Fittleworth Stores makes a fabulous Pitts-Stop, for a number of reasons (and yes, those reasons include cake).
As you’d expect, you’ll find Fittleworth Stores in Fittleworth (in School Lane). It’s hard to miss because it’s next to the school and overlooks the green. It is a community-owned and run shop, café and post office, in a rather delightful purpose-built building that has lots of wonderful produce and products. On my visit, there were local pumpkins, cider, pottery, paintings, wine, soaps, biscuits and lots more. It’s also award-winning having been awarded Farm Shop & Deli of the Year 2020.
An inspirational idea
Fittleworth Stores as it is hasn’t always been here and in fact, the original store closed in 2011. Trying to think of ways to reinvigorate the local community spirit and create a focal point, the idea of opening a community village store was born in 2016. It took over two years of fundraising (and some lottery funding and grants) but locals raised enough to build and open the current store … which by the way is tastefully done and has that winning combination of a rustic but modern feel. If you’re passing by with small children in tow, it’s also right next to a newly built children’s playground with some outside seating and a car park.
The welcome at Fittleworth Stores is warm and it’s no surprise that not only did Fittleworth Stores stay open during the pandemic but they continued to serve their community well. The success of this project is tangible and they’ve recently raised funds for and completed an extension to the kitchen and café area such is its popularity.
Coffee and cake
When I arrived at 10.00 am I expected to catch the mid-morning lull. Not a bit of it. There was a steady flow of shoppers and cake eaters, and a great atmosphere as members of the community came together and caught up. My apple cake was so good, I even forgot to take a photo of it and nearly had to go back for seconds. Other delights on the menu include breakfasts, lunches and light snacks, and they do of course have a great “support local” ethos with cakes and bakes from Jengers Bakery (Billingshurst) and coffee from the Edgcumbes Roastery (Ford near Arundel). And you’ll find a list of their many other local suppliers on their website.
Fittleworth Stores is owned and run by volunteers and their enthusiasm and bon ami are infectious. Situated so near to the South Downs and with lots of fantastic local walks, this is one of our top Pitts-Stops of the year!
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