THE BEST KEPT VILLAGE COMPETITION IN THE
VALE OF GLAMORGAN
The Vale of Glamorgan lying along the South Wales Coast to the West of Cardiff is as rich in its pasture as it is in its history and beauty, and unique in its setting on the fringe of large industrial areas. Within the Vale are some famous old castles and the old village of Llantwit Major where, according to tradition, some of the oldest Christian communities gathered in AD61 or 400 years before Illtyd established its Church.
To mark the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953 the family of the late Mr. D.C. Jones of Barry donated a handsome challenge trophy for annual competition by villages in the Vale of Glamorgan. An independent committee of representatives from the local councils, such bodies as the Womens Institute and independent members organise and manage the competition.
The purpose of the Competition is to help preserve the rural nature of the area and to encourage the villagers to take pride in their traditions and environment. The rules relating to entry and judging have been carefully formulated. The system of judging provides that even the smallest and most unpretentious village stands an equal chance of recognition with one which may be noted for its architectural features or its setting and beauty. The whole emphasis is on COMMUNITY EFFORT. Generous marks are awarded for the general appearance of the village, innovation and evidence of Community efforts both in private and communal areas. However, marks are taken away for a variety of discordant features such as untidy ill kept war memorials, village greens, unsightly advertisements, litter, badly kept gardens, ditches, hedges, unsightly garages, shops etc. The preliminary judging is undertaken by teams of three from the management committee. All teams also being required to judge the same specific or "standard" village in order to ensure consistency of marking. An independent judge determines the final placings from a shortlist of four.
Apart from the Challenge Cup the winners have a splendid oak sign to be displayed on the Village Green for a year, and a plaque from the Vale of Glamorgan Council for retention. Thanks to the generosity of the Council, Community Councils and Calor Gas, the committee have been able to grant substantial annual awards to the winners.
A separate Children's competition for organised groups such as schools, guides, scouts and youth clubs is also organised.
It is emphasised that the competition is for the BEST KEPT village and takes no account of the various architectural features of the buildings or the natural beauty of the area.
Chairman B KV Management Committee.
CHIEF JUDGE'S COMMENTS 1997
MAJOR DAN CLAYTON-JONES IMMEDIATE PAST HIGH SHERIFF
The initial impression was of overall excellence and ample evidence of Community effort. Individual gardens and hedges were a joy to behold and it was obvious that adjacent areas had been carefully tended to be clear of grass and weeds.
The entrance to the village was quite captivating where at the triangular junction of the lanes a feature had been made of the newly painted old village pump with a flower bed and seat behind. Other innovative features were noted such as a wooden bridge over the stream with materials purchased with the award from winning the competition last year and the construction of an ornamental culvert by one of the villagers.
Around the well maintained Blacksmiths Arms it was delightful to see memorabilia of crafts from past days such as the anvils and cartwheel equipment attractively displayed. It was difficult to fault the Churchyard which was well mown and cared for, particularly noting the strimming between gravestones - something often forgotten. The area surrounding the Village Hall and playground were carefully maintained and it was pleasing to see the bus shelter absolutely impeccable, with no signs of graffiti and with an up to date and informative notice board concerning village affairs. One would be hard put to find such well swept pavements and roads with a complete absence of litter.
All in all an outstanding village and worthy winner of this years competition.
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