Tom NeweyHello Great West Way Ambassador! Please introduce yourself: 
I’m Tom Newey, Chief Executive of Cobbs Farm Co. Ltd

Tell us a little more about what you do on the Great West Way:
We own a couple of destination led farm shops along the Great West Way; near Theale and Hungerford. Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen, near Hungerford also operate a 55 acre soft fruit and PYO farm as well as its own internationally award-winning vineyard, Alder Ridge.

What do you love most about your job? 
The variety of what we do has to be the single best factor. One day I might be looking to source new beef for our butchery counters and the next harvesting grapes from our vineyard.

How did you get started? Has it been a long journey, getting to where you are today? What achievements are you most proud of?
The business started in 2007, shortly before the economic crash. I’m pleased to say we more than weathered that storm and have seen growth in sales every year since started. There have been many proud moments but our very first vintage English Sparking Wine was given the title of the best Blanc de Noirs in the world in 2017 at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships.

Do you work with a wider team? If so, tell us a bit about them: 
We are a relatively small team and I am hugely supported by my senior management team, Jemma and Dan Bentley, who oversee the operations in all of our retail and catering areas of the business. We are very proud to try wherever possible to promote from within and Jemma and Dan are perfect examples of this, starting with us in more junior roles.

What do you find inspiring day-to-day? What keeps the enthusiasm going?
I am so very lucky to work with such exciting product – from simply delicious foods to the huge wealth of artisanal producers we have locally to being able to learn so many new skills in the establishment of our vineyard Alder Ridge.Exterior of Cobbs Farm Shop &Kitchen What does slow travel mean to you? 
To me, the defining aspect of slow travel is overridingly, taking the time on your journey to take in your surroundings. All too often we’re going from A to B with our heads stuck in a sat nav and we’ve all found ourselves arriving at a destination thinking, “How did I get here!” We are surrounded by such beautiful scenery – make the time to take it in.

What do you think makes the Great West Way special?
We are blessed in this country with incredible and diverse countryside and it’s this diversity that makes the Great West Way so special. From rolling Downland to the network of canals, there is something for everyone.

Do you have any insider tips or advice for travellers who want to experience the touring route ‘like a local’? 
That would be telling! My one tip would be to approach locals, who invariably will be more than happy to share their own local delight with you.

Describe your perfect adventure on the Great West Way: 
With my passion for all things food and drink, it would have to be an adventure based on these themes and quite frankly, I’m spoilt for choice along the Great West Way.

What’s your favourite thing to eat or drink along the touring route (can be a meal, a local delicacy or a favourite tipple)? Any cafes, restaurants or pubs you can recommend?
One of my favourite times of year is when we harvest the Asparagus from our farm at Cobbs Hungerford, on or around St Georges Day. Nothing beats eating some frershly picked Asparagus, washed down with a glass of our own English Sparkling Wine, safe in the knowledge that Summer is just around the corner.

Are you a city, town or country person? 
Very much a country person although I do enjoy strike missions into the city occasionally!Alder Ridge Vineyard Pick a place along the Great West Way that best represents you and what you do, with a short explanation: 
This would have to be on the farm at Cobbs, where our story began and so many wonderful adventures have taken place since. There are beautiful views across to the Downs from the top of the farm and it’s a particularly quiet place and great for reflection.

Are there any English stereotypes or traditions you’d like to set straight? 
Well I’m a Cornishman born and bred so I’d have to set the record straight on where the Pasty was originally made and that jam ALWAYS goes onto a Scone before the clotted cream.

If you could choose one must-visit attraction along the Great West Way, what would it be and why?
I’d have to shamelessly say our farm shop Cobbs at Hungerford. We’ve a host of activities for all members of the family – from Soft fruit picking to Orienteering courses, all alongside our award winning shop and restaurant. I’d also back a day in Bath every day of the week.

What do you think will surprise first-time visitors about the Great West Way? Any secret, lesser-visited spots you’d like to recommend?
I think most visitors will be pretty amazed to think there is a successful and Internatioanlly recognised vineyard along the Great West Way – Alder Ridge. Times are changing!

What’s your preferred mode of transport: train, car, bus or boat? Why?
I am a big fan of the train as I love to take in the scenery from the window.

Any exciting plans for the future you’d like to share?
We’ve always got some new hair-brained scheme on the go and this summer sees us focus on a huge outdoor cooking area at Cobbs Hungerford
Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen
To discover more in Hungerford, check out our Plan Your Way and See and Do pages. It's the perfect to explore if staying in Newbury and want to get out of the town for a day.

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