RBA Best Rural Start Up

The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award

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As climate change becomes an ever-pressing problem, we want to recognise those businesses who are tackling environmental issues within their activities or organisation. Entrants must display a strong sense of environmental or social responsibility. It is essential that their actions are sustainable – having a long term impact rather than a short term one. Points will be awarded to businesses who have taken an innovative approach to minimising their environmental impact. The winning business will demonstrate that they have taken steps toward at least one of the following:

• Reducing their carbon footprint.

• Reducing waste.

• Reducing food miles.

• Improving management of natural capital – including resources such as landscape, soil, water, air quality and biodiversity.

• Educating or influencing the behaviour of members of the public on environmental topics.

Category Sponsors:

The Ian and Clare Mattioli Charitable Trust was established by the Mattioli family in 2016. Primarily to help enhance the lives and opportunities of all people and in particular those from communities and socio-economic groups who are often sidelined and struggle to access opportunities for advancement, personal growth and to fully participate in society. Our support is designed to help individuals and groups better their outcomes.

At the Trust we support groups or individuals by grant giving for activities relating to the improvement of social welfare through the provision of health, recreational and leisure activities, education, research, employment and establishing connections.

Through our charitable activities we hope to provide opportunities for those in need – be that because of youth, age, infirmity, disability, poverty or economic circumstance – to fully participate in a caring and compassionate society. Helping in turn to develop people who see the value in community and diversity, and act with maturity, responsibility, independence and compassion.
Ian Mattioli MBE

The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award Winners

The Oak Barn, Frame Farm
The Oak Barn, Frame Farm


The Oak Barn is a dry hire private events venue offering exclusive hire of newly renovated farm buildings for weddings, parties, corporate and business events, presentations and retreats. Dating from 1607, the listed buildings have been beautifully restored to create two function spaces complimented by five cottages. The venue opened in 2019 and is fully licenced for events and marriage ceremonies, seating 134 guests for dinner in ‘The Oak Barn’ or 50 guests in ‘The Byre’. The cottages are sumptuously furnished and available for holiday bookings also. This family run business provides exemplary personal service in a stunning rural setting.

Barnston Estate
Barnston Estate


Barnston Estate is a private diversified estate in rural Cheshire comprising 1,800 acres. Its interests extend across three dairy farms and one arable farm, a business park, mixed commercial properties and traditional rural cottages for let, as well as forestry, renewable energy, and soon a 5-acre natural burial ground and a rural holiday let. While the Estate dates back nearly 1,000 years and carries a strong heritage, Ed and his wife Kate are continually focussed on moving the Estate forward and on embodying the “total contribution of land stewardship” to ensure it thrives both now and into the future.

The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award Finalists



Founded in late 2017 by husband and wife team Ross Whelan and Leigh Russell, Foxtail is a craft Gin distillery focused on producing authentic small batch spirits using local in season botanicals and providing immersive customer experiences with the aim of educating the general public on the art of distilling. Drawing inspiration from the beautiful Wye Valley they are uncompromising in their approach to quality and innovation and it’s this passion which has helped drive their ambitious project forward from its conception to become an award-winning Gin distillery.

Love HeartWood
Love HeartWood


Love HeartWood is run by woodturner and mum of three, Liz Pearson. Working from her garden workshop in Burghfield Common, she handmakes wooden toys, jewellery and homeware for eco conscious families. By combining her craft skills, product design degree knowledge and parental experience she creates sustainable, evergreen products. Liz believes people benefit physically and mentally from contact with nature and natural materials. Her mission is to create well designed, wooden products made in harmony with nature which connect people to the natural world, thereby enriching our daily lives.

Rull Orchard Ltd
Rull Orchard Ltd


Having spent his whole working life in demolition, Mike Shorland wanted to create, not destroy; grow, not tear down. So he spent his life savings on a field in Devon, where he has planted a new 300+ tree orchard. The orchard contains a mix of species, from apples to white mulberries, all traditionally spaced and grown with no chemicals or pesticides. Rull Orchard has grown from a seed in his mind to a state of the art cider and juice facility, bringing a modern approach to cider-making coupled with the sustainability, biodiversity and beauty of a traditional orchard.

Wallops Wood Cottages
Wallops Wood Cottages


Designed specifically for multi-generational groups, dog owners and guests with accessibility needs, Wallops Wood Cottages offer multi-award-winning luxury self-catering in eight holiday cottages. Rated according to mobility, hearing & visual requirements by VisitEngland’s National Accessibility Scheme, four cottages have accessible wetrooms, height-adjustable basins and kitchen facilities to welcome accessible guests. The indoor heated swimming pool has two different accessible hoists and the unchlorinated water is UV filtered – more comfortable for eyes, better for skin and environmentally friendly. As an accommodation provider in a National Park, commitment to sustainability is paramount without compromising on the quality of accommodation and service.

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