From the poetically rugged landscapes of the Peak District, to mysterious forests steeped in legend, the landscapes of the Midlands are some of the country’s most varied, and beautiful. Famous for Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Stilton Cheese, and Staffordshire Oatcakes, the region’s food businesses often encapsulate the very best of England’s culinary tradition. A region shaped by the titans of the industrial era, we hope that history will repeat itself in the success of our Midlands-based businesses.
The Midlands region covers rural businesses in Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Warwickshire.
Key Dates for the Midlands:
31st May 2018 – Entries Close
w/c 11th June 2018 – Judges’ Shortlisting
w/c 18th June 2018 – Midlands Shortlist Announced
19th July 2018 – Final Judging Day
11th October 2018 – Midlands Region Awards Ceremony
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham
Late February 2019 – National Final Awards Ceremony
Brand Ambassadors for the Midlands
Our Regional Brand Ambassadors work with us to understand and communicate with the rural businesses operating within their region, helping us to achieve our vision of bringing together businesses in each region to celebrate success and build valuable relationships amongst rural business owners.
Rural Roots PR
Megan Allen runs Rural Roots PR & Journalism from home in Oakham, Rutland, where she also writes and edits The Rural Travel Guide. She’s a born and raised Raddle[wo]man and is very proud to come from England’s smallest mainland county.
Having said that, she spent most of her teens and early 20s plotting her escape, working her way up the journalism ladder at local newspapers and writing a regular farming column, Rural Rutland.
Little did she know, hot-footing it to London to complete her journalism training, failing miserably to get a job in the post-recession capital and landing a role as soon as she moved home proved to be the best “worst time” of her life. It wasn’t until she was away from the countryside that she realised she missed it; the friendly people, the fresh air and above all, better career prospects. On return from London she qualified as a senior journalist and moved into marketing and PR, with experience in travel, tourism, visitor experience, food and farming.
Rural Roots was founded in 2016 with a passion for and specialism in rural tourism and visitor experience and Megan has since worked across the sector – from castles to campsites and farm to fork. Her bespoke hands-on campaigns are centred around growing a business’s reputation as an expert in their field, to capture and entice their target audience across multiple platforms and ensure visitor experience is at the heart of everything they do. She wants visitors to the Great British countryside to be inspired and take great memories, stories and a slice (or bottle) home with them through engaging PR and creative journalism.
Megan is an ambassador for supporting small rural businesses and her aim is to provide SMEs with the skills they need to tell their stories, compete with changing trends and engage with tech-savvy audiences and can consult with you to steer you in the right direction when it comes to telling their story.
Volunteering is a big part of her life-from skill sharing with local charities to working on the information desk at Birdfair. She is also a WiRE network leader, ensuring rural businesswomen achieve great things and encourage each other and has recently launched a Rutland netwalking group.
Not surprisingly, she travels a lot in her spare time and is happiest when exploring Britain’s heritage and countryside by car or on foot over long weekends and holidays and collecting regional bottled beers, which is why I started The Rural Travel Guide – she wants to help rural tourism businesses from across the country to tell their story, from the roots up.
David & Felicity Brown
Hoe Grange Holidays
Hoe Grange Holidays was developed in 2006 as a diversification project to provide a much needed second income alongside our 250 acre upland farm, whilst enabling holiday guests to access and share the beautiful Peak District countryside.
We love the landscape in which we live, work and play and are delighted to welcome everyone to stay in our cosy log cabins and gorgeous glamping pods; families, groups of friends, less able guests, dogs and even horses.
We believe small measures can make a big difference and have incorporated a wide range of renewable energy technology, minimising our impact on our environment. A warm welcome awaits including little extras; from delicious home baked bread, and our own free-range eggs, to gorgeous eco-friendly toiletries and home-grown flowers.
The success of the first accessible log cabin demonstrated the need for high quality accessible accommodation which was homely rather than clinical in design. Accessibility was initially a financial business decision, but inspired by meeting so many guests with disabilities and their amazing stories we have become accessible holiday specialists.
