Haughton -Best Kept Village competition winners in 1963, 2000, 2004, 2011, 2012,
2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017
Haughton has a long history in the Best Kept Village Competition. For five consecutive
years, from 2011 to 2015, Haughton achieved the titles of Best Kept Large Village
in Stafford Area and the Best Kept Large Village in Staffordshire
A new era began following rule changes in 2016 which resulted in Haughton being moved
from the large village category to the small. Haughton was placed Joint Second in
Stafford Area in 2016 and in 2017 won Best Kept Village in Stafford Area
What is BKV?
The Best Kept Village Competition is organised annually by the Best Kept Village
Working Group, part of the Community Foundation for Staffordshire. It has been in
operation for nearly 60 years. Originally part of the Keep Britain Tidy initiative,
it has now expanded to include all aspects of caring for the village environment.
The aim is to encourage community spirit throughout the year and to stimulate pride
in villages. The competition is judged by independent volunteer judges who make
unscheduled visits during the summer months and mark what they notice during these
What is judged and marked in BKV?
The judges will develop an overall impression of the community spirit of the residents
but mark on the following features:
BKV Publicity and Awareness; Children’s Posters; Notice Boards; Local Information
(including Recycling and Dog-fouling Awareness); Church/Chapel Surrounds, Cemeteries
and Burial Grounds; Communal Buildings; Public Houses; Telephone Boxes, Bus Shelters,
Seating Areas, Village Signs and Features; War Memorial; Large Public Open Spaces,
Greens, Playing Fields, etc; Small Open Spaces; Private Gardens; Children’s Play
Areas, Play Equipment and Safety Surfaces; Map; General Cleanliness and Community
Effort (including Litter and Dog-fouling)
Judging normally takes place between the beginning of May and mid-July
What are our aims?
To make Haughton an even more pleasant place in which to live
To enhance community spirit and stimulate pride in the village
To be judged as the Best Kept Village in Stafford
Who can be involved?
Anyone and everyone of all ages can be involved. In Haughton, the Parish Council
normally makes the initial decision to enter and in the past has co-ordinated the
activities. Since 2011 this responsibility has been shared with other volunteers.
People from village organisations, such as the Garden Guild, Women’s Institute,
Village Hall Committee, Church and School often take part, but it is not necessary
to be part of any organisation to be involved. There is no formal BKV membership
and there are many ways to be part of caring for the environment and showing pride
in the community as an individual or as a family. All help is voluntary and everyone
can give as much or as little time as they want.
Attend the initial meeting
This is usually held in early March at the Village Hall. Again, you do not have
to belong to a village organisation and you will not be asked to commit to anything
you do not want to do! Families and young people are especially welcome. The initial
meeting is a way of rallying support, meeting new people, sharing ideas and asking
for volunteers who may wish to adopt an area to look after. Of course, if you cannot,
or do not want to attend, you can still be involved in any (or all!) of the suggestions
Share ideas with others
The Churchyard Ecology project began after an idea raised at the 2010 initial meeting.
Ideas can be brought to the initial meeting or put to the BKV Co-ordinator or any
member of the Parish Council. To build on our successes of the past we need to bring
in new initiatives and these ideas help to make our village a better place in which
Report problem areas and concerns
Even if you do not wish to attend the initial meeting, adopt an area or join a group
litter-pick you may be aware of a particular problem area for litter, untidiness,
or one that is ripe for improvement in some way. Again, notify the BKV Co-ordinator
or a member of the Parish Council and feel civic pride in having done so.
Come on a Tidy-up
In 2011, organised group litter-picks, usually held every fortnight, occasionally
weekly, in the summer season and before any major event began and were continued
in 2012. They were introduced as a way of bringing volunteers together as well as
to ensure that problem areas, such as the main road, were kept clear of the cigarette
ends, packets and cans thrown from car windows. However, the name has been changed
to Tidy-ups to reflect that although litter-picking is still a major part of these
events, other tasks are also undertaken, such as the picking up of twigs and branches
from paths and grassy areas, weed removal from kerbsides and the sweeping up of leaf
litter and debris. The Tidy-ups are usually held between 6.30-7.30pm, starting from
the Village Hall. A schedule of dates is published in the Parish Magazine, on the
website and on a flyer on the notice boards. Litter pick-up tools, bags and high
visibility tabards are provided. It is not necessary to attend the first or all
of the Tidy-ups, or even to take part for the whole hour. Just come along and help
make the village a tidier place to be. One litter-picking convert said, “I never
thought that I’d enjoy litter-picking, or want to do it. I always thought, I don’t
drop litter and I don’t see why I should pick up other people’s. But it’s great.
It’s a chance to get out in the fresh air, to meet people and have a chat and you
don’t actually have to touch any of the litter because of the tools provided. And
the place looks so much better when it’s clean.”
Many people take a bag and a litter pick-up tool or glove when they go for a walk
and pick up any litter that they see.
Involve and encourage the children
The future of our environment depends on the next generation developing an interest
in it. Bringing children to an organised litter-pick would be ideal, but even on
walks or visits to the parks litter could be looked for and collected. Children
can be asked for their ideas on improvements and these can be passed to the BKV Co-ordinator
or any member of the Parish Council for consideration. Children can be encouraged
to look around and notice the trees, plants and birdlife of their surroundings. Your
child may even want to help with the gardening!
Maintain a tidy front garden
No one can, or should, tell you how to design your own front garden. Sometimes work
and family commitments and adverse weather conditions can stop us from getting out
there and cutting the grass, weeding between the block-paving, hoeing the borders,
pruning the shrubs and dead-heading the dandelions, but keeping the bits other people
can see tidy will give an impression of caring and will help the judges recognise
our pride in our community.
How to be involved
Keep the road edges and verges in front of the house tidy and litter free
No, it isn’t our job, but chopping off the weeds at the kerb edge with a sharp tool
is the work of moments and makes a big difference to the general impression.
Clear up after the dog
Please use the dog-waste bags and gloves which have been provided by the Parish Council
and which are available at four locations around the village:
On Newport Road, near the footway into Oak Gardens
On Newport Road, near the Village Hall
By the green on Moathouse Drive
On the playing field
Become a sponsor
Sponsorship has become a very important part of BKV. If you have a business in the
village, in its surrounding areas, or have an interest in developing a clientele
in the area you could consider becoming a sponsor. For several years sponsors have
provided prizes for competition winners and in 2012 the scheme was expanded, with
flowerbeds and planters being sponsored by named businesses. The money received has
been very beneficial to the BKV and Britain in Bloom campaigns and sponsors receive
in return the benefits of publicity and advertising.
If you are interested in any of the above and would like more information please
contact any member of Haughton Parish Council.