Countryside Alliance Awards



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The West Country's champions for 2012

The lucky winners will go on to represent the region at the UK & Ireland finals at Parliament in Westminster on 13th March. Regional Regional Director Alison Hawes, who chairs the Judging Panel, introduces the winners:


Local Food Category
Pipers Farm, Cullompton, Devon, 01392 881380

“The energy and passion of the Greig family leave you feeling very excited about the future of food and farming – anything is possible here. For 25 years Pipers Farm has been championing not only local food heritage, producing meat that is sensational to eat, but also supporting local family farms that have been the foundations of our rural communities and landscapes for generations. This has resulted in 25 small, family run farms, rearing animals in the same way that their parents and grand-parents would have before them, ensuring that there is a 100% guarantee for Pipers Farm produce. The passion of this family is inspiring. Peter Greig taught himself to butcher and experimented over many years with different cuts until he was satisfied. The family still experiment with different recipes and cuts and the judges were invited to stand around the frying pan at the farm with them to test the produce. It is an inclusive and supportive business that reaches out to and supports myriad local suppliers. Not only is the commitment to animal welfare, great taste and the local community paramount, there is also an encouraging glimpse into the future, with young Will bursting with ideas for the business. Pipers is an exceptional blend of heritage, tradition and dynamic enterprise.”
Highly Commended: Parsonage Farm, Upton, Andover, Hampshire, 01264 736208


Village Shop/ Post Office Category
Mells Village Shop Ltd, Woodlands End, Mells, Frome, Somerset, 01373 812251

“Mells Village Shop has shown what true community spirit is. Since 2008 a trusty band of volunteers has worked together to save their village shop. Raising over £20,000 in four months is testament to the strength of feeling in this rural community. The dedication of the newly formed Mells Village Shop Ltd committee (all volunteers) was immense and has seen not only the village shop saved, but an extension built to house a new café. The Mells Village Shop, Post Office and Café is run by 3 paid local staff and over 50 volunteers working in the shop, baking cakes, cooking, serving in the café, cleaning, driving, accounting, supplying local produce and helping with the constant fund raising activities. They have also begun a pop-up post offices service two mornings a week in Nunney Village Hall. The Café runs hugely popular weekly pensioner lunches, bring and borrow book facility, and is used in the evenings for other local community committee meetings including the Mells Daffodil Day Festival. The shop has become the heart-beat of the village and a popular meeting place for both the surrounding community and rambling /cycling clubs in the South West. Mells Village Shop would not exist without the community, indeed, for a many it IS the community.”
Highly Commended: in an unprecedented move we have commended all other shops in this category. Each shop is the heart of its community and deserves special recognition
• Dalwood Community Shop & Post Office, The Knapp, Dalwood, Axminster, Devon
• Sherston Post Office and shop, The Old School, High Street, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 0LH 01666 840456
• Clatfords Village Stores, Village Street, Goodworth Clatford, Andover, Hampshire 01264 337497
• Holne Community Shop and Tea Room, Holne, Newton Abbot, Devon, 01364 631 188


Butcher Category
Evans the Butchers, Langport, Somerset, 01458 250778

“Evans the Butchers has taken a traditional butchers shop and made it a one stop shop, selling not only the finest local meat products, but with an extensive deli counter, a selection of pre-cooked dishes for parties and an alcohol licence enabling them to sell locally- made wines and ciders, ensures they meet the needs of all their customers. Based in Langport, Evans the Butchers began trading in 2008 when Gareth Evans bought an existing butchers shop. In 2009 Gareth was joined by Pedro Aparicio and his wife Clare. As their reputation grew, so did the call for their catering skills and there are not many parties, weddings and shows in Somerset that have not involved their hog roasts, BBQ and steak nights. In fact Clare is frequently asked to provide her own twist on Pork Pie wedding cakes or to assist caterers and restaurants with their functions. Although the vast majority of produce is locally sourced, Pedro's Spanish heritage means that he brought to Somerset a little of his Valencian flavours. You can now find Spanish spices, oils, olives, chorizo, Jamon and Paella kits. Continuing the tradition of unique butcher banter, you will find that there is not much they don't know about how you like your steak or what sausages you have at breakfast. It is this insight and knowledge that keep their customers coming back time and time again.
Highly Commended:
• Dorset Charcuterie Company, Lytchett Matravers, Dorset, 01202 625 688
• Westlands Butchers, Pricketts Hill, Southampton, Hampshire, 01329 833832


Enterprise Category
Lains Shooting School, Quarley, Andover, Hampshire, 01264 889467

“The Countryside Alliance shares Howard Kirby’s goal of encouraging as many newcomers to the sport of shooting as possible. Howard Kirby and his wife developed the school from their pig farm having sadly realised that pig farming is in decline. Lains Shooting School is everything a shooting school and gundog training facility should be – it invites in non-shooters, corporate events alongside serious sport shooters and people wanting to brush up before a driven shoot or train their gundog. There is a Young Guns Academy and Ladies Days offer tailored introduction, ensuring that safety, etiquette and shooting skills are thoroughly learned in a safe and educational atmosphere. Howard also does a “Gundogs to Schools” initiative to increase awareness and interest in working animals amongst schoolchildren. We are proud to honour Lains because it is a complete enterprise, encouraging and supporting people at all ends of the shooting spectrum and fostering a love of the countryside. Howard’s business is also a huge part of the local economy and he is to be congratulated for creating and sustaining this thriving business in the current economic climate.”


Start-Up Category
The Culbone, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 8JW 01643 862 259

“The Culbone has bucked the trend in these difficult economic times and has quickly become the focal point for the local community and tourists alike. The Culbone was started 16 months ago to celebrate the very best of Exmoor. The project to transform The Culbone into a Restaurant with Rooms, Cookery School and communal garden that celebrates Exmoor began. Committed to sourcing all of their produce locally and focussed on the importance of supporting and partnering with local suppliers has ensured The Culbone is the heart of this community, so much so when when the Exmoor Food Festival was cancelled last year they stepped in and held a mini festival at The Culbone. They have regular events with local pie, curry and steak nights and stepped in when the local cinema was under threat with supper and cinema nights, which has helped save Lynton cinema. Their focus is to have good local trade, backed up by tourists. The partners behind this enterprise are driven by celebrating and sharing the best local produce of Exmoor. Whether they are campaigning to save the local bus route or organsing one of their popular food safaris their boundless energy never fades.”
Highly Commended:
Big Red Cow, Woodcocks Ley Farm, Porlock, Minehead , Somerset, 01643 862502
Isle of Wight Biltong, Newnham Lane, Ryde, Isle of Wight 07715 181491