Four long-standing contributors to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT)’s Partridge Count Scheme have received awards at the celebrations being held to mark the 75th anniversary of the scheme’s inception.
The Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) is one of the longest-running, farmer-led monitoring schemes in Europe and, in recognition of this landmark, Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, was invited to present special 75th Anniversary Awards to the four winners, which were:
1. The Hon Michael Willoughby, Birdsall Estate, North Yorkshire
The award was made in recognition of the estates long-term commitment and goodwill to partridge conservation over 75 years.
2. David Clark and The Sandringham Estate, Norfolk
The award was presented jointly to both David Clark and the Sandringham Estate, for the largest, successive number of partridge counts since 1951 and acknowledgment of the importance that partridge monitoring makes to partridge management and conservation.
3. Garry Whitfield, The Northumberland Estate
For the greatest number of counts undertaken and returned each spring and autumn.
4. David Jackson
The award was presented to Mr Jackson in recognition of his individual contribution to the Partridge Count Scheme over many years.
Started in the early 1930s, the partridge count scheme has made an impressive contribution to partridge conservation and has become a hugely important catalyst in helping to restore grey partridges to the British countryside. In the past 40 years partridges have suffered a massive 86% decline nationwide. However, despite the overall national fall in numbers, where members of the count scheme are managing the land specifically for grey partridge, there has been an encouraging 40% increase in the population of the birds.
Dr Nick Sotherton, Director of Research with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust said, “If we are to achieve our Biodiversity Action Plan target then we need more farmers and gamekeepers counting their partridges. The motto of our scheme is ‘everyone counts’, and at the moment partridges are teetering on the edge, it is therefore vitally important that everyone does their bit and counts – even if they only have one or two birds.”
During the presentation of the Trust’s 75th Anniversary Awards, Helen Phillips paid tribute to the many members of the scheme that have contributed to the PCS over 75 years and she explained how Natural England values and supports these vitally important monitoring schemes as they provide essential long-term data.
Over the past 75 years the PCS has grown considerably and now more than 1,000 members returning twice-yearly count forms. To join in the count or for further information, please visit:
The Partridge Count Scheme 75th anniversary celebrations were kindly sponsored by Ruffer, Strutt & Parker, Jas Martin & Co, Gray’s Chartered Surveyors, Carter Jonas and CastleAcre Insurance.