Now into it’s 58th year, the Campaign to Protect Rural England – Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition has just begun and is once again primarily sponsored by The Hills Group.
Judging in the first round, within each of the four former districts of Wiltshire, will continue until mid-June. The four winners in each of the three size categories (Large – population over 1000; Medium – population 300 to 1000; and Small – population under 300) will then be judged in early-July to determine the three Best Kept Villages in Wiltshire for 2016.
This year 40 villages have entered, spread evenly across the County. Prizes of £200, £100 and £60 will be won by the winners, runners up and third placed villages in each size category.
The three winning villages are given an eight foot standard with mounted shield for a year, emplaced on their village green. The award ceremony will be held at each of these villages on Sunday 25 September when CPRE Wiltshire’s President, the Lord-Lieutenant for Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton, will pull away the Union Flag surmounting the shield. This is an exciting and rewarding occasion for all involved.
2016 sees the third year in which there is a newcomer’s prize for any village which has not entered the competition for the last five years. Last year just two villages qualified and this competition was won by West Ashton. This year nine villages have entered in an attempt to win the £150 prize.
The winning six villages from 2014 and 2015 cannot compete in the main competition but are encouraged to enter the Laurence Kitching Award, sponsored again by NFU Mutual. This year, Aldbourne, Blunsdon, Great Somerford, Mildenhall, Stapleford and Wilcot are eligible. Judging for this takes also place in July.