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Love Heartwood named one of the best rural businesses in the UK

love heartwood rural business awards winner

Love Heartwood is a Rural Business Awards winner after this year’s National Finals. Jules Hudson, the BBC Escape to the Country presenter, once again delighted the finalists as host for the ceremony on Thursday 24th February. The awards recognise and celebrate the successes and vital contributions of businesses to the UK’s rural economy. The rural sector is a vital part of the national economy since in England alone it contributes £261bn to the nation’s GVA (GrossValue Added). This is nearly a fifth of the country’s total economic activity. Founded by rural-based businesswomen, Jemma Clifford and Anna Price, the Rural Business Awards are backed by Amazon and judged by an independent panel of judges, drawn from the rural business sector,rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

Joint Winner of the Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award

The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award was a hard fought category with 2 winners eventually being named. Love Heartwood being one and Coterie Leather, from West Wales, being the other. See the full list of finalists here

rural business awards national winner badge 2021 2022
Love Heartwood was joint winner for The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award
rural business awards national runner up 2021 2022
Love Heartwood was runner up for The Best Creative or Artisan Business Award

Runner up of the Best Artisan or Craft Business

Love Heartwood was also delighted to take the runner up position, from a final line up of 5, in the Best Artisan/Craft Business category. See the full list of finalists here

Judges Comments

“What a lovely start up business that embraces sustainablility and its rural location. The way in which the individual has shaped her business is heartwarming, and she uses traditional skill working with a natural material to be carbon neutral and sustainable.”

Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award Judges

Winners Comments

Love Heartwood specialises in handmade wooden toys for eco conscious families, gives turning lessons and also runs a wooden toy repair service. Sustainability is a core part of the business which means that all the wood used is locally sourced with much of it being reclaimed. Plus, all of Liz’s other materials and finishes are plant based, sourced in the UK and a tree is planted for every item sold.

“I was absolutely blown away to not only be a national runner up but also a winner. At a national level that’s an amazing achievement that I’m really proud of. Working alone can be quite isolating and it was wonderful to receive this recognition of my skills and hard work.”

Liz Pearson, Founder of Love Heartwood

“On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, I would like to congratulate those rural businesses who have worked tirelessly throughout another challenging year. Every year, I continue to be proud and remain in awe at the high calibre of entries to the Awards and each business who was shortlisted should be very proud of reaching the National Final.”

Jemma Clifford, Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards

The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business. There are winners and one runner up in the 13 categories – ranging from Best Rural Start Up and Best Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Best Rural Innovation. Each winner and runner up are selected by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

This year’s win follows Love Heartwood winning the regional finals last year. To read more about that visit love heartwood – rural business awards finalist

To learn about the Rural Business Awards visit

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a sustainable autumn proposal

intimate outdoor proposal

Where could be a more perfect sustainable Autumn proposal venue than a rustic shepherd’s hut? Especially with a suitably earthy, rustic and rich colour scheme. A campfire and an evening under the stars is a memorable way to start your life’s journey together.

sustainable touches

  • A dress and hat from the H&M UK conscious range.
  • A sustainable handmade ring box. 
  • A recycled silver and amber sea glass engagement ring.
  • A hired-in tablescape featuring an organic linen tablecloth, recycled glass, and second-hand pieces.
  • Arrangements of British dried flowers and grasses, which are less damaging to the environment than imported fresh flowers.
  • Fuelling the fire pit with logs that had naturally fallen in the forest surrounding the location.
  • Raising a toast using organic beers and Prosecco.

You can find all the info and links to the team of ethical, sustainable wedding professionals and suppliers who were involved in the shoot at the botom of the page. For now just enjoy scrolling Sarah Hoyle’s gorgeous images.

a sustainable ring box

I was very pleased that love heartwood’s yew ring box was chosen to be featured. Each unique ring box is handmade from locally and sustainably sourced branch wood and the inserts are hand felted from British sheepswool. Each ring box comes with 2 inserts, one single and one double so that it can be used for both the engagement ring and then the wedding rings. Ring boxes are available in a range of native British timbers. You are also welcome to request a specific timber if you wish.

calligraphied proposal letter with sustainable ring in wooden ring box
A calligraphied proposal letter is so romantic.
man proposing to his girlfriend in an eco friendly way

a recycled engagement ring

sustainable engagement ring in a wooden ring box
Salt and Wild’s recycled silver and amber sea glass engagement ring looks stunning in love heartwood’s sustainably sourced wooden ring box.
eco friendly proposal with wooden ring box and ring made ffrom recycled silver
eco friendly couple engagement

toasting the future

campfire engagement proposal
Logs that had naturally fallen in the forest surrounding the location were used for the fire pit.


