Defying appalling summer weather for two years running, the estate has seen a staggering 500 per cent increase in grey partridge numbers.

The grey partridge is one of our fastest-declining farmland bird species, its population dropping from over 1,000,000 pairs in the 1950s to just 75,000 in 2000.

The GWCT has set up regional groups across the country with the aim of boosting grey partridge recovery.

The Trust also runs a national grey partridge count scheme, which records the rise and fall of grey partridge numbers.

Headkeeper of the Arundel estate, Tom Goodridge, received the award at the winter meeting of the South-East Grey Partridge Group from Richard Thomas of BTF, sponsors of the award.

The group was set up in 2007 and has attracted support from farmers and landowners in Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

Farmland biodiversity advisor with the GWCT, Peter Thompson, said: “The estate has been concentrating conservation efforts on wild grey partridges for a number of years, and the latest count figures show how incredibly successful Tom Goodridge and his team, including Peter Knight the farm manager, have been in boosting partridge population.

“In a year when many people were struggling to produce broods because of the appallingly wet summer, the estate has managed to substantially increase its population of partridges by creating year-round habitat for partridges.

“I am delighted that the south-east trophy has been awarded to such a worthy winner.”