A TANTALISING tourism initiative taking visitors on a mouthwatering meander around the Ribble Valley has notched up another major success.
Developed by Ribble Valley Borough Council, the Ribble Valley Food Trail has won a "Highly Commended" prize at the prestigious Countryside Alliance Awards national finals in London.
As previously reported by the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, the Food Trail claimed the competition's North West regional title in February, propelling it to the national final where it was up against 11 other regional winners from across England, Wales and Scotland. It was only narrowly pipped at the post in the "Rural Enterprise" category by a scheme from the Argyll area of Scotland.
A delegation from Ribble Valley Borough Council travelled to London for the announcement of the winners at a House of Lords reception. They were delighted to receive their Highly Commended award from ex-Defra Minister Lord Rooker.
The awards run across five categories, with a national winner and runner-up highly commended award given in each category. Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart announced the winners at the reception, which was attended by finalists and Parliamentarians, including Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.
Mr Hart, who also chaired the national judging panel, said of the Ribble Valley Food Trail: "This is an inspirational initiative demonstrating what can be done by forward thinking.
"A unique council project aiming to regenerate and support businesses in an area hit hard by foot and mouth, this outfit cunningly merges local food and tourism to produce an effect much bigger than the sum of its parts. The 'never say die' approach of rural Britain is encapsulated in the Ribble Valley Food Trail.
"The trail links small rural businesses including butchers, restaurants, dairies and bakeries on a route around the Lancashire countryside, and shows that tourism and local food are an enterprising force to be reckoned with."
Copies of the Ribble Valley Food Trail leaflet are available from the council offices in Church Walk, Clitheroe, and various other shops and outlets across the Valley. You can also find details online at: www.ribblevalleyfoodtrail.com
Our picture shows the Ribble Valley Council delegation receiving the award from Lord Rooker. They are, from the left, chief executive David Morris, Lord Rooker, corporate communications manager Theresa Robson, council leader Coun. Michael Ranson, leisure and tourism officer Rebecca Kay, and Nigel Evans MP.