Category Archives: awards

EXMOOR SOCIETY: EXMOOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR’S AWARD 2018

The 2018 Pinnacle Award, organised by The Exmoor Society, is open to young people aged between 18 and 27 who live, work or study in the Greater Exmoor area. It offers £3,000 to an individual or group who have a business start-up or development plan. Six years ago, The Exmoor Society set up the Award to support young entrepreneurs who wish to stay working on Exmoor, particularly within farming and land-based development, but not exclusively.

As a conservation body, The Exmoor Society fully recognises the importance of providing opportunities for young people to remain on the moor when they enter the world of work. “The Society wants to show that beautiful landscapes and livelihoods can go together by supporting the younger generation, the very essence of keeping Exmoor alive as a national park,” said Rachel Thomas, Chairman.

Previous applications have come from people with ideas as diverse as making cider and developing a herd of pedigree cattle. Winners so far have included young people setting up their own agricultural contracting businesses, entrepreneurs in a country clothing business, low-impact forestry services and a worker in traditional ironwork who wanted to branch out into steel fabrication to meet the demands of the modern market. Last year’s winner, Nick Hosegood, an arborist from Luxborough, is using the award to offer a portable milling service for Exmoor-grown timber.

The Society hopes to attract many entries for the award this year which has a closing date of 30 June 2018. Application forms are available from The Exmoor Society’s office in Dulverton, telephone 01398 323335 and on its website: www.exmoorsociety.com.

PHOTO: Previous winners include Matt Sharp (2015).

LITTLE BEACH HUT GETS BIG AWARD

Salad Days at Dunster Beach, Dunster in Somerset has been awarded Bronze at this year’s Visit England Tourism Excellence Awards for Dog Friendly Business of the Year.

The awards, held annually, are the culmination of all of England’s regional Tourism Awards. To reach this stage all finalists have to have won at county and regional level first and need to be the best in their chosen field, businesses have to offer world-class service and excel in all areas. Brett Bates and Susan Juggins of Salad Days won Gold for Dog Friendly Business of the Year and Silver for Self Catering Business of the Year at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards in November last year, then repeated the accolade at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February. They were then taken aback to find out that Salad Days had been nominated for the prestigious Visit England Awards last month “and now to have gone on to be awarded Bronze is just incredible,” said Brett.

“Dunster Beach has always been a little hidden part of Somerset, now to have been recognised on the national stage, we hope to have an even greater impact on tourism in the area and make people realise they can pull off the motorway in Somerset to sample some amazing, award-winning attractions, eateries and places to stay. We have had some fantastic exposure and hope to be able to bring some of our success back with us to benefit the whole area; we know our fellow beach hut owners will be as pleased with this award as we are, it helps put Dunster Beach on the map and it is no longer a hidden gem.”

The couple were first attracted to the awards because of the offer of free advice from tourism industry experts. As beginners themselves –  Salad Days is only in its second year – Brett and Susan say they have learned so much and met some lovely people during the process; they would advise anybody to enter the awards and go on the courses offered. “Being in tourism can seem like a lot of hard work at times but to meet like-minded people via the awards process can be such a benefit to the business owner and their customers,” said Brett. “Our guests at Salad Days love the fact that we have won awards, but more importantly, they are the ones who feel the benefit of what we have learned. We have loved being able to introduce this part of Somerset and Exmoor to people who have never been here before, and the awards have helped us to be able to do just that.”

So what next? Brett and Susan are currently renovating their second beach hut, Holi Moli, to run alongside Salad Days. The aim is to learn from Salad Days’ success and improve upon what has been such a winning formula. Brett and Susan will both continue training and learning new skills, so watch this space, Holi Moli will be bringing colour to Dunster Beach and hopefully new guests to the area.

TOURISM AWARDS FOR TWO DUNSTER BUSINESSES

The Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster has been listed as a finalist in the 2018 National Group Travel Awards. It is one of seven nominated in the “Best Individual Hotel for Groups in the UK” category.

