South Downs farming family scoop top award for new holiday business

A family who have farmed South Downs land for generations have now seen their latest business venture win a top award.

The business - House on the Brooks in Hardham near Pulborough - provides luxury five-star self-catering accommodation.

And it has now been named as one of the top rural businesses in the UK after being voted best Rural Tourism Business at the East regional finals of the Rural Business Awards in partnership with Amazon.

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House on the Brooks will now go on to the national final in February 2022.

House on the Brooks provides luxury self-catering accommodation in the heart of the South Downs

Owner Mark Dallyn said: “Our family have farmed this land for over 100 years going back four generations.

“We were born here, we live here and we work here to create a sustainable environmental future.

“Nature is our inspiration. We plant trees every year, dig ponds and also have a flock of over 100 Soay sheep.

“Soay sheep are a breed of sheep, listed in the Category 4: At Risk by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

One of the bedrooms at the award-winning House on the Brooks near Pulborough

“We also work closely with the Barn Owl Trust and the River Trust to enhance our local eco-systems.

“A farming family, we have recently diversified the farm to feature bespoke, luxury self-catering accommodation which has previously been rated 5 Star by Visit England.

“House on the Brooks provides large-group accommodation for guests within the South Downs National Park.”

Mark provided the artistic design of the boutique-themed rooms of the property with an eclectic mix from Frida Kahlo in the Mill House to a Chinese dome room in The Timber Barn.

House on the Brooks provides luxury self-catering accommodation in the heart of the South Downs

It was built by local master craftsman Rodney Elliot, who was born in the parish, alongside his son Gary, captain of the village cricket team.

After Rodney retired, Gary continued and built The Mill House alongside local craftsman Brian Norman and a labouring team including Mark and House on the Brooks manager Amy Dallyn.

After receiving the award, Mark said: “The past two years have been extremely challenging for businesses, and for all the people involved in them.

“For all of our excellent team to be recognised by Amazon and the Rural Business Awards in this way, is in part recognition of all the hard work involved in making our guests have a special experience.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to our guests for their continued support”