A ONCE busy Devon farm has steadily evolved to prove diversification can be brought fully into the 21st Century as it wins an impressive accolade.

The Cottages at Blackadon Farm, near Ivybridge, was one of just two businesses in the county to win a gong at the recent VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023.

Announced last night at the annual awards ceremony celebrating the tourism industry’s brightest stars, winners collected their accolades for gold, silver and bronze in each category.

The Cottages at Blackadon Farm is a self-catering holiday accommodation business, now a fully-renovated farm, offering a selection of luxury spaces, set on the southern boundary of Dartmoor National Park.

With the importance of the environment at the core of the business, it took away the bronze award for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism at the evening ceremony on June 7, hosted by Alex Polizzi at Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. 

The gold, silver and bronze winners were selected from hundreds of tourism businesses across England including hotels, self-catering and bed and breakfast accommodation, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs and museums.

Marcus Bailey, who co-owns the business with Ryan Lynch, said: “We were delighted to be one of only two businesses from Devon to be in the national finals.”

Blackadon farm was a working agricultural practice for many years having diversified over time, recently winning a selection of awards for its sustainability and responsible ethics, including achieving gold status from the Green Tourism scheme.

Marcus explained: “The farm used to provide produce, meat and milk for Moorhaven Hospital and surrounding areas from Victorian times through to the 1980s. 

“The diversification happened then with farm land being sold off and the farm buildings being converted into accommodation for a source of income.

“We then came in 2019 and renovated the place and solely rely on income from the accommodation now.”

The prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, running for more than 30 years and in 2023 sponsored by the Caravan and Motorhome Club, celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “It is fantastic to come together as an industry to celebrate our world-class tourism businesses. Competition this year was fierce with customer service excellence evident across every category, thanks to the passion and dedication of individuals.”