Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
6:19 PM 18th June 2018

Yorkshire Rural Businesses Shortlisted For Prestigious National Awards

Charlotte Shipley from Field & Forage
Charlotte Shipley from Field & Forage
Yorkshire has just been handed a trade boost with three firms from across the county shortlisted in a prestigious awards scheme showcasing the very best in British rural enterprise.

Now in their fourth year, the RBAs are the only UK-wide business awards specifically for the rural sector. Sponsored by Amazon, the scheme has been a huge success since the first awards ceremony in 2015. The shortlisted businesses will now go on to the regional finals to be held at a 'glittering ceremony' on October 9 at the Last Drop Village Hotel & Spa in Bolton.

“At Amazon, we want to help shine a spotlight on the best of rural businesses – small and large alike,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “Rural businesses are crucial to the UK economy and we want to ensure they are recognised for their success.”

The shortlisted firms from Yorkshire are:

West Yorkshire

Sarah Turner of Little Beau Sheep
Sarah Turner of Little Beau Sheep
Little Beau Sheep – shortlisted for Best Rural Start-Up

Ilkley-based Little Beau Sheep is the proud producer of a hand-made laundry and body care range.

Sarah Turner started the innovative company when living in a small flat while work was being done to her house. Guilty about using the tumble dryer, she became conscious of its environmental impact and invested in plastic dryer balls to speed up the process. But the noise was unbearable, so she devised her own solution: as a keen felter – and an ardent lover of all things wool – Sarah got to thinking about the softening power of natural lanolin so set to work on her first all-natural, pure-wool, hand-made, super-softening dryer-balls packed with the power of British wool and soothing lanolin.

As such, the Little Beau Sheep collection offers an eco-friendly take on everyday cleaning tasks. Available directly from the company’s e-commerce website or through a growing range of nationwide retailers, its ever-expanding range of sheep-centred goodies are finding their way into laundries and bath rooms not just in the UK but overseas too. Now into the third year of trading, Little Beau Sheep has recently gone plastic-free thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Farmer Copleys Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Retail Business

Run by husband and wife Robert and Heather Copley, Farmer Copleys is a family based rural business which runs a farm shop, a “Moo Café” and events on a working farm. Aiming to be the UK’s premier food destination by 2021, the business has 80 staff and uses old buildings with contemporary styling to bring customers and farmers together. One new planned event is the Farmer’s Walk, where people will be invited to turn up in farm clothes and do
jobs on the farm such as collecting eggs, picking crops, checking water troughs and even a spot of lambing!

Harrison Spinks Beds Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Manufacturing Business, and Rural Employee of the Year (John Horsley)

Established in 1840, Harrison Spinks is one of Britain’s most established and innovative bed makers. The fifth-generation family business is the only bed maker in the world to own its own farm, on which it rears 600 sheep to provide the natural fillings for its mattresses. Harrison Spinks’ world-leading spring technology – made using wire drawn in-house – enables the bed maker to create mattresses with spring counts of more than 40,000 – a number which far outweighs its competitors. Both the unique spring technology and growing natural fillings have been recognised with two Queen's awards for Enterprise in Innovation and Sustainable Development.

East Yorkshire

Hotham Estate (William’s Den) – shortlisted for Outstanding Rural Diversification Project and Rural Employee of the Year (Team William)

Owned by Tor and Christian Carver, William’s Den is a rural, natural visitor attraction tailored to families on 15 acres of the Hotham Estate near North Cave. With outdoor and indoor play, a family-friendly 120 seat restaurant, and a gift shop, William's Den opened in June 2017 to give children the chance to connect with nature and get active. It includes an expansive outdoor play area with water play, discovery zones, unique play structures, den making materials and space to just run free.

Inside there’s a bespoke wooden crafted sensory play zone, bridges, tunnels and climbing nets. Both Tor and Christian were brought up on farms and wanted to create a space for children to play freely in rural surroundings. They were inspired by a study by Persil that showed some children spent less time outside than prisoners!

