THE disruptive impact of the coronavirus on the town’s traders has been considerable, and will continue to be so for some time yet. The independent shops and entrepreneurs in and around Shaftesbury are brilliant – and many have boosted their online presence to keep going.
Here you can browse magnificent Dorset gifts and produce, perfect for North Dorset ‘expats,’ and for those living here in North Dorset who’d like to send a gift to friends and family further afield.
So enjoy browsing these sites and remember – their highly desirable goods are available online all year round, not just for Christmas.
WHERE TO BUY NORTH DORSET ONLINE:
FOOD AND DRINK
This gluten-free and vegan plant-based food company in East Orchard, Shaftesbury, was created in 2018 by Jasmin Giles, who is passionate about promoting healthy eating, and the positive affects this can have on our bodies, the environment and our general well being. The range of ‘no-bake’ bars and ‘bliss balls’ are made using nuts, seeds, dried fruits and nutrient dense ingredients. It’s health-conscious eating, and G&G works with a yoga retreat and nutritionist locally. Jasmin also runs a catering business as well as selling her treats online.
The Christmas Special box contains the Snickeroo, Maple Pecan, Caramel Crunch, Berry Bountyful, Salted Maca Millionaire, Apricot Marzipan, Orange Zest & Dark Chocolate and Black Forest Bar mini-bites. Every bar is 100% Vegan, made using high-quality whole-foods and is naturally free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars. Choose from a box of 15 or 42 mini bites – from £12.50
Shaftesbury was left bereft when its deli-cum-cafe Turnbulls closed in 2018. Happily, deputy manager Carolyn Hopkins put her extensive knowledge of cheese to set up a new venture: The Truckle Truck, a cheesemonger on wheels. Her distinctive 1969 French Citroen truck Susie is often seen at market in town and elsewhere dispensing her renowned gorgonzola (other cheeses available, some of the finest of this region, the UK generally and overseas) – and now Carolyn has put her fare online, with some 15 cheeses available at the time of checking (plus various biscuits and accompaniments).
Carolyn’s Christmas cheeseboard costs £30/£53 for your choice of four small/medium cheeses with a jar of something and choice of crackers. Choose a blue, hard, soft and goat’s cheese and a range of extras.
There is a 20-mile cycling foodie tour of North Dorset, beginning and ending in Shaftesbury – you can read about it here. The tour runs by The Real Cure, an excellent charcuterie sourced primarily from Dorset pork and venison. Here James Smart is busy curing, smoking and air drying to create a range of salami, chorizo and air dried hams. There’s also some smoked trout. There’s no shop at his farm but you can call in advance (07970 000681) and James will try to accommodate a visit.
His £32 Dorset Letterbox Charcuterie hamper includes Smoked Sloe and Garlic Wild Venison Salami, Wild Venison Chorizo, Pink Peppercorn & Purbeck cider salami, Hartgrove Coppa and Dorset Aberdeen Angus Bresaola. All made from wild British deer, outdoor reared pork and locally sourced ingredients. All items are gluten free, have a minimum 3 month shelf life and do not need to be refrigerated until opened.
The vines were planted six years ago but only this month have Joe and Becky bottled enough stock to start selling. Their limited edition sparkling wine collection includes two Classic Cuvee vintages and a Petnat named Barking Dog. Prices are in the £21-£28 range, and a Col Fondo and sparkling rose wine will follow in 2021. The couple are also selling a selection of cheese and charcuterie boxes for £28 (2 people).
The local cheese and charcuterie box costs £28 and includes three cheeses including Dorset Blue Vinny, Blyton Dorset Brie and Lyburn Garlic and Nettle. The Real Cure, see above, provides Hartgrove coppa, wild venison pepperoni and pork salami – blue vinny and fig.
Jemma began her personal love of plants in childhood: her mother and grandfather were passionate gardeners and she grew up with an understanding of that special relationship between plants and people. She has a degree in Health Science and Medicinal Plants with a specialism in treating skin conditions. She returned to her country roots and set up in Shaftesbury in 2007. All products are Soil Association certified as organic and natural.
