The winners of this year’s best farm and rural attractions were announced at the National Farm Attractions Network (NFAN) annual conference and awards ceremony at the International Centre in Telford on 1st February. NFAN is the trade association for the farm attractions sector with over 250 members.
Colin Evans, NFAN chairman said, “Over 20 million visits a year are made to UK farm parks, enabling families and school groups to discover more about farming and food, all while having fun. The annual awards celebrate the best farm park cafes and restaurants, the innovators, the customer service champions and the outstanding educators. The judges have found this year’s awards to be the most hotly contested yet. It is great achievement to be a finalist, the winners and highly commended should feel justly proud in their success.”
During the three-day annual conference attended by over 200 farm park owners and operators, delegates visited two Shropshire Farm Parks; The Hoo Farm and Park Hall The Countryside Experience. The group also visited the British Ironworks Centre & Shropshire Sculpture Park. Delegates heard from a range of speakers and spent time visiting the many suppliers exhibiting at the trade show.
The NFAN annual awards, the Farm Attraction ‘Oscars’, were held at a glittering dinner hosted by BBC Radio Shropshire presenter Carl Jones. The Winner of the Large Farm Attraction of the Year (over 75,000 visitors pa) was Willows Activity Farm near St Albans, Hertfordshire. The winner of the small Farm Attraction of the Year (under 75,000 visitors pa) went to Tapnell Farm Park on the Isle of Wight.
Other winners on the night were Farmer Copleys near Pontefract, West Yorkshire who won the Best Food & Beverage award and Park Hall The Countryside Experience, Shropshire who won Best in Education. Cannon Hall Farm near Barnsley, South Yorkshire won Best Digital Presence for the second year running and Streamvale Open Farm near Belfast won the Innovation Award for their ‘take a break from revision’ student nights, which have seen a hard to reach age group engage with farming. The Day Maker award for customer service excellence went to Joe Huntly at Puxton Park in Somerset. The Best trade supplier award was won by Timberplay.
Large Farm Attraction Winner Willows Activity Farm (l-r Anita Waddell from award sponsor Agility Marketing; Nicola Ratcliffe chief executive of Willows Activity Farm, Hertfordshire; Colin Evans chairman of NFAN.)
Small Farm Attraction Winner Cantref Adventure Farm (l-r David Taylor from award sponsor David Taylor Design; Naomi Turner, Tara Hayter, Tom Honeyman Brown from Tapnell Farm Park, Isle of Wight; Colin Evans chairman of NFAN.)
Best Trade Supplier Winner Timberplay (l-r Ben Harbottle and Lilly Elbra from Timberplay; Colin Evans chairman of NFAN.)
NFAN AWARDS 2017 – Full list of sponsors and recipients:
Jim Keetch Farm Attraction of the Year Award (Over 75,000 visitors)
Sponsored by Agility Marketing
Winner – Willows Activity Farm, Hertfordshire
Highly Commended – Hobbledown, Surrey
Finalists – Farmer Ted’s, Fishers Adventure Farm Park, Whitehouse Farm Centre, York Maze.
Jim Keetch Farm Attraction of the Year Award (Under 75,000 visitors)
Sponsored by David Taylor Designs
Winner – Tapnell Farm Park, Isle of Wight
Highly Commended – Hall Hill Farm, County Durham
Finalists – Cantref Adventure Farm, The Pink Pig
Sponsored by Marsh & Co Insurance
Winner – Streamvale Open Farm, Belfast
Highly Commended – National Forest Adventure Farm, Staffordshire
Finalists – Cannon Hall Farm, Fishers Adventure Farm Park, Park Hall The Countryside Experience.
Best Trade Supplier
Sponsored by NFAN
Winner – Timberplay, South Yorkshire
Highly Commended – David Taylor Design, Cornwall
Finalists – Innovative Leisure, Outdoor Play People
Best Food and Beverage Award
Sponsored by Booker Wholesale
Winner – Farmer Copleys, West Yorkshire
Highly Commended – Tapnell Farm Park, Isle of Wight
Finalists – Anthony Moore – White Post Farm, Nottinghamshire; Arron Spicer, Finkley Down Farm, Hampshire; Jess King, Cattle Country Adventure Park, Gloucestershire; Mark Wibberley, Pennywell, Devon; Roger Nicholson, Cannon Hall Farm, South Yorkshire
NFAN would also like to thank the following conference sponsors…
Conference Gold Sponsors: S. Gregory & Co, Marsh & Co, Davies & Co