Team William – shortlisted for Rural Employee of the Year

Team William are such an effective team of people offering outstanding customer service every day at William’s Den that the Carvers felt it was impossible to single out just one individual. They said: “Everyone works tremendously hard but has so much fun doing so, and it is that sense of fun and lively attitude that keeps William’s Den pushing the boundaries of service excellence within the Yorkshire region.”

Field & Forage Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Start-Up

Field & Forage are food producers and caterers based in the Yorkshire Wolds. Launched as an event catering company in 2017, founders Charlotte and Emma use their own grass fed Belted Galloway beef, a kitchen garden brimming with ingredients and the seasonality of the farm’s hedgerows to make their own distinct range of sauces, salsas, jellies, jams and chutneys, being genuinely passionate about celebrating country living through their own seasonal produce.

Charlotte and Emma live with their families in the beautiful countryside of the East Yorkshire Wolds. Rural life isn’t a lifestyle choice but the beating heart of their young families. From carlin peas to Yorkshire puddings, their food heritage is rich and one that echoes the way of life that they were raised on. With a passion for rural traditions such as the seasonality of food, working with the bounty of the natural landscape and coming together for celebratory feasting, Charlotte and Emma truly believe that delicious hearty food brings people together.

Raising a herd of Belted Galloway on the grassy pastures of the Yorkshire Wolds, Charlotte has a close connection to the beef that Field & Forage serve. The slow cooked beef that is at the base of many of Field & Forage’s menus is the product of generations of family farming, highest welfare standards and a passion for perfection, while Emma’s kitchen garden provides the inspiration when menus are designed.

Park Lodge Shooting School incorporating Park Lodge Spa – shortlisted for Best Rural Retail Business

Park Lodge Shooting School in West Cowick near Goole is a premier plus clay pigeon shooting ground set in 44 acres of open terrain, run by husband and wife team Tom and Sharon Bayston. With a team of dedicated Pro Instructors, the business employs and buys local and prides itself on the quality of its facilities, its customer service and its commitment to using environmentally friendly business practices. Park Lodge now has a full range of clay shooting layouts, a new Air Rifle range plus a luxurious shooting lodge incorporating a coffee shop/bistro, a country wear shop, an air rifle range and corporate meeting facilities.

The entire facility is also near self-sufficient in terms of electricity and water. During the design and construction of the new facilities a number of environmentally friendly measures were employed, including using locally recycled building blocks for the actual construction of the building, special heat efficient glass for the windows and energy efficient LED lighting throughout. A highly efficient ground source heat pump was selected and installed which generates 5 kw of heat for every 1 kw of electricity used. This provides the heat for the whole building which is distributed via under floor heating.

Side Oven Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Food Business

Side Oven Ltd, based at Carr House Farm in East Yorkshire, produces a range of award winning hand-made, organic muesli, granola and flour from home grown cereals and a range of award-winning juices and cordials from home grown apples, blackcurrants and elderflower using the farm’s pure, chalk filtered spring water. Run by the fifth and sixth generations of the Sellers family, Side Oven also uses the bread-making skills of its founder
and daughters to run regular bread making courses that use the farm’s home milled flour to educate people about the lost art of traditional bread making.

North Yorkshire

Spirit of Yorkshire Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Start-Up

Spirit of Yorkshire is Yorkshire’s first whisky distillery. With its malting barley grown on co-founder Tom Mellor’s family farm in Hunmanby near the coast, the company is a true “field to bottle” distillery with traceability on every grain it mashes, mills and distils. The same family farm ingredients go into the Great Taste Award-winning beers at its sister company, the Wold Top Brewery. The distillery saves power and fuel by using heat exchangers to recycle the heat from the last distillation to the next.

The distillery also creates employment and drives tourism to an area of rural deprivation with its distillery tours; evening events programme and the Pot Still Coffee Shop that serves locally sourced, home-made refreshments. It employs 11 full time staff, buys local goods and services and aims to double our visitor numbers year on year with its tours, with new plans to include a bistro and visitor centre.

