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This month we’re celebrating the regional winners of the Outstanding Rural Diversification Project, sponsored by Fisher German, ahead of the national Rural Business Awards final. Taking place at the Monastery in Manchester on 27 February, the awards honour the best in the British countryside, with each of the regional winners fighting it out to take the overall national prize in each category. Hall Farm Park, in South Kelsey, took home the Midlands regional prize for Best Rural Diversification Project, and also scooped the award for Best Rural Tourism. They’ll be up against fellow regional winners – like Corkers Crisps  – in the hope of winning this prestigious award.

The Lincolnshire farm is now a major tourist attraction in the area, attracting visitors from all over Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. It features animals such as alpacas, two large play areas for children, pedal go-karts and crazy golf. Andrew Knapton and his wife, Tracy, decided to open the farm park after being inspired by regular visits to a similar park while holidaying at their caravan. Tracy said: “We thought ‘we could do something like this,’ so we successfully applied for grant funding and opened the farm park in 2006. 

Since that time, the business has really grown. We now attract more than double the number of visitors per year since we opened. We have extended the indoor play barn significantly and have established an outdoor play area too, which has made a huge difference to us. It was a steep learning curve for us when we first opened – although the farm has been in Andrew’s family for more than 100 years, we were new to the customer service side of things.  But now, the business has gone from strength to strength, and we were over the moon to have reached the final of the Rural Business Awards. We’ve not only been nominated for our diversification, but for Best Rural Tourism too. You never know what’s going to happen, but it would be lovely to come away with one of the awards.”

Matthew Trewartha, Partner at Fisher German who presented the Knaptons with their regional award, said: “What started as a small idea has now grown into a highly successful business. Hall Farm Park is attracting families from all over the region, and its wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities means there is something for everyone to enjoy no matter what the time of year. It’s a fantastic example of diversification, and we wish them the best of luck at the Rural Business Awards.”

We’ll be sharing stories from all of the regional winners of the Outstanding Rural Diversification Project this month. Follow us on Twitter @fishergerman to find out more.