The Best Kept Village is a competition run each year by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

So, let’s start with the history behind our story. Ramsbury first won Best Kept Large Village in Wiltshire back in 1961. Then we won in 1971, 1972, 1982, 1986, 2011 and 2021! Quite an achievement for a large village such as ours. The Memorial Hall on the High Street displays all of the plaques we’ve won over the years. It’s an impressive line up for Ramsbury.

The CPRE annual competition comprises 3 categories of village – small, medium and large. As our population is of the order of 2,000 residents, we are classed as a large village. The competition begins with the first round of judging which is done by district, Ramsbury is in the Kennet (East Wiltshire) district and the judging occurs mid-May through to June. If we win our district, we go onto a second round of judging, usually in July for the county round.

What does it take to win? CPRE always emphasis that it’s not the prettiest village that wins, far from it. It’s all about our level of tidiness, cleanliness, presentation, conservation and our village community spirit. Our aim is to work together with local residents to keep our roads and the surrounding countryside clean and litter free. Offer our neighbours help with bins if they are away, or if you know of a senior resident who needs assistance, offer to help out. We have planted small wildflower patches around the village which is good for pollinators and insects. Our efforts don’t stop there as many of our village gardens have taken on the popular re-wilding approach. Watch out for the blue hearts as you travel around the village.

This year the winning 6 villages over the last 2 years compete against each other; this really is the Best of the Best hoping to win the prestigious Laurence Kitching award. Ramsbury hasn’t won this award yet, so it gives us something to aim for. If you’d like to help the village win this year, get involved by keeping our open spaces litter free, do your bit to keep the village appearance clean and tidy, clean the verge outside your home, limit fly posters and try advertising on social media. But most of all, maintain the wonderful community spirit that is the heart of our special village.