Bucks volunteer group using animals to improve countryside receive King's Award

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A small team and herd have been recognised for their ecological work

A volunteer group in Buckinghamshire has received recognition from the King for its work improving the countryside.

Today (14 November), the Brill Village Community Herd was awarded with the Kings Award for Voluntary Service.

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Members of the not-for-profit team have worked to replenish and protect greenland by Brill Common.

Members of the grazing team in Brill, photo from Roger StoneMembers of the grazing team in Brill, photo from Roger Stone
Members of the grazing team in Brill, photo from Roger Stone

KAVS is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

This year, King Charles III has given the prestigious honour to 262, social enterprises and voluntary groups.

Members use a of native Dexter cattle on the common to protect and enhance the biodiversity of this area.

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BVCH says the Dexters were chosen as the ‘cows for the job’ because of their size, hardiness and ability to graze rough terrain.

Some of the Dexter cows, photo from Roger StoneSome of the Dexter cows, photo from Roger Stone
Some of the Dexter cows, photo from Roger Stone

Since grazing began on the common, members have noticed it has enabled native flora and fauna such as orchids, birds-foot trefoil and ladies bedstraw, lizards and butterflies to return.

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Founding board member of BVCH, Pat Stone, said: “We are highly honoured and immensely proud to receive this prestigious award, which recognises not only our volunteers’ tireless efforts and unwavering commitment, but also the importance of preserving the natural heritage of Brill Common.

“The changes we’ve seen to the habitat and wildlife over the past decade have been incredible to witness and demonstrate how grazing in a considered way can help bring nature back.

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Volunteers in action, photo from Roger StoneVolunteers in action, photo from Roger Stone
Volunteers in action, photo from Roger Stone

We hope that this award inspires others to engage in similar conservation efforts and appreciate the value of our natural landscapes."

Representatives of BVCH will receive the award crystal and certificate from Countess Howe, Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. In addition, two volunteers from BVCH will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next summer, along with other recipients of this year’s award.

The society was formed to repair the damage done to Brill Common by many years of neglect and to restore the wide range of flowers, birds, insects and invertebrates that previously occupied the area.

The voluntary group has existed in Brill for a number of years.