Antony Brunt, the proprietor of the Yarn Market Hotel, commented: “We are delighted to be nominated as a finalist in these awards. It’s a great reflection on the work that all of the team at the hotel put in all year round to attract business and then to make sure that our guests, be they groups or individuals enjoy their stay and the delights of Dunster itself, West Somerset and the Exmoor National Park.”

Antony is a well-known figure on the Travel Trade Show circuit and has been found promoting the Yarn Market Hotel and the wider attractions of the area across England and Wales. The message has been taken to London, Manchester, venues across southern England and Liverpool amongst other locations and on Tuesday 20 March he headed to the NEC Birmingham to spend two days working at the British Travel Trade Show. The work and the mileage has clearly paid off as he will return to a full hotel, hosting a four-day break for RailTrail holidays, who are visiting heritage railways in the South West including the second day on the West Somerset Railway’s Spring Steam Gala on Friday 23 March.

Also celebrating…

Salad Days (see photo) is a finalist in the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Tourism Excellence 2018

VisitEngland, the national tourist board, has announced the finalists for the Awards for Excellence 2018, with Dunster’s Salad Days being named as a finalist in the Dog Friendly Business of the Year. The winners of this prestigious accolade will be announced at the Awards ceremony to be held on Monday 23 April at the Bath Assembly Rooms.

Salad Days Beach Hut, announced as a finalist earlier this week, represents one of the three finalists in the Dog Friendly Business of the Year category and is the only representative from Somerset. All finalists must now wait until the Awards ceremony to discover whether they have achieved Gold, Silver or Bronze placings.

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “The finalists have shown themselves to be of the highest calibre, using their talent and innovation to deliver excellence. The hundreds of applications this year reflect the quality products across our tourism landscape and I warmly congratulate all the finalists and wish them the very best of luck.”

Speaking on behalf of Salad Days, Brett Bates, said: “We were so excited to win Gold in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Awards held in Taunton last year, then we were over the moon with a further Gold at South West Tourism Excellence Awards in Torquay last month and now we can’t quite believe that our little beach hut has made it to the national Visit England finals. Salad Days will be alongside some of the best tourism businesses in the country. All this in just our first two years of business, wow!”

“Salad Days started as a dream over 50 years ago when I used to visit Dunster as a child and now I want our guests to experience some of the charm and magic that this wonderful part of Somerset offers,” said Brett “Now, with this kind of recognition, it will help to put Dunster Beach on the map and more people will find it, which is good news for Dunster, Somerset and Exmoor. Right from the beginning we wanted Salad Days to be dog friendly as we knew that so many people visit this area with their dog, now they can stay at one of the best dog friendly businesses in England.”

PHOTO: The interior of Salad Days Beach Hut

A full list of winners can be found at www.visitenglandawards.org/finalists

EXMOOR IN THE AWARDS SPOTLIGHT

Exmoor National Park’s contribution to tourism in the South West was recognised at the start of February at the South West Tourism Awards 2017/18 when a special ‘Outstanding contribution to Tourism Award’ was given to the region’s protected landscapes (including National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South West Coast Path).

The special award was presented at the awards ceremony, which has become the single largest gathering of tourism businesses in the region, with over 400 delegates present at the Riviera Conference Centre in Torquay.

Announcing the award, BBC Spotlight presenter Victoria Graham spoke about the way in which volunteers and staff work together to manage protected landscapes which enable the tourism industry to “deliver such wonderful and varied visitor experiences for our guests”.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager at Exmoor National Park, commented, “We’re really proud that our contribution to the wider visitor economy has been recognised in this way. We work closely with local communities, businesses and land managers to help keep Exmoor special. Over 2 million  visitor days are spent on Exmoor every year contributing almost £115m to the rural economy with 99% of visitors rating their experience as good or very good. This is thanks to the efforts of all our staff, partner organisations and volunteers that enable so many people to enjoy Exmoor and this is an award for them all.”

