£15,000 is up for grabs in the annual conservation awards, to be shared between whichever shoots - big or small - manage to most impress the judging panel

London gunmaker James Purdey and Sons is inviting entries for the 2016 Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation.

Held annually since 1999, the awards seek to recognise and promote the outstanding game and habitat conservation work carried out by shoots across the UK.

Entries are welcome from any type or size of shoot that is actively working to improve habitats for gamebirds, and can be made by individuals, syndicates, estates, farm shoots and wildfowling clubs.

This year’s prize fund will be around £15,000 and will be shared between the winners of the gold, silver, bronze and special awards. There will also be five Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Advisory Awards, which were introduced just last year, up for grabs. These provide a free-of-charge visit to your shoot by a GWCT advisor.

Previous winners

Last year’s top prize winners were a team of gamekeepers on Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire, who were awarded for restoring the region’s red grouse population. Previous winners have included a wide range of projects from an organic farm to a wildfowling association and the creation, from scratch, of a small shoot on 100 acres of former dairy farmland.

Richard Purdey, who has organised the awards since their inception, said: “I look forward to seeing this year’s crop of new entries in May and wish all those willing to have a go the very best of luck.”

Entries are assessed by a panel of 16 judges, chaired by the Duke of Wellington, which meets in June to shortlist the most promising entries These will go on to receive visits from the panel, before the judges reconvene in October to select the winners. The latter will be presented with their awards in a ceremony at Audley House in London’s Mayfair on 24 November.

Entry forms are available upon request from James Purdey & Sons Ltd, 57-58 South Audley Street, London W1K 2ED. Alternatively, visit the Purdey website. Entries must reach Dr Mike Swan at the GWCT headquarters in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, by 16 May.