The Royal Norfolk Show 2017: Saham Hall estate wins Grey Partridge award

Grey Partridge award presentation to Andrew Taylor-Balls and Kevin Bowes by Justin Ripman at the Roy

Grey Partridge award presentation to Andrew Taylor-Balls and Kevin Bowes by Justin Ripman at the Royal Norfolk Show 2017 Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Efforts to improve habitats for grey partridges and provide cover from predators have earned a Norfolk estate an accolade for its conservation work.

This year's Grey Partridge Award, which aims to promote the recovery of grey partridge numbers across the county, was presented by law firm Mills & Reeve at the opening of the 2017 Royal Norfolk Show.

The trophy was presented to Kevin Bowes of the Saham Hall estate at Saham Toney, near Watton, where a focus on vermin control and bird cover has paid dividends.

He said: 'We do shoot for several days, and it is great to see recognition that just because we have some commercial days we are looking after the rest of our wildlife.

'The grey partridge is very important to us and we also have common curlews at home as well. It shows that where we are working for grey partridges it is also working for other wildlife.

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'I am Norfolk born and bred, and very proud of it. We are very privileged to be a part of the countryside and we do our duty to protect that countryside wherever we can.'

Head keeper Andrew Taylor-Balls explained how the estate had boosted its grey partridge numbers.

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He said: 'A few years ago we stopped rearing birds ourselves. We still hatch birds but we have them custom-reared now and that has allowed us to do more vermin control, which has benefited not just the grey partridges, but other wildlife too.

'We have also had the introduction of wild bird mixes and cover which are staying throughout the year. We have got an increase in birds of prey, so the birds need more cover to get away from them.'

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