Droxford has been awarded Best Small Village 2023 and Runner Up in Best Open Spaces by the Hampshire Association of Local Councils.

Below is part of the citation that was entered.

Droxford Parish Council strives to improve those areas of the village within its ownership, aiming to provide a high standard of facilities for both residents and visitors whilst respecting and maintaining the beautiful rural setting. It is evident that community pride in the village and cross-community involvement in village life has increased in recent years. Whilst a number of clubs and organisations have been embedded for decades, the post-pandemic lifting of constraints appears to have unlocked a stronger sense of belonging, sparking a number of new ventures which support both those within the community and further afield. The Parish Council and other organisations within the village frequently work together with a joined-up approach to the encouragement of village life. When considering whether Droxford merits entry for consideration of the Village of the Year 2023, it is evident that there is much to celebrate with regard to this relatively small community of approximately 700 residents. This is best illustrated by outlining both long-standing community activities and those that have been initiated within the past year.

The Country Fair has been a fixed event in the summer calendar for 70 years and the surplus raised provides grants for a variety of community projects across all age groups.

Wilfrid’s café is a volunteer-run asset to both the community and visitors within the South Downs National Park. Open 5 days a week, high quality refreshments are available to walkers and a number of community-based activities are held to support specific groups within the community (e.g. the elderly, mothers and toddlers). As a Community Interest Company, all surplus funds after accounting for overheads are ploughed back into the community.

The third bi-annual Scarecrow Festival was held in September 2022 and ended with a community picnic at the Recreation Ground. Funds were raised which were used to host a Christmas Party in the Village Hall for local children, a much-needed way of encouraging children to socialise in the wake of the devastating impact of Covid on the mental health of younger generations.

A Christmas Market is held annually in the Village Hall, showcasing locally produced crafts. This has proved so successful that an inaugural Maker’s Market is scheduled in July with an impressive number of local producers.

A successful sale of secondhand books took place shortly after the ending of Covid restrictions and is now a regular occurrence, raising funds to support the Village Hall and contributing to the circular economy.

The bells of St Mary & All Saints Church were largely silent for many years for lack of local bellringers. In the past year, a number of residents have taken up bellringing and joined the nationwide initiative to “Ring for the King” for the Coronation. The band of enthusiasts now regularly ring for services and practices, thereby bringing this centuries old pursuit back to life within the village.

A ‘Street Party’ was held in May to mark the occasion of the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles. It was organised by volunteers and attended by approximately 250 residents.

Written by Ailsa Duckworth, Clerk to Droxford Parish Council