Winners of the 2012 Octavia Hill Awards

Our 2012 Octavia Hill Awards attracted more than 160 entries and you voted in your thousands to select the winners from our shortlist.

Find out more about last year's winners:

    Growing Hero

    Winner: Patrick Frew - Cloughmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

    Patrick turned a dream into a reality. 'Incredible Edible Cloughmills' is a shining example of what one passionate and respected person can achieve.

    Patrick wanted to increase the amount of food grown locally and involve everyone, whatever their age, with food production. Bringing the community with him, he turned a one-acre site into an extremely well appointed growing space with everything from 18 raised beds to polytunnels, rainwater harvesting, a bug hotel and two hens.

    Alongside regular school visits there’s a hugely popular ‘Muddy Boots Club’ for young children – aimed at reconnecting them with nature. Patrick’s ‘Doorstep Allotments’ are delivered to 50 elderly residents – recycled fruit boxes filled with homemade compost and easy salad plants.

    But Patrick is already onto Phase Two – 'The Happiness Project' – taking on a four-acre old mill site and using permaculture principles to establish 50 raised beds, a community orchard and even a compost loo.

    Nominated by Declan Donnelly, Ballymoney Borough Council

    Natural Hero

    Winner: Roger Parkinson - Wakefield, West Yorkshire

    Roger is something of a local hero. As well as an inspirational tree conservation leader, he volunteers as a speaker and field teacher - and he's a natural.


    Endlessly cheerful and deeply knowledgeable, Roger has helped over 60 individuals and community groups with their woodland creation projects – establishing native trees in local wasteland and urban parks, planting hedgerows and growing trees from seed.

    On a grander scale, he’s helped restore a 5-acre arboretum – with over 150 tree species. And for Haw Park Wood, Roger and his group grew over 500 native oaks from local seed. Now they’re tackling a 750-metre stretch of railway line!

    Roger loves to pass on his knowledge, and as a public speaker his passion for woods and trees is infectious. He also brings people in the community together, both young and old. He believes this work can change not only landscapes but also lives.

    Nominated by Rowena Grew, The Woodland Trust

    Inspirational Hero

    Winner: Matt Smith - Bootle, Liverpool

    Matt is a volunteer youth worker in the very same Bootle youth group that he attended as a teenager. At just 21 years old, his selfless work in the community is having a real impact on anti-social behaviour, as well as raising awareness on issues such as sustainability.

    Matt is a tireless fundraiser – pulling together camping trips that get young people exposed to the wonders of the outdoors, with nature hikes and foraging. The impact is phenomenal, given that many have never left the city before.

    Always pushing himself, at just 15 Matt joined a month-long BBC expedition down the Amazon. On the 21-mile canoe adventure he removed illegal fishing nets and built an enclosure for rare monkeys.

    After leaving college, Matt set up an Eco-Warriors programme educate pupils about the environmental impact of their school. He continues to run activities for inner city young people, and remains passionate about educating them on environmental issues.

    Nominated by Vee Smith

    The People's Campaigner

    Winner: Julia Bradbury

    Julia is a presenter on BBC Countryfile, a passionate walker and was President of the Ramblers Association.

    'I have been walking since I was old enough to have an opinion, so from around the age of about five or six.

    My father, Michael, would take me striding out across the Peak District – the place he had grown up with his younger brother. Born in Tideswell they explored the railway lines, caves, Rivers and moorland.

    Dad taught me to how to tickle trout and told me the story of the Kinder Scout mass trespass. He is passionate (and informed) about the great outdoors and he passed that zeal onto me. I consider myself very lucky.

    The response to my walking programmes, and programmes such as Countryfile and The Great British Countryside is a constant source of pleasure and surprise. I have filmed more than 50 television walks to date and my Dad is very proud. I’m thrilled that these programmes have inspired people to get out there and have provoked an interest in our landscape and our truly unique countryside.'

    Green Space Guardians

    Winner: Friends of King Henry's Walk Garden - North London

    A scrap of wasteland in North London has been transformed in to a tranquil community garden. After years of hard work, the Friends of King Henry’s Walk Garden have created a beautiful green space in an area where many families don’t have outside space.

    Run by volunteers, the garden holds endless workshops and regularly opens to the public. Locals rent growing spaces at low rates, and there’s a blooming calendar of workshops, events and education programmes. The summer fete is a must, with hundreds turning up to sample locally made icecream and have a go on the coconut shy.

    In a seemingly buzzing place there’s still space for wildlife. Native hedges are planted for food and shelter, dragonflies patrol the pond and bird and bat boxes make safe urban homes.

    What the garden has in bucket-loads is community spirit – with space to picnic and play, grow and gently unwind.

    Nominated by Nicola Freshwater

    'Love Places' Award

    Winner: Eric Shorrocks - Arnside Knott, Cumbria

    Twenty-three years of volunteering and 2,500 metres of drystone wall rebuilt.

    Eric must hold some sort of record. With a cheery smile and a pocketful of dog biscuits, he had his sure-fire ‘engagement’ tools sorted long before the term became popular.

    As an Arnside resident, Eric started volunteering before the National Trust had any of its own staff here. From litter picking and path clipping, he and his wife Marnie joined the Wednesday working party – saving precious limestone grassland from scrub invasion.

    But Eric’s greatest achievement lies in his drystone walling. He taught himself and reached professional standards. Over the years he trained up at least 20 people – you can see Eric’s skilled hand in every sturdy stretch of wall.

    Eric is also a fine botanist and can now retire in the knowledge that Arnside Knott’s rich, unique grasslands are secure behind stock-proof walls for at least another 200 years.

    Nominated by Alan Ferguson, Ranger, National Trust Arnside and Silverdale