Enterprising Farm Business Awards
Two thriving businesses based on farms in Mid Cornwall scooped
top accolades at the Rural Progress Cornwall Farm Diversification
Awards 2004 held at the CUC Building, Duchy College last night
(9 December 2004).
NFU director Anthony Gibson presented £1,000 worth
of prizes to two category winners - Cornish Orchards from Westnorth
Manor Farm, Duloe and Tredethick Farm Cottages at Lostwithiel -
from ten short-listed finalists.
Cornish Orchard's proprietor Andy Atkinson picked up the
winning prize for a diversification project trading less than
five years. His business was developed from planting orchards
on the farm in 1999; a cider and apple juice processing business
has grown quickly supplying retail outlets, restaurants and
hotels throughout Cornwall.
Andy's time is now devoted primarily to the Cornish Orchards
part of the business. The farm's dairy herd was dispersed
in 2002 and has been replaced with sheep and a suckler herd.
Buildings have been converted to production, storage office
space and an onsite shop that is extremely busy during the
tourism season and is a showcase for trade customers throughout
Jeremy Ward, director of business consultancy WIN Business
Services, who managed the competition on behalf of Rural Progress
commented: "The judges were impressed by the tremendous
progress Cornish Orchards had made in a relatively short trading
time and the fact that Andy is clearly building up a highly
capable team of staff around him to support the next stage
of business activities."
On winning the award Andy Atkinson said: "Our staff's
enthusiasm, involvement and ideas are integral to the success
of Cornish Orchards. We all take great pleasure in showing
that high quality products can be sourced from a small producer
and are delighted when customers are pleased with what we
deliver. When I saw the range of the activities of the other
finalists, I felt privileged to be among them. Winning this
award will bring pleasure to everyone involved with our business."
Tredethick Farm Cottages owned and managed by two generations
of the Reed family won the award for farm diversification
business over five years old. Established for over ten years
the business consists of 9 letting cottages and extensive
leisure facilities. The judges were particularly impressed
with the interaction of visitors with farming activities as
part of their holiday experience and their effective marketing
to a very defined target audience of families with pre-school
Set feed times for animals, farm pets, children's pony rides
and egg collecting are all part of the activities visitors
are welcomed to participate in as part of their farm stay
The judges were most impressed with the business' clear development
strategy and the way they are offering a 'holiday experience'
rather than just accommodation.
The Rural Progress Cornwall Farm Diversification Awards 2004
were launched back in May and were open to any farm diversification
scheme operating in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly. Rural
Progress, is an industry led partnership funded by Defra and
the EAGGF to promote skills for the development of new ideas
in farming and land based businesses. Rural Progress Scheme
Manager Paul Charlton commented: "We have been delighted
with the response the awards have generated, it has highlighted
how many creative and thriving enterprises there are operating
off farms across Cornwall. The Rural Progress project is about
the development of new ideas and income in agriculture and
other land-based businesses and farm diversification is very
important in achieving that."
Guest speaker Henry Graham, head of rural business at Clydesdale
Bank who co-sponsored the award said: "In common with
the rest of UK agriculture, Cornwall's farming businesses
have been required to work through some tough and challenging
issues in recent years. What these award winners prove, however,
is that the foundations of the Cornwall's rural community
is still sound and secure. They also show that there are always
new opportunities to be explored and that bottom line success
is still possible."
Speaking at the event NFU director Anthony Gibson said: "Diversification
is not the answer to farming's problems - but it can be a
solution to many farmers' problems. Tonight's finalists have
demonstrated remarkable enterprise and innovation and in the
future we will need to ensure that farmers apply the same
sort of approach to their core farming activities."
For further information please contact press officer Carolyn
Daw on 01822 833488 or Paul Charlton at Rural Progress on
Other finalists included:
Dupath Meat Direct, Dupath Wells,
Peter and Jenny Coombe and their son Adrian farm 330 acres
near Callington. Originally they started selling potatoes
from a road side stall in a field gateway. They then started
to sell meat direct and they became aware of a need for other
farmers to learn about cutting and processing meat. They have
converted the ground floor of a barn into a cutting room,
cold store and facilities in order to hold training courses
for farmers. The upper room has been converted into a commercial
kitchen and meeting / banquet room for up to 40 people.