A number of Exmoor businesses also picked up awards during the evening including:

Longlands near Combe Martin – Gold, Glamping Accommodation
Salad Days Beach Huts at Dunster – Gold, Dog Friendly Business and Silver, Self-Catering Holiday Property
The Swan at Bampton – Gold, Tourism Pub.
The Luttrell Arms in Dunster –  Bronze, Tourism Pub

Exmoor has also been shortlisted as ‘National Park of the Year’ in the BBC Countryfile Magazine awards. The work of the National Park Authority and partners on projects such as the reinvigoration of the Two Moors Way to open up access were cited by the judges for the shortlisting.

It is now down to a public vote to decide if Exmoor wins the top spot. You can vote online at www.countryfile.com/bbc-countryfile-magazine-awards-2018 until 5 March 2018.

CAREMOOR EVENTS BEGIN FOR 2018

Diners were in for a treat recently at two special fund-raising Exmoor Gin nights held at the award-winning Swan in Bampton as part of Exmoor National Park’s new CareMoor Dining Club.

Exmoor-based Wicked Wolf Gin owners Pat and Julie Heap had worked with Paul and Donna Berry of The Swan to deliver five gin-based drinks perfectly matching each of the five courses.

A total of £330 was raised for CareMoor for Exmoor, the National Park’s donation scheme supporting nature, heritage and access work across the moor.

The CareMoor Dining Club events are hosted by different venues around Greater Exmoor, celebrating the great local food and drink produced here, whilst also raising some funds to help keep Exmoor special.

Katrina Munro of Exmoor National Park said, “These events are the perfect way to celebrate and support our local Exmoor producers and we’re very grateful to the Swan for kicking off this year’s calendar.”

Spaces are still available on the next events are being held in February at Dulverton and Wootton Courtenay by Claire’s Kitchen and in March there are evenings at Dunkery Beacon Hotel and Psalter’s Restaurant, Luttrell Arms Hotel, Dunster. More details can be found here.

The Swan has been in an especially celebratory mood over the last week after being presented with a highest climber award at the 2018 ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards AND having won gold at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in Torquay on 1 February!

Finally, don’t forget that Wednesday 7 February is the Eat Exmoor event at The Beach Hotel Minehead. Find out more here.

PHOTO: Chef Donna Berry and team at the Swan, Bampton

TRANSATLANTIC CELEBRATIONS FOR DUNSTER BEACH HUT

Salad Days is one of around 250 beach huts at Dunster Beach, but this one is special.

To begin with, it has a Visit England 5-star rating, making it the only beach hut in the UK to receive such an accolade, and now it has won two awards at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards: Silver for ‘Self Catering Business of the Year’ and Gold for ‘Dog Friendly Business of the Year’.

Designed and rebuilt from the ground up, the 80-year-old beach hut is the pride of Susan Juggins and Brett Bates. They took on a run-down beach hut that had been used by holiday makers since the end of the war and had housed coastal defence workers before that. They wanted to give it a new lease of life as a luxury beach hut with all the comforts of modern-day living. Salad Days offers boutique-style accommodation in a beach hut environment and it is dog friendly to boot.

News of the awards was not just celebrated by co-owner Susan who collected the award at Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton, but also 3,500 miles away in Toronto Canada.

 

Brett had previously arranged a trip to visit his son Brett jar, who lives there with his fiancée Aisha, before the finalist’s announcement was made in October. He spent the day eagerly awaiting news via Twitter from Susan and the organisers at Visit Somerset. “You can hardly believe the excitement when the news came through,” said Brett. “Toronto certainly knew Somerset had arrived in the city.”

Susan, who attended the awards event with her sister Anne, said, “We felt so honoured just to be there, amongst the best that Somerset has to offer and to come away with two awards is just amazing. We love this area and our little beach hut to bits. It just goes to show even though we may be small we can still play with the big boys and win’”

The story of their success may not stop there; Salad Days will soon find out if they are to represent Somerset at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February next year.

The awards are run annually by Visit England with the judging carried out locally by industry experts, followed by area and national finals. To be a finalist in any category, each entrant has to be at the top of their game, offering world-class service within the highly competitive tourism industry. The South West has won more awards than any other area of the UK. Somerset had the highest ever number of awards entrants this year.

For further details see: dunsterbeachhut.com/  twitter.com/DunsterBeachHut

Or read the extract from an article which appeared in our autumn issue here: