West Dean announced ‘Best Newcomer’ village for 2024

This year’s competition started with 29 villages from around the county who were put under the microscope by the expert team of judges looking for criteria including tidiness, cleanliness, presentation and village community spirit.

West Dean, east of Salisbury, has been announced as this year’s ‘Best Newcomer’ and will receive a £150 cash prize. This has been sponsored by idverde, Wiltshire Council’s grounds maintenance contractor.

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Community Engagement Manager for idverde, Paul Ashman, said: “Idverde is proud to support villages throughout our beautiful county.”

“We believe that the Best Kept Village Competition is particularly valuable because it helps to bring together people of all ages and to restore community spirit. Communities in Wiltshire are distinguished by their resilience, the support that neighbours have for each other in difficult times and by their strong sense of identity.”

A list of the nominated villages around WiltshireA list of the nominated villages around Wiltshire (Image: Wiltshire Council)

Each village is judged within the categories of small, medium and large and in this first round they are only judged within their own districts of West Wiltshire, North Wiltshire, South Wiltshire or Kennet (East Wiltshire).

Project Manager for CPRE Wiltshire and the BKVC organiser, Mike Manson, said: “The judges’ reports clearly recorded that the parish councils and their volunteers had once again been hard at work.  Every village received praise from the judges for most of the criteria being judged.

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“We will have new names for the overall winners: none of the villages that have qualified for the second and final round have won at that level for at least 12 years.”

Each winning village will receive a certificate and in July it will be judged against the similar sized villages in the other districts, to determine the best-kept large, medium and small villages in Wiltshire.

The final results will be announced in August and on September 22, the presentations to the winners will be made in each of the villages.

Also in July, the Laurence Kitching Award will be judged.  This involves four of the six villages who won their size categories in the past two competitions (2022 and 2023) and are therefore ineligible for the main competition.  This section of the Competition is also sponsored by idverde.

Award ceremonies for the second round and Laurence Kitching Award winners will be held sequentially in the four winning villages on Sunday, September 22. 

The Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire will pull away the Union Flag surmounting the winner’s shield and commemorative plaques will be presented. Cash prizes between £15 and £200 will be awarded to all villages in the  second round. 

Salisbury Journal | News