Beadlam Grange Farmshop – shortlisted for Outstanding Rural Diversification Project

Beadlam Grange Farmshop was created as a farm diversification business to help ensure the survival of a multi-generational 200-acre family farm in the heart of rural Ryedale. Set up to sell the farm’s own home bred beef and locally sourced products, the business has grown to employ more than 24 local members of staff and now includes an onsite gift shop, hairdressers and florist. The farm has 100 Limousin cows, provides a “bed & breakfast” service for pigs, and sells 100 per cent of its own beef through its butchery counter. Animal welfare is guaranteed with one cow per week personally selected and taken to the local abattoir, causing minimal stress for the animal.

Wensleydale Experience Ltd – shortlisted for Outstanding Rural Diversification Project

Starting off with just a farm shop and café, the Wensleydale Experience has evolved and now offers yurts, farm tours and locally-hosted events. Based in the heart of Wensleydale in the small village of Swinithwaite, the business is based in the area where the family has lived and farmed for seven generations. It employs local people, buys local goods and provides a venue for people living locally to come for their daily tea, coffee and chat.

Rural Insurance Group Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Professional Services Business

Based in Harrogate, Rural Insurance is a leading specialist insurance provider for rural and agricultural communities. Working with more than 600 trusted insurance brokers across the UK who help rural businesses get the right cover for their specific needs at the right price, the business has a progressive approach dedicated entirely to rural communities. With products designed to protect the assets and insure the liabilities of both agricultural and rural business, Rural Insurance Group has been partnering with brokers to provide this cover for more than 20 years and is continually evolving its product range to meet the changing needs of businesses that make up part of the rural economy. More than 26,000 customers nationwide choose Rural Insurance Group Ltd to protect their assets.

Living Potential Care Farming CIC – shortlisted for Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year

Based on a beautiful 500-acre working arm in Sicklinghall, near Wetherby, this Community Interest Company offers daytime activities, work experience and qualifications in a supportive environment, helping people improve their health and fitness and gain confidence. The farm provides teaching in how to care for small animals, including guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, and offers other activities such as allotment gardening, fishing and woodland walks, cooking, arts and crafts.

Selling direct at two local farmers’ markets and a local greengrocer, care farming is unique in that it combines a care for the land with a care for people and the other inhabitants. Places are currently on offer to adults with learning disabilities, but the farm would also like to reach out to people with mental health difficulties, ex-service personnel, asylum seekers, refugees, people on probation, those with addiction issues and more.

Beech Farm Cottages Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Tourism Business

Beech Farm is a recently revamped complex of eight luxury holiday cottages located on the edge of the North York Moors near Pickering. With an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, spa, extensive children's play area and mini petting farm, the on-site facilities are excellent, but the cottages are also conveniently located for many of North Yorkshire's biggest tourist attractions - York, Whitby, gorgeous sandy beaches, Castle Howard, Flamingo Land, forests and the North York Moors national park all within easy reach.

With a small collection of animals on site - sheep, goats and chickens - guests, especially the children, are encouraged to come and feed the animals twice daily, to check for eggs (taking some away with for breakfast) and to help with any other upkeep required. The business brings around 2,000 guests to the area annually, and strongly promotes other businesses to guests during their stay.

Camp Katur – shortlisted for Best Rural Tourism Business

Camp Katur is an off-grid glamping site set in a 250-acre country home estate in North Yorkshire, between Ripon and Bedale. With 17 unique abodes including safari tents, geodomes, hobbit pods, unidomes, bell tents, a tipi and Betty, a 1980s retro caravan, the site also has a wood burning eco spa and a Nordic BBQ cabin. Activities for guests include quad bike treks, segways treks, a football golf course and The Woodland Kingdom Adventure Park. With thousands of visitors attending the yearly Dubs Int Dales Festival, there is a clear boost for local trade with local jobs also provided and many suppliers hailing from the area. Camp Katur is also home to the UK’s only 360 degree panoramic clear unidome which is booked up a year in advance.

