Opening Hours

Mon: 8am – 7.00pm
Tue: 8am – 7.00pm
Wed: 8am – 7.00pm
Thu: 8am – 7.00pm
Fri: 8am – 7.00pm
Sat: 8am – 6.00pm
Sun: 9am – 1.00pm

How To Find Us

Post Office

Mon: 9am -1.00pm
Fri: 9am – 11.30am

Ilsington Village Shop
Old Town Hill
TQ13 9RG

Tel: 01364 661788


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Parish Magazine Articles

December 2018

Village Shop Talk

‘Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat’ goes the old nursery rhyme, but fat and perhaps apprehensive geese almost certainly pre-date Christianity. Some scholars argue for the origins of Christmas in the Roman feast of Saturnalia, which marked the end of the autumn sowing season in Italy. Others contend that it had more to do with ‘sol invicta’, the feast of the unconquered sun, gradually returning again after the shortest day. The northern European festival of Yule, with its ceremonial log providing light while the sun stood still, relates to the same idea, and it was also the time at which Druids cut mistletoe as the symbol of life.

All these celebrations were marked with feasting and gift-giving, as the nursery rhyme suggests. A turkey as the centre of the Christmas dinner is a relatively recent tradition in England, dating only from the nineteenth century. Before that came the goose, and the advantages of goose-fat for roasting potatoes has seen geese increase in popularity in recent years. A seasonal flurry of baking is also common throughout European countries. Our mince pies, Christmas cakes and plum puddings are matched by German Stollen, Italian pannetone and Scandinavian ginger biscuits.

Ilsington village shop will be rising to the challenge of ensuring that you have everything you need to continue this age-old tradition. You will be able to order turkeys [and geese and chickens?] in advance, and also reserve all the vegetables you need to go with them. There will be some special treats from our regular suppliers – make sure you look at the shelves on the left as you enter the door – and a wide range of attractive Christmas cards. Also look out for the announcement of a mince pie and mulled wine evening to get you in the mood. The shop will close at 5 pm on Christmas Eve, and will be open between 9 am and 5 pm from Thursday 27th to Monday 31st, except for the Sunday half day. Enjoy your traditional feasting and gift-giving, whatever you call it!


Paul Brassley


November 2018

Village Shop Talk

Back in July most people living in Ilsington and Haytor Vale received a questionnaire about their use of the village shop, and we are very grateful to those of you who completed it and returned it to the shop. Most of the returned forms were from people who use the shop regularly, and it would have been good to hear more from those who do a lot of their grocery shopping online or elsewhere. Nevertheless, the survey produced some interesting results, and the shop committee members have now had time to consider and respond to them.

Only a few of the people answering the questionnaire used the shop less than once a week. Most used it at least once, and some three times a week or more, and most people were using it as much as or more than they did in the past, which suggests that the core group of customers is happy with the service that the shop provides. Many pointed out that it’s about more than retail therapy. For them, supporting the community and meeting people are also important reasons for using the shop. However, there were some people who were less satisfied. One of the more frequent complaints concerned the quality and freshness of the fruit and vegetables, and as a result the shop has recently changed its greengrocery supplier to one who promises better quality at competitive prices. It also stocks a range of products from the Fish Deli in Ashburton, Cox and Laflin (the butchers at Ullacombe), Sladesdown Farm at Ashburton and Dartington Dairy. And you may have noticed that it’s recently been redecorated and that the café area has been refurbished and provided with new furniture.

The important point to remember is that we are always happy to receive comments on quality and requests for the things that you, the customers, want. Please ask to have them written in the day book with your name and contact details. We want a shop that really does reflect the diverse needs and tastes of our village.

Paul Brassley


October  2018

Village Shop Talk

In 1958 about 25 million barrels of beer were drunk in the United Kingdom, together with about 15 million gallons of wine. These figures come from that treasure-trove for the numerically fascinated, the Annual Abstract of Statistics. By the time the figures have been converted into comparable units, it appears that wine accounted for no more than 2 per cent of the volume of booze consumed.

Another way of examining our drinking is by what we spend on it. In 1965 beer accounted for 59p of every pound spent on alcoholic drink. The latest figures are from the 2017 Household Expenditure Survey, and show that wine and sparkling wine took 51p of the drinker’s pound, whereas beer only accounted for 22p.

These figures are not quite comparable with the 1965 data because they refer only to alcoholic drinks consumed at home. But at least they support what the baby boom generation will remember: when they were young, wine was nothing like as popular as it is now, and some of it – remember Blue Nun and Hirondelle Red? – would not today be rated very highly. Women may be especially responsible for the change. A study in 2017 by the Office for National Statistics on adult drinking habits revealed that 60 per cent of women who had drunk alcohol in the previous week drank wine or sparkling wine, compared with 33 per cent of men.

We can see the local effects of these national changes in the village shop, where wines and beers are the biggest sellers both numerically and in value. As well as a wide range of beers – the latest is a lager called Devon Maid – there are wines from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Italy and Chile. All of those countries were producing wines sixty years ago, but you would not have found them in a village shop. The shop offers the opportunity to taste a different wine every two weeks, so next time you try one think about how much change a single lifetime can see.


Paul Brassley



September 2018

Village Shop Talk

2018 is a good year for anniversaries. It’s one hundred years since the end of the First World War and the formation of the Royal Air Force, and, more locally, a thousand years since the first Benedictine Buckfast Abbey was founded. Even more locally, it’s ten years since the events that resulted in the building of Ilsington Village Shop.

Hilary and Stuart Morrish had taken over a shop as part of Glebe Cottage in the early 1980s, but in 2006 they sold it to Andrea and David Arnold. In 2008, due to family commitments, the Arnolds were unable to continue running the shop. On September 30th they held an open meeting to tell the local community that they wanted to end their involvement with it at the end of the year, although they were happy for it to be run as a community venture. That was the beginning.

This is not the place – and there isn’t the space – to write a history of the shop and to tell the story of how the money was raised to build it as an addition to the village hall. But at the shop’s Annual General Meeting in June this year, Alan Hobbs, who has been the chair of the shop committee since it was first formed, and Paul Hughes, who has similarly been the treasurer, announced their retirement. They have done an enormous amount of work, and helped to guide the shop from its infancy to its present established status. The whole village surely owes them an enormous debt of gratitude. Sue Norris, who has been the secretary of the committee during those ten years, is carrying on, and Emma Schramm, who was the first shop manager, has now joined the committee, so we continue to have an experienced team in charge. If you don’t already use the shop, you might pop in soon and see what’s happening ten years on, or even think about becoming one of the team of volunteers that keep it going.

Paul Brassley