Read the results of the CPRE Best Kept Village Competition

Avatar for Annabelle Sanderson
By Annabelle Sanderson
5th August 2021

The best kept villages in Wiltshire have been decided as the results of the CPRE Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition are announced.

Ramsbury, Tilshead and Castle Eaton came top in their respective categories and are this year’s winners.

Urchfont, in the Vale of Pewsey, has won the Laurence Kitching Award – also called the Winner of Winners’ competition – out of the six winning villages from the last two years the competition was held.

This year’s CPRE Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition has been sponsored by The Hills Group for an eighth consecutive year: The Competition was not held in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.

The first round of the competition saw the expert judging teams from the Wiltshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and from Wiltshire Council putting each village under the microscope in May and June. Thirty-nine villages throughout the county were tested against the competition criteria which include tidiness, cleanliness, presentation, conservation and village community spirit. As ever the Parish Councils and their volunteers had clearly been hard at work, achieving encouragingly high standards and making the judges’ task that much more difficult.  Each village is judged within the categories of ‘Small’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Large’ and in the first round they are only judged within their own district: West Wiltshire, North Wiltshire, South Wiltshire and Kennet (East Wiltshire).

In July the winning villages in each district were then judged against each other in the County Round, using fresh judging teams.

The final results are:

Place Large village points Medium village points Small village points
1st Ramsbury 90 Tilshead 86 Castle Eaton 97
2nd Whiteparish 84 All Cannings 85 Woodborough 88
3rd Blunsdon 78 Oaksey 72.5 Bishopstrow 81
4th Hilperton 77 Sutton Veny 69

 

Note that different teams of judges were used in each of the three categories, so the points scored should not be contrasted between categories.

“As the judges explored all the footpaths we became aware of how spotless the village was with only 2 items of recent litter to be seen. The residents deserve congratulations for the reported 125 bags of litter collected from the roads leading into village in the last year and for their continued diligence.”

And:

“A really well kept village where the residents clearly care for and about their surroundings.”

Ramsbury have come close to winning the Large Village category in recent years and they triumphed this year. Amongst their comments, the judges thought that it “appeared as a well maintained village with an excellent community spirit and facilities, especially for a village of this size.” They also commented very favourably on the school surrounds, wilding in the churchyard and conservation areas, the war memorial, the Recreation Ground and the village website.

Tilshead entered the competition two years ago after a long break and have clearly responded to comments made in 2019 to win the Medium Village category this year.  The judges’ felt that it gave “an immediate impression of a well-cared for village in which the wider community participate.”  Other comments mentioned the road verges, hedges, graveyard, and the Hillier Playing Field.

“Outstanding Village”

Castle Eaton entered for the first time for at least 15 years.  The judges felt that it was “an outstanding village” and as they explored they “became aware of how spotless the village was.”

The residents deserve congratulations for the reported 125 bags of litter collected from the roads leading into village in the last year and for their continued diligence.”  Verges were perfectly kept but nature conservation was also evident with wild hedgerows, beehives and a hedgehog colony.  The Red Lion pub had become a village shop during the Covid lockdown.  In conclusion the “residents have a lot to be proud of … and it is evident that there is a very strong community spirit”.

Each winning village will be presented with, and keep for a year, an eight foot standard with mounted shield, usually emplaced on their village green. Award ceremonies will be held sequentially at the three winning villages on Sunday 26th September when CPRE Wiltshire’s President, the Lord-Lieutenant for Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton, will pull away the Union Flag surmounting the shield; commemorative plaques will be presented by both Mr Mike Hill, Chief Executive of The Hills Group, and by a senior member of Wiltshire Council. Cash prizes and framed certificates will be awarded to each winning village and to 2nd and 3rd placed villages and to the Best Newcomer and Merit Award winners. Cash prizes will also be awarded to 4th placed villages.  All villages who won in the First Round will also receive a framed certificate.

Laurence Kitching Award – Sponsored by Princeton Homes

The winning six villages from 2019 and 2018 were, as dictated by our rules, not allowed to compete in the main competition but were invited to enter the Laurence Kitching Award, sponsored by Princeton Homes and often called the ‘Winner of Winners’ competition.  The results were:

  1. Urchfont
  2. Biddestone
  3. Ansty
  4. Bratton
  5. Charlton (near Malmesbury)
  6. Hullavington

In their report, the judges congratulated Urchfont “on an outstanding performance” and they were “delighted to award it first prize”.  Almost every feature of the village had been well cared for and many were “immaculate”.  But as well as many neat areas there were also three conservation areas.  The community spirit of the village shone through.

The award (a shield, cash prize and a plaque) will be presented to Urchfont during the Presentation Day on 26th September. This year, for the first time, the Winner of Winners will also receive a tree to be planted by the new CPRE Wiltshire Countryside Ambassador.

Newcomers Award

This award encourages villages which have not entered the Best Kept Village Competition for the previous five years to give it a go. It comes with a £150 cash prize and a certificate.  CPRE Wiltshire hopes it will encourage even more villages to enter in 2022. This year five such villages qualified to enter.

The results were:

  1. Castle Eaton
  2. Maiden Bradley
  3. Ham, and Tadpole Garden Village
  4. Bulkington

The Best Newcomer judges felt that Castle Eaton “takes a pride in its heritage” while there is also “clear local concern about the village environment”.  The village appeared very welcoming.  All features were well kept, with some being considered immaculate.

Merit Prize for Consistent Effort

A prize is awarded to the village that has been most consistently successful in the past four years but has not won the Laurence Kitching Award this year, nor the Merit Prize in 2019.  In 2021 this has been won by Bishoptrow, who have regularly been 1st in the West Wiltshire Small Village competition in recent years.

Making the Competition Work

Mike Manson, CPRE Project Officer responsible for running the Competition, said that “It is important to point out that this competition could not take place without the very generous contributions of our sponsors, the support of Wiltshire Council, the large team of volunteer judges and of course the immense hard work put in by individual parish councils and villagers. It is a joint effort but one we feel benefits Wiltshire and in particular the participating villages.”

 

Two people searching for something against a cloudy blue sky