High Praze for WI hedge competition
The Allsop Cup competition is run every five years as a partnership between the Cornwall Federation of Women’s Institutes (CFWI) and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s headquarters at Allet near Truro were donated by the late Dr George and Mrs Allsop back in 1989. Another part of their legacy was to initiate the Allsop Cup competition which always has a wildlife focus.
The subject of the competition was Cornish Hedges. Groups were asked to document a section of Cornish Hedge throughout the seasons, particularly focussing on the wildlife that lived, bred, fed and travelled along it. Ian Pye from Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Strategy Committee was one of the judges.
Ian Pye says,
“We were very pleased to have so many entries this year, the hedges subject really seems to have connected with WI members across Cornwall. The groups clearly enjoyed working together with friends and connecting with nature, some didn’t want the year-long competition to end which says it all”.
Second place went to Crantock WI, third to Crowlas and Ludgvan WI with Menheniot WI being highly commended. Entries were judged primarily on the journals produced which included illustrations, lists of species found, historical research, hedgerow recipes, poems and personal reflections and memories. A common theme was how much the women involved enjoyed visiting their hedges, and how they came to realise that the more closely they looked, the more wildlife they could find.
Gill Keeble, Chair of the CFWI’s Environment and Current Affairs Committee said,
“We were struck with how the competition helped some WI members connect with wildlife, one lady said that walks in the countryside now take her a lot longer as she has to stop and investigate Cornish Hedges that she comes across!”
Aside from it being an enjoyable pastime, some groups have taken their hedge experience and put it to further use.
Ian Pye explains,
“One group has become involved with surveying hedges as part of the production of their local Neighbourhood Development Plan. So the group’s interest in hedges is now being put to good use in helping to protect them”.
The winning entries will be available to view at the WI stand at Stithians Show on Monday 11th July.