Regional firms win big at Rural Business Awards

Lorraine Robinson

Regional names were among the winners at the national Rural Business Awards, which were revealed on Thursday (February 24).

The Rural Business Awards recognise and celebrate the successes and contributions of rural businesses to the UK’s economy, a sector.

Statistics suggest the rural economy contributes £261 billion to the nation’s GVA – nearly a fifth of the country’s total economic activity.

Twelve category winners were named from a record number of entries.

Among the winners was The Roost Luxury Glamping, which was named Best Rural Tourism Business.

The Roost comprises two luxury glamping cabins based near Mitcheldean in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

The site was opened by Lorraine Robinson (pictured) in December 2019, but was forced to close three months later due to the pandemic. Since reopening it has been named one of the top 15 Great Cabin Getaways in the UK by The Sunday Telegraph and was awarded two Gold awards one from Quality in Tourism, the other from Green Tourism as well as a Gold Award for Best New Business in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

Astley Vineyard at Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire was named Best Rural Food or Drink Business.

Planted in 1971, the family-run Astley Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in the UK, located in the Severn valley 10 miles from Worcester.

Wooden toymaker Love Heartwood shared The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award with Welsh leatherworker Coterie Leather.

Based near Reading, Love Heartwood’s Liz Pearson creates handmade wooden gifts, toys and homeware on her woodturning lathe. She also runs a wooden toy repair service and gives woodturning lessons.

And Chipping Campden-based Shire Marketing Specialists shared a five-way tie for The Triumph Over Adversity Award.

The organisers said each of the finalists had overcome adversity, and it was impossible to pick and an overall category winner – so the prize was shared.

Founded by rural-based businesswomen Jemma Clifford and Anna Price, the Rural Business Awards are backed by Amazon and assessed by an independent panel of judges, drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

Jemma Clifford, Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, said: “On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, I would like to congratulate those rural businesses who have worked tirelessly throughout another challenging year.

“Every year, I continue to be proud and remain in awe at the high calibre of entries to the awards and each business who was shortlisted should be very proud of reaching the national final.”