GREY partridge are clear winners this year, with both the gold and silver prizes in the 2016 Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation given to estates that have provided ‘exemplary and successful’ restoration projects for these native birds.
Gold went to the Portloughan Shoot in Co Down, the owner of which, David Sandford, managed to persuade 21 neighbouring farmers to work together with him under the Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme, and silver to the Portway Estate in Hampshire, where owner Richard Wills was praised for his excellent habitat creation. The winners were announced last week by the Duke of Wellington, chairman of the awards panel, at a ceremony in Purdey & Sons’ famous Long Room and the prizes were given out by countryside broadcaster Julia Bradbury. ‘They show what a well-run shoot can do to preserve and develop wildlife and Nature,’ comments Richard Purdey, who has run the awards since 1999. ‘They also display great leadership and demonstrate what the shooting and farming communities can achieve by working together.’ The bronze prize went to Little Haugh Hall Shoot in Suffolk, which has been rewarded for its ‘continuous investment in top-class conservation work’, benefiting game- and farmland-bird habitats over 2,000 acres. JF