TWO local business have been named among Britain’s best countryside-based firms at the Rural Business Awards 2017.

Crwst micro bakery at Blaenffos and quirky wedding venue The Ceridwen Centre Ltd in the Teifi Valley were handed their accolades at a glittering national awards ceremony held at Denbies Wine Estates in Surrey, compered by Jules Hudson of BBC Escape to the Country fame.

Both business reached the last five in the UK in their categories, with Crwst being highly commended in the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year section and Ceridwen highly commended for Best Rural Tourism Business.

Crwst is a micro-bakery based in a home kitchen at Blaenfffos. Catrin and Osian Jones produce handmade real bread and seasonal bakes all from home, with the aim of bringing London's modern and trendy baking to rural West Wales.

Crwst supplies up to 10 local businesses in the area and uses local produce, for example, Pembrokeshire Sea Salt. The couple grow vegetables for their baking and promote the business online using social media.

The whole concept of Crwst impressed the judges, who felt the couple showed vision and ambition for their relatively young business.

“We may not have won our category but we are over the moon to announce that we can now call ourselves an RBA 'highly commended' business,” said Catrin.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all at the Rural Business Awards for arranging a wonderful evening celebrating the thriving and ever-growing rural business economy but the biggest thanks goes out all of our loyal customers.

"We wouldn't be where we are today and be able to attend such highly-regarded events with your support.

“We are proud to be finalists for a UK-wide award within the first year of Crwst's existence.”

Ceridwen Centre Ltd is an eco-minded holiday, course, retreat, event and wedding venue on a 40-acre organic farm.

Holders of the Gold Award for Best Sustainable Tourism Business in the Carmarthenshire Tourism awards for the last four years, Ceridwen’s owners greatly care about the rural environment with energy demands served by biomass, solar thermal and solar PV.

Employing up to 20 local staff, judges thought Ceridwen was an interesting, unique idea with “brilliant green credentials”.

Simone Broome, from Ceridwen Centre Ltd, said: “Our guests love our rural location, unique surroundings and locally sourced food, and we’re delighted that the Rural Business Awards has recognised us in the Best Rural Tourism Business category.”

The awards are now in their third year and are run in partnership with the County Landowners’ Association and Amazon.

This year’s awards saw nearly three times as many entries as in 2016, with businesses from 52 counties in the UK sending in their applications. They were split into 13 categories with five finalists in each.

Awards co-founder Jemma Clifford said: “Rural firms from Wales have traditionally done well in the RBAs – with The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company winning the food and drink category at our first ever awards, for example – and it’s great to see that continue in 2017, with such diverse entries too.

“These businesses are so different from one another, but united in their passion for the countryside and desire to create a sustainable future for rural life. They are all deserving winners of our coveted highly commended awards and we wish them every continued success.”

Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “Farm shops, food producers and rural start-ups are a vital part of the UK’s economy, generating over £230 billion every year. It is fantastic to see the breadth of talent on display across our rural communities and I am delighted so many hardworking businesses have been honoured.”