Farm in Shropham - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards - Credit: Denise Bradley

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The Rural Living Award was won by Wild with Nature, a sustainable glamping business set within a biodiverse landscape of wildflower meadows at Manor Farm near Attleborough.

Save the Bees at Coltishall Primary School - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards

Save the Bees at Coltishall Primary School - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards - Credit: Ben Thomas Photography

The Countryside Champions Youth Award went to Coltishall Primary School for its Save the Bees project to create wildlife habitats within the school grounds.

Chet Valley B-Line - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards

Chet Valley B-Line - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards - Credit: Ben Thomas Photography

Countryside Champions Awards went to the Chet Valley B-Line, a wildflower-rich pathway for pollinators centred on the River Chet in south Norfolk, and the volunteer-run West Beckham Old Allotments near Sheringham Park.

Volunteers mowing and raking at West Beckham Old Allotments 

Volunteers mowing and raking at West Beckham Old Allotments - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards - Credit: Felbeck Trust

And Digging Deep Awards were given to the volunteers caring for Kett’s Heights, a wooded hill overlooking the centre of Norwich, and to Thetford Conservation Group, whose volunteers have contributed a total of 1,237 hours (176 days) of work on the town's green spaces in the last year.

Volunteers with the Thetford Conservation Group

Volunteers with the Thetford Conservation Group - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards - Credit: Mark Webster

Certificates of Good Lighting Practice were also awarded to Swaffham Town Council, Greater Anglia railways and Millgates Surgery in Hempnall.

Finally the Chairman's Award went to Wild Ken Hill, a major rewilding and sustainable farming project in west Norfolk, which hosted the BBC's Springwatch programme earlier this year.

Exmoor ponies on the Wild Ken Hill estate near Snettisham 

Exmoor ponies on the Wild Ken Hill estate near Snettisham - one the winners of the 2021 CPRE Norfolk awards - Credit: Les Bunyan

CPRE Norfolk chairman Chris Dady said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have a project of such national significance right here in Norfolk.

"It is inspiring in so many ways from conservation and diversification, through to farming methods - a real beacon of hope for ways in which we can mitigate against climate change and truly protect and enhance our biodiversity.”

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