A GARDEN centre near Hay-on-Wye has been named as one of the 10 best in the UK.
The Old Railway Line Garden Centre claimed two accolades overall at the prestigious Garden Centre Association (GCA) Awards, held in Blackburn, in January.
The garden centre, based in Three Cocks, near Hay-on-Wye, was awarded status as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ at the awards, placing it in an elite category along with nine others from around the UK. Fron Goch Garden Centre in Caernarfon was another Welsh venue named in the top 10.
That was on January 24, with the Old Railway Line picking up the GCA’s ‘Environment & Community Award’ the previous evening, making it a double celebration.
The family-run business won the title of ‘Best Destination Garden Centre’ in Wales and the West region a few months ago, so these awards are welcome additions on a national level.
Mark Cleary, the founder of the local garden centre, said: “To be recognised for our efforts in our community and to reduce our environmental impact is really special to us.
“Over the years we’ve made a big effort to reduce our impact on the planet including installing 210 solar panels, 40,000 litres of rainwater storage, re-using 100 per cent of our cardboard packaging and many more initiatives.
“We are also passionate about reducing produce and plant miles, so source locally where possible.
“Our team are proactive in engaging with schools, community groups and local charities. As a rural business we rely on the support of our local community, and we enjoy giving back wherever we can.”
Liam Cleary, the centre’s garden retail director, added: “The ‘Centre of Excellence’ status is only awarded to the top 10 garden centres in the UK, which is something we’ve achieved 3 times consecutively now.
“To maintain these levels of standards is testament to the team and we are so proud of this achievement.
“We strive to deliver the very best shopping experience for our customers. The biggest reward for us is seeing them returning time and time again and enjoying every visit. I’m extremely proud of the team’s achievements at this year’s GCA awards and I’m looking forward to seeing how we keep growing from here.”
The family-run business has won the title of ‘Best Garden Centre’ for nine years running for the Wales and the West area, and has also been named best in the UK on two previous occasions, including in 2021.
The GCA represents over 200 garden centres nationwide. The awards are decided by the results of annual inspections, which take place at all GCA garden centres. Garden centres have no advance warning about when their inspection will take place and they do not have the option to turn away the inspector.
The award-winning, independent, family-run garden centre was established in 1990 by founders, Mark and Christina Cleary. It provides customers with quality plants, gardening products, indoor and outdoor living goods, pet care products, giftware and furniture.
The Old Railway Line is also home to a farm shop stocking products from over 60 local and Welsh suppliers and a 150-seater restaurant offering delicious home-cooked food.