The spiced apple and saffron winter soap, pictured, costs £6.95. Rosemary and sage oils, saffron and chamomile oil. Dorset Apple juice and rapeseed oil. Each soap is cured in a traditional process on apple racks to keep them long-lasting. Keep each bar dry in between washes to make them even longer-lasting
The Botanical Candle Co started making soy wax candles in 2014 as an alternative to paraffin. As the business has grown rapidly, it took over the shop premises of Enchanted Plants in Shaftesbury where there is a team of 14 hand pouring, packing and dispatching thousands of candles every month. It’s a story of rapid growth and brilliant marketing – you can also buy direct from their Instagram page on mobile, a thing of wonder (and with 25,000 followers, testimony to the quality and appeal of the products).
The candle pictured, Quietude, is the company’s best-selling candle since its launch in 2019. It is blended with pure essential oils: eucalyptus is uplifting, cleansing and fresh; the floral notes of lavender soften this scent. Frankincense delivers a resinous base note: complex and earthy. Two sizes: £12 or £22.
Willow is a ladies fashion store and lifestyle shop in Shaftesbury which encourages customers to think about what they are buying by promoting and selling “Slow Living.” The emphasis is on items which are natural, organic, sustainable, recycled or made in the UK such as bamboo, re-cycled bottles, sustainable items from wood, linen or cotton and items produced ethically to help struggling societies and fair trade.
The recycled long tea spoons (£24) are made of reclaimed teak. Teak root is considered a waste product and is sourced from certified teak plantations. It is a source of income to many in the rural communities of Indonesia. The reclaimed teak kitchenware is ethically made and sourced in a small village in East-Java and supports the nature and lifestyle of local people in the village.
Lucy Barfoot opened her shop in Swan’s Yard in 2018. Such has been her success that the 24-year-old doubled her floorspace by taking the unit next door too! Plastic-free, affordable and sustainable are her three tenets: a “plastic free, waste reducing store for the earth conscious consumer”. The store also offers household refills in addition to our plastic free products, while Lucy has added a huge portfolio of products online. They range from soaps, bags and accessories to chewing gum, suncream and toilet paper. A range of books has also been added recently.
A wooden shaving brush with vegan bristles is on sale for £10, frequently bought alongside soap with orange and lavender essential oils, soothing aloe vera and clay for a natural velvety lather. “Suitable for men and women: beards, legs and everywhere in-between.” Soap: £2.80 extra.
Another new shop on Shaftesbury’s High Street this year, it specialises in girls’ and boys’ clothes and accessories, with a section on nursery and toys. It’s a mother and daughter operation and has been very well received in the town, with new lines appearing regularly and plenty of stock. The online shop is very well laid out and easy to navigate: shipping is via Royal Mail and allows returns within 14 days. An Instagram page too.
These organic teal and mustard bunny toys are made from tactile organic cotton with floppy soft ears. Perfect for a modern nursery and a beautiful new baby gift – £14.99.
This Semley couple met as furniture design students and, since 2000, have produced bespoke furniture. Then one day… “It was by chance, in the workshop, that a section of ash veneer was left on the lightbox. Inspired by its translucent beauty, we designed our first light, combining a single sheet of veneer and a rectangle of brass. That has since grown into a range of lights, all designed with a regard for simplicity of form and made with attention to detail and finish. You don’t have to become a wood fanatic (like us), but everyone needs a light, so why not make it a great one?”
This is The Moth, a ceiling lightshade in ash or walnut with brass fittings. It retails at £540.
Based near Shaftesbury, with the aim of helping to keep the heritage craft of the Dorset Buttons industry alive. Set up by Anna McDowell, who sells buttons through the Cygnet Gallery, Shaftesbury. Rings, kits and instructions for making Dorset Buttons are sold online at her new Etsy Shop. Workshops also held when practical.
This booklet, The Dorset Button Industry, has comprehensive instructions on how to make Dorset Buttons, including all four ranges of Dorset Buttons and their variations. Areas covered include High Top buttons, Dorset Knobs, Birds Eye and Singleton buttons, Dorset Cartwheels and Blandford Crosswheel buttons. The booklet also covers the Cartwheel variations including how to work with beads and the bouquet and tree buttons. It retails at £6.
