A SOMERSET-BASED company has been named one of the best businesses in rural Britain, in winning a Rural Business Award.

Musgrove Willows, from Westonzoyland near Bridgwater, was named 'Best Rural Retail Business' at the first-ever virtual national final of the Rural Business Awards, in association with Amazon.

From a farm on the Somerset Levels, the family-run business - founded in 1928 - grows more than 60 different varieties of sustainable and environmentally friendly willow.

The willow is processed on site using traditional methods and crafted into a range of willow products by a skilled craft team.

The 2020/21 Rural Business Awards marks the sixth year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural sector, which contributes £299 billion (gross value added) to the overall UK economy.

This year, businesses could enter 13 categories, ranging from 'Best Rural Start-Up Business' and 'Best Rural Diversification Project', through to 'Best Rural Professional Services Business' and 'The Triumph Over Adversity Award'.

Due to Covid-19, this year’s competition was run entirely online, with the winners decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies and rural charitable organisations.

Ellen Musgrove, from Musgrove Willows, said: “We can’t believe that we’ve won the Best Rural Retail Business Award at the national final!

"As a small, family-run business, it means the world to us to receive the support of prestigious organisations like the Rural Business Awards and Amazon.

"All our creations are made by our talented weavers with willow grown on our own farm, so this award shows just what you can achieve with a little creativity and the resources on your doorstep.

The Rural Business Awards is the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain.

Anna Price said: “On behalf of the Rural Business Awards, I would like to congratulate Musgrove Willows on this well-deserved win.

"I would also like to extend my congratulations to all the businesses who made it to the final and wish them well in their future endeavours.”

The 2021/22 Rural Business Awards, to be run in partnership with Amazon, is now open for entries; more details are available here.