At The Outdoors Group, promoting sustainability and creating a good community is at the core of what we do; choosing to shop local and support small businesses not only benefits those within our community and our nearby economy but it’s also better for the environment as keeping things ‘local’ means less carbon emissions – goods don’t travel so far, there’s invariably less packaging and production is done on a smaller, more sustainable scale.
In The Spotlight
When asked to write a blog about my favourite local shops / services / suppliers I needed to look no further than my own village, Chagford, to find my first choice. Here, just about every shop is local; from the butchers to the bakeries, grocers to cafes, pubs, eateries including a mobile pizzeria and fishmonger, newsagent, flower shop, gift shop, second-hand shop and hardware store, not to mention the Community Supported Agriculture scheme, Chagfood. Given there’s so much choice, when it comes to picking a favourite, it’s hard to pick just one! In the end I had to go for…
The folk behind this, Lewis and Flora, are ‘on a mission to revive our beautiful, ancient breeds and…are passionate about farming our flocks in an ethical and sustainable way.’ Not only do they support over 800 sheep on land around Dartmoor which they breed and sell to the public, they also have a retail shop in Chagford where they sell their gorgeous sheepskin rugs alongside a range of other amazing products, all handmade in the South West.
Looking further afield beyond Chagford, I decided to collaborate with colleagues to find some of their favourites local companies. This was an easy task, Devon is full of thriving homegrown businesses, passionate not only about what they do but doing it in a way that nurtures the environment we love. So without further ado, here are some of our favourites:
Based in Ottery St Mary, Alice saw the ‘need for a plastic free cosmetic range (of) great products that worked for everyday uses’ back in 2018 and formulated her first product, a solid deodorant bar shortly afterwards. Now she’s got a range of amazing smelling bars, packed with ethically sourced and natural ingredients. For those looking to eliminate single use plastic from their lives, Pit Tastic is definitely worth a try!
Rafikis is an absolutely fantastic ‘all day brunch’ cafe, based in Ashburton. They create the most incredible vegetarian and vegan food, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and things that taste just phenomenal. Their breakfasts are to die for but they also offer a tempting range of incredible home baked cakes for those with a sweet tooth. And of course, plenty of good coffee and a wide range of loose teas to wash it all down with. So if you’re looking for somewhere for a bite to eat after a walk on Dartmoor or fancy taking a loved one somewhere special, look no further!
If you have children and like spending time outdoors, you’ve probably already heard of these guys. They are serious about mud and play, regardless of your age! Based in mid-Devon, just north of Exeter, they are the home of an incredible adventure assault course, suitable for all ages and guaranteed to result in ‘outrageous family fun’. They complement their 30 obstacles (including bear nets, tunnels, zip wires, climbing walls and much more) with a brilliant cafe serving wood-fired pizzas and paninis for when you’ve finally exhausted yourself and your small people with hours of muddy fun. Definitely worth a day out if you haven’t been already.
Finally, I thought we’d glance at Nourish Zero Waste. They have two shops, in Topsham and Exeter, absolutely jam packed with a wide range of everyday packaging-free food and household provisions. Simply take your own containers, fill them with what you need, weigh, pay and you’re on your way! My kids particularly loved their ‘pick and mix’ of dried fruits and chocolate covered nuts (I convinced myself it was healthier than the traditional version but I’m not so sure really, mainly I just wanted to eat the chocolate covered coffee beans and ginger). It’s a great way to easily reduce your single use plastic whilst simultaneously supporting a local business. Win win I reckon.
This is obviously only a tiny fraction of the incredible local businesses and companies that surround us here in Devon but we wanted to share some of our favourites with you all today. And whilst compiling our list, we realised that even among our colleagues in The Outdoors Group there are a plethora of talented individuals crafting, teaching and creating in various ways. So watch this space as we try to build up our own community within the company by shining the spotlight on some of our very special staff and their small businesses.
Do you have any favourite local shops or services that you’d like to tell us about? If so, please drop us a comment on the blog or on Facebook – we’d love to discover some more!
Authors: Rachel Johnston & Hannah Durdin, Administrators
Date: Sunday 18th October 2020