A MEON Valley pub has reached the regional finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards.

The Hampshire Bowman at Dundridge, near Bishop's Waltham, has been hailed in the annual celebration of British food and farming, enterprise and heritage.

The awards are now in their 14th year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.

They are different to other awards because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers the chance to hail their favourite businesses.

The awards received over 17,000 nominations this year so The Bowman has done well to be shortlisted. The Hampshire Bowman is a traditional country pub inside the South Downs National Park.

Awards director Sarah Lee said: “We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year. The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services. They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”

Mark Newman, landlord of The Hampshire Bowman, said: "This is a huge honour for us and reflects the hard work that my wife and I, along with our wonderful young team have put in over the years. It is always nice to be recognized and being people that have always lived and worked in the countryside the CA Awards feel extra special.”

English regional champions will be announced in May, propelling them to the Grand Final, to be held at Parliament in June.

More information about the awards can be found here: www.countryside-alliance.org/campaigns/caawards/