New AONB award winner announced

A group of volunteers

Adrian Silvertown has been named the winner of the Robert Erith National Landscape Award in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Stour Valley Project area for 2021-22.

The Robert Erith National Landscape Award celebrates and recognises the achievements of individuals, groups and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and enhancement or raising awareness of the natural beauty or special qualities of the National Landscapes in the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project area.

Adrian Silvertown was awarded the honour in recognition of his incredible work as part of the Hedgerow Heroes Project, funded by CPRE, the Countryside Charity, and delivered locally by Suffolk Preservation Society and the Stour Valley Farmer Cluster.

Hedgerows are one of the key landscape features of the AONB and greatly improve the biodiversity of the area. The Project saw more than 6 kilometres of new hedgerows planted in the area, along with coppicing and gapping up work to restore existing hedgerows.

Whilst numerous volunteers played a vital role in the success of the project, Adrian was responsible for developing and creating a bespoke smartphone app to quickly and effectively survey and record hedges throughout the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley, providing a library of hedges in need of restoration that will be invaluable moving forwards.

Councillor Nigel Chapman, Chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Joint Advisory Committee and Partnership, said:

“This award characterises the marvellous co-operation this Project has engendered between technology and ‘spade work’ and between volunteers, farmers and the organisations that champion the AONB, finding the funding and managing the project so efficiently.

This Project is a brilliant example of the work being undertaken across the AONB to conserve and enhance our iconic landscape.”

In his acceptance speech, Adrian Silvertown said:

“It’s a great honour to receive the Robert Erith National Landscape Award. This app wouldn’t have happened without the responsive team around me – Paul, Fiona, Emma, Paula, and Alex.

It was hugely satisfying seeing the survey results pour into our central database and map from all the surveyors as part of the Hedgerow Heroes project. The app has real potential as it can be repurposed for so many other surveys too, in the AONB or beyond, and I’m excited for future projects.”

The award is named after Robert Erith TD DL, the former Chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Partnership, a lifelong advocate for the special landscape.

Award winners receive a framed copy of a linocut print created by local artist, Jem Seeley, and produced by Drab Ltd featuring the AONB’s iconic species – hazel dormouse in the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley.

Find out more information about the Robert Erith National Landscape Award at