CPRE Wiltshire has launched this year’s Best Kept Village Competition by emailing parish clerks across the county to let them know it is taking place.

The countryside protection group is encouraging entries from villages large, medium and small across the county – and anyone from a village can enter.

Last year’s winners were Bratton (large), Urchfont (medium) and Tockenham (small). The winner of winners was Rushall and Hannington took the newcomers award.

Wiltshire Times: Anne Henshaw, chair of CPRE Wiltshire, presents the Laurence Kitching Award certificate to Cllr John Rogers of Rushall Parish Council.Anne Henshaw, chair of CPRE Wiltshire, presents the Laurence Kitching Award certificate to Cllr John Rogers of Rushall Parish Council. (Image: CPRE Wiltshire)

But you don’t have to be a member of a parish council to enter your village.  The entry invitations will be sent to all parish clerks by late-February. 

CPRE Wiltshire’s branch chair, Anne Henshaw, said: “As usual we’re very excited to be launching the competition yet again, and we are hoping to receive many more entries. 

“Wiltshire has many beautiful villages within the county and I know how much previous winners value the recognition this competition brings.”

The CPRE says many entrants recognise that one of the advantages of taking part in the annual competition is that it provides a great opportunity to enhance community spirit in villages. 

It is also a good opportunity to sort out unsightly problem areas, remove litter in public areas and generally enhance the overall appearance of the village to the benefit of residents and visitors. 

Anyone in a village can pull an entry together and coordinate preparations for judging – it doesn’t have to be led by the parish council. 

It’s a very simple process: all entrants need to submit is one form, a map and a short village report and to let their parish council know they are entering. 

Much of this information may already be available.  In any case if, say, three people undertake this task it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so. 

Entries need to be with CPRE Wiltshire no later than Friday, April 19. Various financial prizes are awarded, together with certificates and plaques for permanent display. 

The judges consider presentation – tidiness of public areas, absence of litter and evidence of community spirit and involvement – but do not award marks for the beauty of buildings, otherwise the same villages might win every time! 

The first round of judging in the 2024 competition will take place from Monday,  May 13 to Sunday, June 9.

Find out more on CPRE Wiltshire’s website https://www.cprewiltshire.org.uk/category/awards/ or by contacting CPRE Wiltshire by email admin@cprewiltshire.org.uk or call 01380 722157.