BUCKLEBURY Farm Park has received a prestigious national award in the Farm Business Food and Farming Industry Awards for 2016.
It was nominated in the rural enterprise category and owners Rupert and Elizabeth Hartley Russell were presented with the award on behalf of their team at a ceremony attended by representatives from across the farming industry, in the House of Commons.
Each year the park welcomes around 4,000 school pupils.
Presenting the award, broadcaster and former MP Gyles Brandreth said: “Our winner is a good example of a small farm of 78 acres which started life as a pick-your-own strawberry farm.
“Over time, the farm park has created employment for 11 full-time, six part-time and 30 seasonal workers.
“They keep over 300 livestock, including deer, help educate visitors and have built a farm shop, play and visitor centre and tripled turnover since the 2008 crash.
“In the process, they have demonstrated that a small farm can diversify into a good business.”
Mr Hartley Russell said: “We’re very proud to have received this award, which is not just for us, but our staff who work so hard to give our visitors a great day out in the Berkshire countryside.
“As a food and farming award, it is also recognition to the wider team of suppliers and supporters in the local community who help make it all possible.
“This means everyone from our parish and district council to our vets, Vicars Game who supply meat for our café and shop, Fisher of Newbury who supply the fresh veg, White Horse Contractors who worked on land drainage at the start of this very wet year and all our local farming friends, from our farrier to the local sheep farmers who send us their orphan lambs and breeders of rare breed Dexter cattle and Berkshire pigs from whom we buy our livestock – all in all a huge team effort.
“We are always looking to improve what we do and offer new attractions such as bushcraft, camping and this summer a maize maze with more planned for next year.”