Rural economy

Rural North Somerset is predominantly an agricultural landscape with large tracts of woodland, coastline and fringed by the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are many places of historical and cultural interest whilst still being easily accessible from  Bath and Bristol, offering an excellent work/life balance. It is an area of great beauty but also home to a surprising array of businesses from the artisan to the international. YeoValleyfromMcombe.jpg

The area boasts such historical, cultural and natural assets as the National Trust properties of Clevedon Court and Tyntesfield , the extensive Forest of Avon and Mendip Hills AONB. The communities of Yatton, Congresbury, Wrington, Winscombe and Long Ashton continue to act as key service centres for their rural hinterland with key community facilities and rural workspace.

Many job opportunities have arisen in the area from the growing tourism and leisure industry and food and drink sector which act as key economic drivers for the area. Major employers in the area feature nationally renowned companies such as Thatchers and Yeo Valley dairy and a growing number of small artisan businesses such as micro breweries and ice cream makers. North Somerset is also home to Oxford Intruments and Smart Systems demonstarting how high tech can also sit comfortably alongside the traditional. There is a huge opportunity for rural enterprise in North Somerset, not only vital in serving local needs but also meeting the demands of nearby urban populations. For more information visit our pages:

West of England LEADER Programme

Following a successful bid to DEFRA in 2014 the West of England Rural Network will be establishing a Local Action Group (LAG) to manage a LEADER Programme for the West of England between 2015 – 2020 to deliver the approved Local Development Strategy.

The West of England has been allocated £1,558,000 for the programme period and more details can be found on the West of England LEADER website

Food and Drink

The food and drink sector is a strong and growing sector of the North Sector Economy. Work is now underway to consolidate the support for the industry and develop a physical centre at Junction 21 Enterprise Area. The LEADER Prgoramme will also help to build work already undertaken in North Somerset and the region to develop local food supply chains, provide comprehensive and centralised business support and food grade incubator units.

The North Somerset Local Food Directory leaflet showcases over forty local producers and demonstrates how locally produced food can be developed to help strengthen the rural economy. In addition there is a thriving rural crafts industry with over eighty individual businesses working out of the area, some of whom have gained national recognition. The annual three-week 'Made in North Somerset' festival, now in its fifth year is coordinated by the Economic Development Service acts as a showcase for producers from the artisan to those who now export internationally.

(© Photo source: In the Frame)