Hand made dog coats and terrier tunnels are made from the company base near Shaftesbury. All shapes and sizes, handmade in a range of fabrics including waterproof, tweed, wool and hi-viz. Also harnesses and dog accessories, from collars to toys and beds. The ‘Perfect Fit’ harness offers maximum adjustment to ensure a perfect comfortable fit for all breeds of dog (and cats, even rabbits). The workshop is usually open, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10.30am – 3.30pm. Often somebody is there at other times and days and is open by appointment.
This is a dog lifejacket for small dogs weighing under 7kg, with a Grab Handle and Padded chest straps. It retails for £29.
The jewellery, watch and gift shop in Shaftesbury has been running for 21 years. Martin and Tina Dyer also design and create their own jewellery which is exclusive to the shop, and made by hand in Dorset using fine gemstones and pearls with sterling silver and gold vermeil. There is currently a huge range items in the online shop – necklaces, bracelets and earrings – ranging from £15 to £189.
This pair of filigree sterling silver butterfly wing earrings cost £39.
This is an independent lifestyle boutique on Shaftesbury High Street under new ownership since September 2017, with two floors of shopping and a healthy online store. “Our aim is to provide a beautiful environment to find the perfect gift or outfit,” is the slogan, with Mine offering gifts, accessories, skincare and women’s clothing. The website reflects that, with added sections for children’s accessories and beauty/bathroom products. They are, in the main, small accessory and gift items under £20 – perfect for last minute fillers.
A silver star keyring made from cowhide. Can be used as a key ring or bag/clutch accessory. £10
Jasper has been in the woodworking industry for more than 28 years specialising in timber framing, flooring, joinery, cabinet work and other elements. Now he creates furniture created mainly from reclaimed oak or pitch pine in his workshop off The Causeway, just two miles west of Shaftesbury. Oak tables and chairs, pine tables (from £600), a gorgeous oak coffee table (£325) and mirror (£120) currently feature on his online shop. Bespoke commissions welcome.
This Gnarly Reclaimed oak clear waxed table with folded steel legs costs £350. A bench will cost £180, or £500 if bought as a set. The table is 720mm wide, 1539mm long and 740mm high.
MORE SHAFTESBURY AND NORTH DORSET PRODUCTS AVAILABLE ONLINE
FOOD AND DRINK
* MV Winery: the winery just south of Shaftesbury has its wines and sparkling available online, from £12-£15.
* Stoate & Sons of Cann Mills, Shaftesbury, has been milling stoneground flour since 1832, and sells 1.5kg, 8kg and 25kg sacks online. Make your own bread for Christmas!
* Virginia Hayward hampers is a family firm based in Shaftesbury and employs 70, a figure which trebles in the run-up to Christmas: it sends out 400,000 hampers in December alone.
* Treasures of Dorset is a county-wide shopping portal that includes greeting cards featuring Shaftesbury scenes, and Flaming Coffee products, whose roastery is based in Shaftesbury.
* Designed in Dorset is another county-wide portal that launched in 2019 from its Shaftesbury base. It has expanded its range hugely during 2020 to include artwork, gifts, fashion, home and garden, jewellery, beauty and drink. The retailer has big ambitions and one to keep an eye on!
PANARY runs a selection of one, two or three-day craft baking courses at Cann Mills, a working watermill on the outskirts of Shaftesbury. Class sizes are limited to five places to ensure a small group and friendly atmosphere. You can buy a voucher for £100, or for one of the courses: the price ranges from £185 to £490.
THE Fontmell is a popular pub with a restaurant with six rooms. The pub is built over the village stream in Fontmell Magna and flows between the bar and dining room. Vouchers are available at any value from £25 towards a stay, drinks and/or meal.
COMPTON Abbas airfield is three miles south of Shaftesbury, situated high up on Fontmell Down with stupendous views to the town and far beyond. There is a magnificent cafe and a lively atmosphere, and it is possible to fly in a range of aircraft, including a 1950s Chipmunk, open-air Stearman and a 1940s Harvard warplane. There are endless options, from a 20-minute flight in the Stearman for £180 to a £1,189 package for flights in all three, with lunch, fizz and extras.