21 June 2002


A BED-and-breakfast business on an environmentally friendly farm has won a prestigious gold award in a "green" tourism scheme promoted by the East of England Tourist Board.

Milden Hall Farm, near Lavenham in Suffolk is the only farm-based business in the region to win the gold award.

The business is run by farmers wife, Juliet Hawkins (right). Shes a former FWAG adviser who, apart from helping her husband, now splits her time between being mother to three children with work as an independent farm conservation consultant.

Applicants to the new award scheme had to detail their approach to all aspects of the tourism business from marketing to shopping, energy, composting and water use and how they encouraged their clients to walk, cycle or use public transport rather than their cars.

The 204ha (500-acre) Mil-den Hall Farm is not organic but use of pesticides is minimised and a sensitive approach taken to the landscape and its wildlife.

Visitors can follow a nature trail and explore conservation areas, including woodlands and wildflower meadows.

Guests are encouraged to minimise water and electricity use, to recycle waste and to support a local farm shop.

The farm, which has its own branch of Watch, the junior wildlife trust organisation, recently ran a course to help people "green up" their farm businesses.

"We want our bed-and-breakfast guests to enjoy themselves, appreciate the wildlife and the beautiful Suffolk countryside and support the local economy in an environmentally friendly way," says Juliet.

"We try to help people from all walks of life to understand the countryside and its traditions a little better than when they arrive with us," she adds.