Some of the Traditional Boundaries, Traditional Skills team

Some of the Traditional Boundaries, Traditional Skills team

A scheme to encourage traditional drystone walling and fencing skills in a national park has scooped top prize in an inaugural competition.

The Campaign for National Parks’ award for top Park Protector went to the Traditional Boundaries, Traditional Skills scheme in the Northumberland national park.

A £2,000 first-prize bursary that comes with the prize will enable vocational placements with practitioners of the tradition skills for students from schools and universities.

The five-year pilot is a rural skills traineeship scheme which trains people in the management and repair of traditional boundaries and associated features such as gates, stiles and fences.

The Northumberland-based project beat four other shortlisted nominees for the award. Judges said it stood out among an excellent shortlist because it combined conservation with job creation, restoring the fragile landscape and creating a legacy of employable traditional skills in the equally fragile economy of the rural north east.
Derek Proudlock of the Northumberland national park said: “The Park Protector Award is recognition of the benefits the project has brought to conserving and enhancing the stunning and varied landscape of Northumberland national park alongside successfully fostering rural micro-businesses in the countryside.

“It is fantastic to get this award and reinforces our commitment to continuing to look for opportunities to support rural communities and the local economy in and around Northumberland national park.”

Campaign for National Parks chief executive Helen Jackson said: “We are thrilled that our first award attracted so many high quality nominations and we hope the bursary, and the publicity generated, will help to secure this project’s legacy.”

The Llangattock Green Valleys Community Interest Company was runner-up.  The judges said they were impressed by its success in cutting its carbon footprint and leading the way in sustainable living.

Other nominees were: Jean Savage, the Conservation Snowdonia Project and Mires-on-the-Moors.

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