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Rural Business Awards shortlist announced

After a record-breaking year for nominations, the finalists of the Rural Business Awards 2017 have finally been revealed. Working in partnership with the CLA and Amazon, the awards’ main aim is to recognise businesses operating in the rural sector. An independent panel of judges met up in early July to discuss who would make it to the final five in each of the awards’ thirteen categories. 

Amongst the industry-leading judges picking the final shortlist was our very own Marketing Director, Kate Middleton, who was invited to help judge the Rural Diversification Project Award, the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Best Rural Sporting Business Award on behalf of the Farm Business Innovation Show.

The diversification category recognises traditional farms that have adapted with the times to retain their heritage by exploring other revenue streams - and this year has seen a surge of entries with some brilliantly imaginative and successful schemes.

One of the unique businesses to make it to the final five is Mini Explorers Nursery, the UK’s only farm school nursery offering early years childcare on the family’s 260-acre arable farm on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Steph Pybus, the nursery’s founder, was looking for a nursery for her six children that would offer the same carefree outdoor lifestyle they led at home. When she didn’t find what she was looking for, she spotted a business opportunity and decided to create it herself. She quickly sold her textiles business and took over the tenancy on two office units at her husband’s family farm at Crabtree Hall to create a unique farming-focused childcare nursery.

Wold Top Brewery is another great example of a farm that has embraced diversification. After noticing a fall in revenue from their traditional farming income stream, the Mellor family knew they had to make some changes if they wanted to keep their farm economically stable. Fast forward to today, the 600-acre family farm in Yorkshire Wolds has diversified into brewing, bottling, wedding and events! 

Amazon’s UK Country Manager and keynote speaker at Farm Business Innovation, Doug Gurr, said: “The depth and breadth of this year’s shortlist demonstrates the incredible creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of rural businesses.” 

“There was stiff competition to get shortlisted, so I want to congratulate all the companies that entered and celebrate their work in building growing businesses, creating jobs, and innovating in rural Britain. Good luck to them all.” 

“Each of these outstanding rural businesses deserve a place in the final,” said the CLA’s Director General, Helen Woolley. “They have shown great expertise in their field and have a real understanding of how their business fits into the rural economy. I wish each and every one good luck at the awards ceremony in October.”


Outstanding Rural Diversification Project

Flowers from the Farm Ltd

Iscoyd Park LLP

Knitsley Farm Shop

Mini Explorers Nursery

Wold Top Brewery

Rural Entrepreneur of the Year


Holdsworth PR

Iscoyd Park LLP

Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park

Williams Automobiles Ltd

Rural Innovation of the Year

APT Fabrics Ltd

Engineering Technologies & Manufacturing Ltd

The Wellbeing Farm

Winch Energy Ltd

Zettlex (UK) Ltd

Best Rural Tourism Business

Barleylands Farm Park and Craft Village

Ceridwen Centre Ltd

Hoe Grange Holidays

Humble Bee Leisure

The Rookery (The Rookery Roughlee Holiday Cottage)

Best Rural Start-up

Cotswolds Distillery

Dunnet Bay Distillers Ltd


Madley Plants

The Dog Treat Company

Best Rural Clothing or Accessories Business

APT Fabrics Ltd

Butler Stewart Clothing

Derriere Equestrian Ltd

Emma Brown Tweed

Loopy Ewes

Best Rural Manufacturing Business

APT Fabrics Ltd

Cotswold RAW

James Kittow Butcher & Grazier

Mike Wye & Associates Ltd

Yurts for Life

Best Rural Professional Services Business

Appetite Me

ET Landnet Ltd

Greenway Training

McCartneys LLP

Roythornes Limited

Best Rural Creative or Media-based Business

Farm Creative

Holdsworth PR

Rural Maps

Rural Roots PR

The Artisan Food Trail

Social Enterprise/Community Project of the Year


Field Nurse

Infused Learning

Rhubarb Farm CIC

Warden Abbey Vineyard

Best Rural Sporting Business

Divoky Riding School

E.J.Churchill Shooting Ground

Lavant House Stables

Radway Riding School

The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club

Rural Employer of the Year

Engineering Technologies & Manufacturing Ltd

Hartley Farm Shop Ltd

Mike Wye & Associates Ltd

T.Soanes & Son Poultry

Wallops Wood Cottages

Best Rural Food & Drink Business

Cobbs Farm Co. Ltd

Cowdray Farm Shop Ltd

Jolly Nice Ltd

Mash Direct

T.Soanes & Son Poultry

The final winners will ultimately be revealed at the award ceremony, which will be held at Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey, on the 5th of October.

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