With access at heart, when we expanded with two further log cabins the level of accessibility was increased. As the business developed we added to the wide range of extra equipment available by listening to guests and what they need to fully enjoy a relaxing and stress-free holiday. Our passion for accessibility sets us apart from other rural tourism accommodation providers and ensures our occupancy levels remain well above average.
As part of our mission to remove barriers and promote inclusivity we are proud to be the first and only UK accommodation provider to offer our own Boma 7 off-road wheelchair for hire to guests and local people. This all-terrain buggy attracts guests with disabilities as it enables them to explore the countryside alongside family and friends – the smile on people’s faces says it all!
Horse riding is another passion of Felicity’s and our location right beside the National bridleway makes us very popular with guests bringing their own horses on holiday.
The business is continually evolving with emphasis on both accessibility and sustainability; making the most of our rural environment to create lasting memories for guests on holiday. After a long day in the countryside guests love kicking off their muddy boots and retreating to the comfort of their cosy log cabin or glamping pod.
In 2016 we added 2 glamping pods with ensuite facilities and eco infra-red heating; a unique tranquil space to unwind, connect with nature and watch the wildlife. With our dark skies Hoe Grange is a peaceful haven where guests can also unwind in the log-fired hot tub under the stars.
New for 2018 is a secure cycle shelter so guests can bring their own bicycles to explore the many off-road trails. There will also be a new small farmyard shop selling local produce and crafts to support our #LoveLocal economy.
Little did we realise when we set out on our journey as traditional farmers with no experience in tourism, that our holidays would become the main enterprise, and we would become a highly respected, award winning business within the self-catering sector!
Claire Galer is the founder, Managing Director and designer of Derriere Equestrian®. The Equestrian Sports Underwear phenomena that has changed the equestrian apparel market globally for riders and sporting athletes. Her knowledge, coupled with her strong drive, led to the launch of this new, innovative and essential product range for riders. The company founded in 2013 opened its doors to International Trade in 2014 and has not looked back since.
Derriere Equestrian trades with 35 countries internationally and this number just keeps growing. The products are getting the most outstanding feedback and the companies lead Ambassador is Olympic Gold Medal Winning International Dressage Rider Carl Hester MBE.
Derriere Equestrian launched with an entry to the equestrian marketplace and winning the silver innovation award at the international equestrian trade exhibition SPOGA Horse in Cologne Germany. Since then the company has acquired many accolades, building the reputation of a quality, stylish award winning brand.
Rural Business Awards Winner 2017
Best Clothing Business 2017
Business Excellence Awards Winner 2017
Fedex Small Business of the Year Winner 2016
SPOGA Horse Silver Innovation Award 2014
Claire has 20+ years of experience working with both horses and riders. She began her career as a nurse before then going on to study for a degree in equine science, majoring in equine physiology, sports science and nutrition graduating with Honours.
This led Claire into a career with Dodson & Horrell, specialising in equine nutrition, later working as a consultant to pharmaceutical companies and feed manufacturers.
In 2004 Claire studied for further diplomas in holistic massage, sports massage and undertook a diploma with Mary Bromiley in equine sports massage. Since qualification in both equine and human sports therapy, Claire has followed a fascinating career treating 25 to 35 horses a week, undertaking horse and rider assessments and advising many of our top athletes in all disciplines throughout the UK and Europe.
She has lectured for universities, Mary Bromiley course students, Para-Professionals CPD (Continued Professional Development) Events and veterinary surgeons all over the UK. Visit www.eqwisemassage.co.uk to find out more about Claire’s equine massage.
Claire lives with her husband Tim and their four children at their own equine veterinary and rehabilitation clinic in the Cotswolds, England. Formerly eventing and showjumping at affiliated level, Claire now spends her leisure time training and competing in affiliated dressage.
Claire manages the Equine Rehabilitation Centre at Peasebrook Equine Clinic and is an active member of the governing bodies in the Equine Para-Professional world. She has been a member of the ESMA (Equine Sports Massage Association) Committee since 2007 and took on the role of Chairman of ESMA from September 2012 to May 2014. Claire is also joint Chairman of MAST (Massage & Soft Tissue Therapists) a sub group of the AHPC (Animal Healthcare Practitioners Council) formed to work with LANTRA & BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Association) on the review of the regulation and recognition of Equine Para-Professionals project.