Location: Kilnhanger Shepherd’s Hut  

Photographer and Concept: Sarah Hoyle Photography  

Stylist: The Luxe Design Company  

MUA: Birute Thomas  

Models: Ali and Dionne 

Ring Designer: Salt & Wild  

Ring Box: Love Heartwood  

Love Letter Calligraphy: Wedding Calligraphy by Rachel 

See the whole gorgeous story unfold on the green union blog

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Circular Coffee and Conversation

circular coffee and conversation reading uk logo
Watch this video on YouTube.

crafting circular futures

I initially started watching Reading’s Circular Economy Club talks to get sustainability tips from other local people. So I was delighted when Erica invited me to take part in the seventh Circular Coffee and Conversation session (recorded 11.12.2020).

topics covered

my background – not just making toys but making relationships with things – my circular making process and each stage of my products’ life cycle – the importance of knowing where materials come from and supplier ethics – my growing wooden toy repair service

more about circular coffee + conversation

Just half an hour long the sessions are a virtual morning coffee (or tea) break. While you have your break listen to Sophie and Erica chatting with a range of local individuals, organisations and businesses on their thoughts and connections on the Circular Economy ( often with links to in and around Reading, Berkshire). Each guest brings a “Circular Conversation Starter” – an object, product, anything really, that connects them to the circular economy at home or in their work. Then they’re asked questions for about 15 mins. After that people on the call are also welcome to join in the chat and ask questions. If you’re interested in joining in , don’t forget to sign-up. See ‘ways to get involved’ below.

the circular economy club

Circular coffee + conversation is a collaboration between: Sophie Segal – Co Create Impact – and Erica Purvis – TechnicalNature –

They run the Reading UK branch of the Circular Economy Club global voluntary network.

get involved

Sign-up to the Circular Coffee + Conversation Newsletter
Join the Circular Coffee + Conversation LinkedIn Group
Follow the Circular Coffee + Conversation Eventbrite page for our latest events
Check out th#CEC_RDG hashtag on Twitter and Instagram

read more

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Love HeartWood – Rural Business Awards Finalist

rural business awards national finalist


A local company is in the running to be named one of the best rural businesses in the UK after being shortlisted as a Rural Business Awards finalist.

Love HeartWood from Burghfield Common, just outside Reading, has been shortlisted for the Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award at the 2020/21 Rural Business Awards, held in partnership with Amazon. The local small business will battle it out against fellow rural businesses, entrepreneurs, and enterprises from across the country for the chance to be named a national winner.

Love HeartWood is the name of Liz Pearson’s woodturning business founded in 2017. Based in her garden workshop, former teacher and product design graduate, Liz creates toys, gifts and homeware on her lathe. The common thread through all her work is sustainability and natural materials. The business grew out of her appreciation of wood and desire to share the enjoyment of using handmade objects. Her aim is to celebrate British woodlands and connect us to them in a positive way.”

The Rural Business Awards 2020/21, in partnership with Amazon, will mark the Awards’ sixth year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy. The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business with the aim of celebrating the achievements of rural businesses and developing a strong network for rural business owners.

Speaking after being shortlisted for an award, Liz Pearson from Love HeartWood said:

“As a relatively young business and a one woman show I entered the competition for the experience so I’m very proud and delighted to have made the national finals.”

Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, Jemma Clifford, said: “This year has been an unprecedented challenge for businesses across the country but we have still had a fantastic amount of entries from rural businesses, showing the true determination of people working in the rural economy. Here at the Rural Business Awards we remain committed to our vision of showcasing the fantastic work of rural businesses and believe that it has never been more important than now. On behalf of the RBA team, we want to say well done to Love HeartWood and all the shortlisted businesses, and wish them luck ahead of the national final.”

The Rural Business Awards is the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain.

The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 13 categories – ranging from Best Rural Start-up and Best Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Best Rural Innovation – decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

The Rural Business Awards will be hosting an online National Final on Thursday 25th February 2021.

To find out more about Love HeartWood, go to or to learn about the Rural Business Awards visit


Find out more via social media on:

T: @LizHeartWood

F: @LoveHeartWood

I: Love_HeartWood

T: @RuralRBAs

F: The Rural Business Awards

Keep up with the social media news and use #RBAs.

For more information, interviews or images contact:

Liz Pearson 07897 998586

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plastic free picnicware

woodware picnic spread

Summer evenings are perfect for picnics. If you’re looking to ditch the plastic and replace it with more sustainable picnicware then 3 Bears Woodware’s the answer.