Cedar Retreats – shortlisted for Best Rural Tourism Business

Cedar Retreats is a six-acre park of luxury lodges with planning permission for 37 properties, nestled in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside near the quaint village of West Tanfield. Owners James and Sarah Gawthorpe rent the lodges throughout the year to guests, while also offering them to investors to purchase. The popularity of the location has shown consistent growth with guests and second home owners alike. As well as enjoying the tranquillity that the park offers, visitors can sample local cuisine and drinks from the pubs and cafes nearby, as well as visiting historical sites such as Fountains Abbey and Newby Hall. The village pubs have reported an increase in customers following the build of Cedar Retreats, and this also extends to the village shop who to meet with demand from those on holiday at the luxury retreat, have now started stocking alcoholic beverages for visitors to enjoy in their lodges.

Yorkshire Trike Tours
Yorkshire Trike Tours
MBS Limited, trading as Yorkshire Trike Tours – shortlisted for Best Rural Recreational or Outdoor Pursuits Business

Yorkshire Trike Tours offers twenty different exciting tours on board its motorised Boom trike - think Billy Connolly - around the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park. Each tour is chauffeur driven and takes two people. The company provides all the necessary equipment and clothing to keep guests warm and dry and drivers conversationally narrate interesting facts, stories and information through an on board intercom, including stops for refreshments at local top quality inns, cafes, hotels and tea rooms combined with visits to the area’s many attractions. With a second trike and driver added in 2016, the business is now planning a third trike in 2019 with the aim of expanding its tour area into the North York Moors as well as the Yorkshire Dales, collaborating with small rural businesses in that area too.

Lowe Maintenance – shortlisted for Best Rural Education or Training Business
Based in Settle, Lowe Maintenance and associates offers more than 55 different vocational courses from in-house training to City and Guilds accredited qualifications. Specialisms are chainsaw, forestry, tree climbing and rigging; pesticides use; pest control; land-based machinery; agricultural skills; first aid; dry stone walling; woodland management; conservation and bush craft skills. Lowe Maintenance started life in 2004 when owner Phill Lowe, having worked his entire career in the armed forces and having to leave due to injury, discovered he was most happy in the trees and being his own boss. Today, courses are available seven days a week, offering flexibility for those in rural locations.

Mini Explorers Nursery – shortlisted for Best Rural Education or Training Business

Run by Steph Pybus, Mini Explorers is set on the 260-acre family-run farm near Bedale and is believed to be Britain’s only farm school nursery. It offers early years childcare at the heart of a fully-working arable farm, with children given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the farming landscape and its inhabitants every day. Steph – a successful textile designer and mother-of-six – wanted a nursery for her own children that would offer the same happy, carefree, healthy, outdoor lifestyle they led at home. She also believed passionately in the importance of exposing youngsters to the great outdoors and in educating them from their very earliest days about the vital role that farming plays in maintaining and sustaining our natural environment.

Unable to find a nearby nursery that would offer the unfettered access to the great outdoors and exposure to the farming world that Steph craved for her own brood, she sold her textiles business and took over the tenancy on two office units at Crabtree Hall - itself a former Victorian model farm - to create a unique farming-focussed childcare nursery. Since starting, the business has grown from just five children and seven staff in 2012, to more than 115 children and 22 staff in 2017.

Vicky Anderson Training – shortlisted for Best Rural Professional Services Business and Best Rural Education or Training Business

Vicky Anderson Training is based near Northallerton and provides a complete training service, offering practical, technical and management training for all industries, but specialises in rural and farming training, throughout the north of England. Located on a working farm, the firm offers City & Guilds and Lantra qualifications so that rural businesses can stay up to date with their training. The rurally based staff work around the needs of farming clients so as to accommodate the agricultural calendar, for example, during lambing or harvest time.

Farmison Ltd – shortlisted for Best Rural Food Business

Farmison Ltd is an award-winning modern butcher based in Ripon that delivers the finest hand-cut heritage breed meat to home-cooks and professional chefs across the UK. With a focus on one simple mission, to encourage everyone to #EatBetterMeat, the business is proud to showcase heritage breeds, traditional farming methods, grass fed British meat which is fully traceable back to the farm & animal. Voted the Online Butcher of the Year for the last two years, Farmison continues to grow rapidly as more customers seek out high quality meat. The founding principle is that the more the public demands heritage breeds, the more farmers will rear them. With the widest range of cuts in the country, Farmison delivers meat fresh to the home cook’s door.

