WORK on a new visitor centre and winery at a Stourport vineyard has been completed following funding from a council scheme.

Astley Vineyard, one of the oldest in the UK, was awarded £50,000 from Worcestershire County Council’s LEADER programme to help fund the improvements.

The business was bought by the Haywood family in 2017 and have been working to modernise the vineyard.

The completed centre has a shop and an area for tasting and tours while the family has now moved wine production in house.

And the improvements are already paying dividends as the family has taken on more staff and seen visitor number increase – putting them on track to hit 1,200 visitors in their first full year of operation.

Tim Haywood, Owner of Astley Vineyard said: "The LEADER funding has been instrumental in enabling us to make transformational changes to our business.

“We have been able to build a centre that does justice to the quality of the wine.

“The development of this building has enabled us to open up the vineyard to visitors and will give us the flexibility to experiment with our wine as we can now bring production in house.

"The financial sustainability of our business has been significantly improved, and we are now able to employ an additional two fulltime members of staff with plans for further, small scale job creation.

"I would, without hesitation, encourage people thinking about applying to LEADER to do so. The staff go out of their way to help you through the process, and have been huge supporters of our project throughout."

The final round of LEADER funding, which is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and aimed at boosting rural businesses, closes on September 21. People can find out more via or on 01905 846872.