3 Bears Woodware is eco friendly tableware that can grow with your family. It’s a great alternative to plastic whether you’re eating indoors or out. So join the Schuller family for a picnic in the park.

family wearing ethical cotton clothes

goodbye single use

The 3 sizes of lidded bowls mean you can say goodbye to tupperware, single use cling film or foil. If food needs to be sealed why not use wax wraps?

plastic free picnic ideas
The boys enjoyed lifting the lids to see what the bowls had inside.

eco friendly alternatives

wooden picnic cup
Wooden cups are a great alternative to plastic ones. These ones have weighted bases to prevent spills and accidents. To avoid plastic straws try natural wheat straws.

functional & multi purpose

plastic free picnicware
Once the lids are off they can become plates and cup rests, very useful for preventing spills on the uneven ground. Different sized bowls and plates means there’s one that’s “just right” for everyone.


stacking wooden bowls with lids
Once the picnic’s done tidying away’s simple. Keep the mess contained by popping the lids back on. Easy to store too as they’re stackable.

healthy picnicware for people & the planet

where does it come from ethically made cotton kids shirts

Massive Thanks to

Models – The Schuller Family

Picnicware – 3 Bears Woodware

Ethical Fashion – Where Does It Come From?

Photography – Sarah from Rainbright Photography

Natural Wheat Straws – Eco Alyn

Vegan Wax Wraps – Bee Zero Waste

Location: Prospect Park, Reading RG30 2ND

find out more about 3 bears woodware

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One Ash Part 1 – Forestry Education Project

Liz collecting wood from the One Ash Project

I believe that educating future generations to care for our environment and manage it sustainably is crucial if we’re to reverse the damage done by Man to the environment. Educational projects that create connections between the community and nature are a great way to do this. A project I’m lucky enough to be involved in, is a great example of this.

Andover Trees United a volunteer-led group and registered charity is running the One Ash project. They work in partnership with schools, local authorities, businesses, specialist environmental organisations, artists and other creative practitioners to promote conservation and improve access to natural wild spaces.

Andover Trees United

The One Ash project is being run by a community group called Andover Trees United based in Andover, Hampshire. Through the creation and planting of Harmony Woods, their community woodland and other projects, they engage with local children and young people and through them their families.⁠

⁠The idea behind the project is to educate children about a tree’s whole lifecycle and how forests are sustainably managed.

“Over the course of the last five years, it has become apparent that children who were tree planting with us were increasingly concerned at the prospect of trees being cut down, revealing a lack of understanding of the concept of ‘forestry’, a word usually associated with ‘deforestation’ when learning about rain forests at school.

“Timber is one of the most sustainable materials we have to work with and, as there are so many different industries that work with wood right here in the Test Valley, we aim to help children make that connection between the tree and the chairs they sit on, the tools they use and even the food they might eat.”

Wendy Davis, Andover Trees

the One Ash project’s timeline

There are 3 main parts to the project: Meeting the tree, Felling the tree and then Following the tree. To read about what each entailed click on the headings below to visit the related Andover Trees’ project journal.

October 2019 Meet the Tree – Children from the participating Andover schools met trees. They learnt what they do for us and the environment.

Feb 2020 Felling Day – The chosen Ash tree was felled, milled and transported for distribution and storage.

June 2020 – Timber Distribution – The tree was distributed amongst the crafters, furnituremakers and artists participating in the project.

2022 – An exhibition of all the finished products, along with documentation of the process, will take place in Andover.

meeting the one ash

The Ash tree chosen to be felled for the project.

The Ash tree selected to be used in the project was felled on a part of the Engelfield Estate, just 2 miles from my home!

It was 22 metres tall and 80 years old.

The Ash was selected for the project to highlight the problem of Ash dieback disease which it was in the early stages of.

The disease was first identified in the UK in 2012 and, according to the Woodland Trust, “will kill up to 95% of ash trees across the UK. At a cost of billions, the effects will be staggering. It will change the landscape forever and threaten many species which rely on ash.”

The One Ash project encourages the children to notice Ash trees in their local environment before they start disappearing.

Photo credit: Andover Trees United

One Ash’s location

The Ash tree, kindly donated for the project by Engelfield Estate, grew near Oval Pond in woodland called Roundoak Piece.

felling the tree

Rick and Rob from Englefield Estate felled the Ash tree whilst school children from Andover look on.

Photo credit: Sophie Stocker

following the tree

Not long after Felling Day lockdown happened. So it wasn’t until June that the timber was distributed. My share came from the crown of the tree.

The crown of the tree is the section above the main trunk where it splits into branches. The crown has been shared between around 22 crafters and artists.

You can find out what each crafter and artist is doing with their share by visiting ATU’s One Ash Journals.

Photo credit: Alex Marshall

find out more

To follow the project on social media please search #OneAshTree