Ampleforth Abbey Drinks – shortlisted for Best Rural Drink Business

Sitting on the foothills of the North Yorkshire Moors, Ampleforth Abbey Orchards boasts more than 50 different varieties of heritage apples, populating over 2,000 trees which span over seven acres. Its award-winning artisan range of ciders and apple products are produced onsite in a cider mill. Beer is produced within the walls of Little Valley Brewery, down Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Boasting three Great Taste Awards in 2016 by the Guild of Fine Foods, Ampleforth Abbey Drinks were also voted Britain's Favourite Drinks Producer 2015 by the readers of Landlove Magazine and in 2017 were delighted to welcome Tony Robinson to Ampleforth Abbey Orchard as part of Channel 5's Coast to Coast series.

Using a well-kept recipe that was used by the Benedictine monks of years gone by, Ampleforth Abbey Beer is the only traditionally brewed Abbey Dubbel produced in the United Kingdom. For more than 200 years the Benedictine monks of Ampleforth Abbey have been growing apples in the Abbey Orchards.

Breckenholme Trading Company – shortlisted for Best Rural Manufacturing Business

Breckenholme Trading Company are producers of the Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil and Charlie & Ivy’s brands with the business named after Breckenholme, the family farm near Malton where it all started. Established in 2008, Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil produces a range of oils, dressings and mayonnaise made from seed that is grown, cold pressed, bottled and labelled on the family farm. That was followed in 2014 by Charlie & Ivy’s, a lifestyle brand with a strong British message representing great, uncompromising flavour, producing a range of dippers, dressings and mayonnaise. Breckenholme is the family farm of Adam Palmer who took over when he was just 19. Driven by a passion to create a farming future for his young children, the company was born by a decision to add value to the rapeseed oil that was being produced on the farm, where the chalky soil gives it a distinctive, yet gentle, nutty taste that is a great base to carry other flavours.

Charlotte Wells-Thompson, shortlisted for Rural Employee of the Year for her work at Bert’s Barrow

Located in a small village in Hillam, Bert’s Barrow started life at the farm gate where Bert used to grow potatoes, swapping them for local produce in aid of the village defibrillator fund. After he died, Bert’s Barrow was taken on by his son Jason with his wife Charlotte who turned it into a farm shop. Employee Charlotte Wells-Thompson was nominated for Rural Employee of the Year as the business says she is “an invaluable asset to the Bert's Barrow team” who can “literally turn her hand to anything”. When the shop won Deliciously Yorkshire Independent Retailer in 2016, Charlotte was in the shop when the mystery
shopper came in and helped the business score 100 per cent across the board. In 2017, she also went to the Houses of Parliament to talk to lords, ladies and the DEFRA minister about the importance of local produce and at The Great Yorkshire show in the Meet the Farmer section she again spoke to the public about the importance of buying local.

About the Rural Business Awards

The RBAs were founded by Leicestershire businesswomen Jemma Clifford and Anna Price and now attract hundreds of entries from businesses based all over rural Britain. The aim of the awards is to highlight the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy – a segment which employs in excess of 3.4million people in more than 750,000 businesses in England alone.

The awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 13 categories - ranging from Best Rural Start-up and Outstanding Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Rural Education or Training Business - decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations. Sponsors include Idealogy and Fisher German, which is backing the diversification category. The success of the awards is such that they are this year being rolled out regionally for the first time.

Co-founder Anna Price said: “Congratulations to all the shortlisted business from North Yorkshire which have made it this far in our awards. We are so proud to be holding the RBAs for the fourth year as they continue to go from strength to strength.”

The awards’ associate partners include the Institute for Family Business; Farm Business Innovation; Harper Adams; the CLA; WiRE and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Regional finals are being held in the autumn of 2018, with the winners going on to a grand final on February 28, 2019.