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Purdey winner named

The Temple Shoot at Rockley, near Marlborough, has been named the winner of the Purdey Gold Award.

Count Konrad Goess-Saurau was presented with the Purdey Awards Shield and a cheque for £5,000 by Sir Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance.

After a grey partridge restoration project at Temple Farm was discontinued due to the proximity of neighbouring redleg shoots, the Count and his estate manager, Chris Musgrave, concentrated on creating habitat for other species. More than a million trees have been planted on the shoot over the past 20 years and a strict vermin control programme implemented.

Temple Farm was chosen as the launch site of Natural England’s South-West Farmland and Nature Improvement Area in 2012, and it featured on BBC One’s Big Wildlife Revival series this year.

The Silver Award and a cheque for £3,000 was presented to Nicholas Watts of Vine House Farm, near Spalding, in Lincolnshire. Mr Watts won the Silver Award in 2002, and was once again cited for his “outstanding wild game and habitat management”. Mr Watts implemented 35km of new open cultivated strips under Higher Level Stewardship and Entry Level Stewardship schemes, as well as double-hedge plantings.

The Bronze Award went to Lady Sondes, owner of the Lees Court Shoot near Faversham in Kent. In memory of her late husband, she has nurtured and improved the shoot that was his passion. The judges said headkeeper Shayne Dean had been “brilliant at engaging local schools with two-way visits”.