Travelling Minstrels Music Centre,
Canworthy Water, Launceston
The Jones family from Canworthy Water are steeped in music
and the teaching of music. Following the foot and mouth which
decimated their dairy herd the family set up a musical holiday
centre by converting an old shippen into a musical concert
hall, individual teaching rooms and catering facilities.
Raymond and Veronica Jones are both experienced music teachers
and performers in the area. Both studied at the Royal Academy
of Music. Their daughter Penny Barclay and her husband Andrew
are similarly accomplished musicians and teachers.
Travelling Minstrels organise week long activities for choral
singers, string and piano players, in addition to exam preparation
Fentrigan Manor Farm Cottages,
Richard and Gill Grigg run 6 self catering cottages on their
220 acre mixed farm.
The latest cottages were converted in 2004, in addition to
the installation of an all weather tennis court.
The farm has a farm trail and coarse fishing lake. Richard
spends a great deal of time with farm visitors introducing
them to farming activities. The customer feedback provided
indicates the value that visitors attach to this aspect of
Future plans for the business include the conversion of two
further cottages and the introduction of facilities, including
a swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. Consideration is currently
being given to developing treatment rooms for Gill's growing
reflexology practice both for local clients and to extend
out of season tourism activity.
Little Callestock Farm Cottages,
Nick and Liz Down came to Callestock Farm in 1995 to establish
a dairy farm. With two existing let properties they converted
the courtyard barns in October 1998, for letting specifically
The farm is 140 acres and is farmed organically. It is stocked
with 60 Jersey cows and their followers. Visitors are encouraged
to participate in farm activities as far as is permissible.
Beacon Cottage Farm and Equipack
Haylage, St Agnes
Owned and managed by John and Jane Sawle, together with their
son Oliver. Jane manages and runs the holiday enterprises
and Oliver manages the farm and is developing a haylage business.
There is a well established touring caravan and camping park
carefully laid out in small paddocks, some of which have stunning
views over the coast. In addition, customers are offered storage
for their caravans over winter. In 2000 and 2003 two cottages
were built for self-catering accommodation, one a barn conversion
and one a new build.
Bre-Pen B & B and Farm Shop,
Rod and Jill Brake came to Bre-Pen Farm in 1996. The farm
is 172 acres, stocked with 300 ewes and 60 acres of spring
barley, hay and straw is used for the livery yard. In the
spring of 1997 they converted the loft into two en-suite rooms
and added a family suite downstairs and opened for B &
Early in 1999, the Brakes converted some redundant buildings
into 5 stables, constructed a sand school and cross-country
course for DIY livery and a riding club.
Then In 2002 they converted a redundant building into a farm
shop. This has doubled its turnover in the first year.
As the business has grown rapidly, Jill found herself doing
a lot of home baking for the farm shop in her own kitchen.
So in the spring of 2004 a commercial bakery/kitchen was built
into the farm shop. This has enabled Jill to extend her home
baked product range which is a highlight of the shop.
Mark Lytham established greenleisure.co.uk in 2001. The business
provides countryside based and environmentally friendly leisure
activities that can be enjoyed by virtually any age group
and ability, including the disabled. The business started
with laser clay pigeon shooting for both the tourist season
and off peak periods. It has now extended to include fly fishing,
falconry, archery, carriage driving, laser combat, simulated
climbing, survival skills, leadership courses and themed indoor
The leisure activities take place either at Woodland Valley
Farm near Wadebridge or at countryside venues around Cornwall.
Barwick Farm Dairy Products,
Nick and Barbara Michell make butter. This started out as
a very small cottage industry business until three years ago
when they built a dairy processing unit that has been continually
added to with equipment. They now produce organic bottled
milk, butter and cream from their Jersey cow herd.
The products are sold through farm shops, high street shops
and restaurants from Penzance to Bude. In addition, they sell
through farmers markets.
For further information please contact Jeremy Ward on 01288
NFU Farmer & Grower (SW)
Cornish & Devon Post
The West Briton
Western Morning News' Peter Hall attended.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439
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