With their twinkling lights, friendly volunteers and wealth of local knowledge, our village shops have been a lifeline during lockdown, offering deliveries or a phone and collect service for the most vulnerable. In her round up of these vibrant little stores, local resident Rebecca Smith discovers not just a huge range of essentials, but a treasure trove of Christmas gifts and goodies, many of them locally made.
Kennerleigh Village Stores recently celebrated six years of serving a wide rural area north of Crediton. As a community shop, it is run by a paid manager and a team of volunteers and stocks a wide range of household products, newspapers and store cupboard essentials. It also doubles up as an off licence and outreach Post Office.
Weekly deliveries of locally sourced fresh produce are eagerly anticipated - bread, pastries, meat, milk, cream, yoghurts, fruit and veg - and the Saturday morning croissants have become the stuff of local legend!
If you’re looking for Christmas gifts, the shelves are packed with the outpourings of talented local craftspeople and local small businesses - candles and soaps, pashminas and scarves, bags and baskets, soaps and socks, luxury edibles (think crumbly artisan biscuits…) and wooden gifts, cards and wrapping paper - the list goes on. So, if you know someone who’d love a hamper of local loveliness, pop out to Kennerleigh and they’ll be able to not only sell you the wicker basket, but everything to go in it as well.
Oh, and there’s a beautiful bear to be won in their Hospiscare Christmas draw too… 01363 866452
West of Crediton, Spreyton Village Shop has been community led for 10 years. It also doubles up as an off licence and outreach Post Office and stocks an amazing range of household essentials as well as gifts and treats. Pop in and browse the Spreyton-made festive textiles - aprons, bunting, Christmas decorations, tablecloths, oven gloves, etc. Check out the lovely locally made jewellery, pottery and photo cards of local Devon scenes taken by Spreyton photographer Liz Mary.
The merry team are also happy to make up hampers to order, stocked full of local products – just give them a ring and have a chat. Regular events such as wine tasting are on hold at the moment but plans will be afoot for next year, so watch this space. 01647 231711
Nestled in the middle of the high street Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop serves a wide area north east of Crediton. Established in just 18 months back in 2018 by a dedicated group of locals, it prides itself on stocking goods from local businesses and producers and the shelves are packed full of everything you need – and a few treats that you didn’t even know that you wanted – fancy some salted caramel chocolate, posh olives, chai latte, mulled apple juice or luxury local baked mince pies perhaps?
The shop has regular weekly deliveries of local meats, dairy products, apple juice, bread and baked goods. The chilled cabinet boasts a great range of sausage rolls, pasties, pies and more pies. And with gluten free, dairy free, caffeine free and meat free products in stock, it has something for everyone too. Outreach Post Office services available at the village hall – there’s just not enough room in the shop!
A quick glance at the photos on Sandford Community Stores social media and it may be quicker to list what they don’t sell, rather than what they do. The Stores are located right in the middle of the square in Sandford, which in turn is linked by cycle/footpath to nearby Crediton.
Doubling up once again as an off licence and Post Office, they sell all the basics plus a fabulous array of local hand-crafted products such as jewellery and cards in the ‘Art Space’, uber-tasty goodies from Sandford’s own Shelley’s Kitchen , local dairy, game pate, chutneys, spice mixes, eco-friendly products, free-from ranges, woolly socks and the list goes on.
Oh, and not to forget, the fabulous Christmas decorations that adorn the shop each year are made by children from the village school, paid handsomely for their time in chocolate coins. 01363 775805
Church Street Stores in Morchard Bishop
is privately run, rather than community led, but performs an equally key role in the village and beyond. Their small shop has a dazzling array of produce on offer including essential groceries, yummy homemade cakes, pies and pastries and unusual gifts and cards. Like all our village shops, they pride themselves on sourcing their products locally and stocking items made by small businesses such as beautiful tote bags from Lottie & Boo in Black Dog - a great gift idea. Their eco products include Christmas cards that come with forget-me-not seeds. And they have plenty of other ideas for Christmas from stocking fillers to made-to-order hampers of local goodies, for collection or delivery within the village. 01363 877826
Please check the shops’ Facebook pages for their opening hours