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The Clifton cricket ground's transformation into an environmentally friendly, community facility has been recognised with a national award. Photo/supplied


The designers behind the Clifton Country Cricket Club landscape project have been recognised with a national award recognising the restoration of the informal farm cricket pitch into a unique community space.

Willie Murphy's company Pollen Workshop picked up the Field of Dreams - NZILA Award of Excellence at the Resene NZILA Pride of Place Landscape Architecture Awards at the prizegiving in Wellington on Wednesday night.

Mr Murphy said he was pleased to even be nominated for an award but this was topped up by winning the accolade that helped increase national exposure for the facility.

Situated in a valley basin between the undulating sheep-grazed hills just south of the Te Awanga, what started as a restoration of an informal cricket pitch on the family farm evolved into a community project of many facets.

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Mr Murphy said he was brought on board by the cricket club in 2014 to design a ground that would not only be good for cricket but also introduce environmental elements.

Unused for 20 years, the original cricket pitch was lifted more than 7m at one end to almost level, and the turf and cricket pitch were revamped, including the development of a network of riparian plantings and creation of a wetland.

Plantings of more than 10,000 trees and shrubs were undertaken along waterways, up through the adjacent valley and around the cricket pitch, the growth acting as an eco-corridor link for local bird life.

Mr Murphy said the project was a combined effort between the landowners who received help from many family members, locals from the small community, backing from businesses (both local and further afield), and endorsement from the Department of Conservation.

"We did it pro bono because we saw the project was of value to the community," Mr Murphy said.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Doc helped with funding for the plants and the end result had created an active focus for the local community for both sport and recreational use.

In November last year the cricket ground made it into the book World's Most Remarkable Cricket Grounds by British author Brian Levison.