Winners of the 2018 Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation have been announced, with the Gold Award won by the Howesyke Shoot, Yorkshire, for their work in woodland and heather restoration

The winners of the 2018 Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation have been announced. In a ceremony held in London gun and rifle maker James Purdey & Sons’ famous Long Room, it was announced that Howesyke Shoot in Yorkshire had won the 2018 Purdey Gold Award.

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Held annually since 1999 and now in their twentieth year, the Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation seek to promote a wider appreciation of the game and habitat conservation carried out by shoots throughout the United Kingdom every year. The Awards give recognition to shoots completing outstanding work, and reward the best.

And that is exactly what was celebrated on Thursday evening. In a ceremony held in the gunmaker’s famous Long Room, the Duke of Wellington, Chairman of the Award’s judging panel, announced the 2018 winners with David Gower OBE, broadcaster and former international cricketer, presenting the awards.

This year, the Gold Award was won by the Howesyke Shoot in Yorkshire for their work in woodland and heather restoration, as well as a successful black grouse reestablishment scheme. The Silver Award was presented to Burnham Thorpe Shoot, Norfolk, for their success in creating and blending a grey partridge project with a traditional syndicate shoot. And the Bronze Award was given to Whitburgh Farms, Midlothian for making changes to create an extensive wildlife habitat and thereby leading the way for other farmers to replicate on a smaller scale.


Rob and Helen Brown were presented with the annual Purdey Awards Trophy, the Gold Award and a cheque for £5,000, in recognition of their fantastic work on the Howesyke Shoot in Yorkshire. Since starting the project in 2009, Mr and Mrs Brown have transformed a hitherto intensively managed hill farm into a truly wonderful shoot offering a stunning variety of partridge, pheasant and grouse.

2018 Purdey Awards

The Howesyke Shoot in Yorkshire took the 2018 Purdey Gold Award.

The judges were universal in their praise for the overall conservation programme, saying that it perfectly demonstrates just how much energy, enthusiasm and knowledge can create “a perfect small sporting estate in the uplands of England”. It is a project that has enjoyed the advice and engagement from a variety of NGOs. And it includes the planting of over 100,000 broadleaf trees, a successful black grouse reestablishment scheme, over 900 acres of peat restoration, the creation of five new wetland habitats and the repair and rebuild of 1.3km of dry stone walls.

The Purdey Awards judges were impressed with what has been a lifetime’s project for Mr and Mrs Brown. Every aspect of the shoot is carefully planned, including the growing demand and distribution for shot game.


Nick Zoll and the Burnham Thorpe Syndicate won that 2018 Purdey Silver Award and £3,000. Nick Zoll and his team have created a syndicate shoot that generated and now sustains a viable grey partridge population. The work undertaken includes planting and managing all winter bird food strips on behalf of all tenant farmers. The shoot has also planted an additional 22 acres of brood-rearing and overwintering cover, ensuring there is always a significant amount of cover at any one time. This, along with careful positioning of cover crops and grass margins, has maximised the nesting and brood-rearing habitat for partridges and wild pheasants.

Purdey Awards 2018

Nick Zoll and the Burnham Thorpe Syndicate won the Silver Award.

In third place, winning the 2018 Purdey Bronze Awards and £2,000, is Alastair Salvesen and Whitburgh Farms for its excellent grey partridge recovery project. Running since 2010, the changes made to the shoot include 7% of previously cultivated land being taken out of production and used to create an extensive wildlife habitat. The overall objective of the project is to demonstrate its feasibility in being replicated by other farmers on a smaller scale, an ambitious and entirely admirable goal.


The judges chose to create a special award to recognise the work of Richard Gould, who has created an impressive lowland game shoot at Ixworth Thorpe, Suffolk. Described by the judges as a “one man dynamo” with a well-run shoot that delivers both first class shooting and first class conservation, the panel were unanimous that Richard Gould deserved recognition as an exceptional keeper. Richard received the Purdey Special Award and a cheque for £1,000.

A special commendation has been made to David J Owen of the Camddwr Shooting Society, in recognition of his determination and enthusiasm in building a remarkable shoot, which plays a crucial role in the community.

David Pooler of the Rhug Estate has also been awarded a special commendation in recognition of his commitment as Head Keeper working alongside an organic farming enterprise.