A VILLAGE where "community spirit" and a sense of working together prevails has been named one of the best in the country.

While the Telegraph's 'travel experts' decided their list of Britain's 30 greatest villages, I decided to step outside the office and visit one for myself.

Cranborne ranked seventh out of thousands of villages dotted around the country and luckily it's just a 30-minute drive from Salisbury.

First stop, a self-taught cheesemaker named Peter Morgan who runs the Book and Bucket Cheese Company on the outskirts of the village with his wife Mandy.

Salisbury Journal: Peter Morgan in the Book and Bucket's cheese cellar.Peter Morgan in the Book and Bucket's cheese cellar. (Image: Newsquest)

The five-man operation supplies more than 120 shops and businesses across the south with 12 varieties of artisan cheese.

Peter, who formerly managed Woodlands Dairy, started the business in 2019 and saw incredible growth during lockdown since more people turned to local suppliers as some supermarkets failed to keep up with a spike in demand.

Describing Cranborne as "a real foodie hub", Peter explained how local independents have created a community built upon the foundations of collaboration and sharing.

Peter understands the solitude attached to owning a business and feels grateful that there are many other independent business owners in Cranborne whom he can call upon for help if needed.

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Pub, restaurant and shop owners in Cranborne try to use village suppliers such as Book and Bucket to source and sell local goods as much as they can.

Freeholders Karen and Gavin Maltman took over the Sheaf of Arrows in November 2022 which Lord Cranborne had bought in a bid to save from closure.

The couple have spent the last two and a half years building the pub up to what it is today. Their goal was to create a cosy, welcoming environment where regulars and visitors feel comfortable to relax.

Salisbury Journal: Karen and Gavin Maltman run the Sheaf of Arrows.Karen and Gavin Maltman run the Sheaf of Arrows. (Image: Newsquest)

All manner of locals, walkers, cyclists and occasionally Vikings visiting the Ancient Technology Centre pass through the doors of the Sheaf of Arrows.

Karen explained how the village's establishments each offer something unique, with her pub's offering leaning towards traditional, home-cooked pub food with rooms.

The pub's alcohol selection features many local breweries, including Rude Giant, Hopback and Sixpenny Brewery.

Karen, who grew up in Wimborne, said: "Even though it's just down the road it feels almost a world away. There's a lot packed in here. It's a peaceful village with lots of bold characters."

Opposite the pub, Mark and Emmanuelle Hartstone own La Fosse, an authentic restaurant and B&B.

Mark, the chef proprietor, has lived in Cranborne for 17 years and can't imagine living anywhere else in the world.

Salisbury Journal: Mark Hartstone owns La Fosse.Mark Hartstone owns La Fosse. (Image: Newsquest)

"Obviously it's nice to go to the New Forest or the beach but whenever you go traveling it's always a wonderful, uplifting feeling as you drive back into the village," he said.

"It's not a chocolate box, pretty-pretty village. It's attractive but over the last 20 years it has transformed with the amount of businesses. Whereas a lot of villages aren't vibrant, we've got a real choice of places to eat, drink and stay."

The village's vibrancy stems from the relationships built between Cranborne Estate and private enterprises to support each other, according to Mark.

This is helped by the fact that many villagers work within the village rather than travelling to larger towns or cities.

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"It's quite ahead of it's time in terms of self-supporting. We want to see the whole of the village flourishing" added Mark.

A community orchard was recently established to strengthen the village's self-reliance, offering Mark a hyper local source of produce.

Vik Patel at Cranborne Stores has built somewhat of a village hub and a place for local suppliers to stock their goods.

Salisbury Journal: Vik Patel runs Cranborne Stores, the village shop.Vik Patel runs Cranborne Stores, the village shop. (Image: Newsquest)

Complete with a Post Office and a Meggy Moo's milk station, the shop also gets involved with local events such as the bi-annual village fete.

Vik, who has lived in Cranborne for five years, thinks the "community spirit" sets the village apart from others.

"It's fantastic to live here, everyone comes to help each other out," he said.

There's plenty more to explore in Cranborne with plenty of walking routes and other independent businesses including the Garden Centre and cafe as well as the Fleur De Lys Inn.