LUDWELL Stores has been voted the south west’s Village Shop/Post Office of the Year.

It now goes forward to the national finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards, to be staged at the House of Lords in March.

The Grade II listed shop, run for the last four-and-a-half years by Phil and Jo James, was nominated by customers for its excellent service and comprehensive range of provisions. One described it as “the local Harrods”.

Countryside Alliance regional director Alison Hawes said: “Ludwell Stores is so clearly the heart of the village – it received many, many glowing nominations.

“It stocks more produce than you would think possible in a village shop. The support for the area is total, and the local produce on show is a real testament to that: they sell the wares of 24 producers from within 10 miles, 40 producers from within 30 miles and 62 producers from within 50 miles.

“But it’s not just a showcase for Dorset produce, even though the locals value the range and chance to support their local suppliers. It’s about being the hub of the community – people wanted Jo and Phil and their team to win as a ‘thank you’ for all their hard work.”

Mrs James said: “It’s very exciting to get the award. We serve about seven villages around the area, including the Donheads and Berwick, so we have a really good footfall.

“We don’t do a lot of ready meals but we stock a huge range of ingredients.

“All our eggs, milk and bread – all our staple foods – are completely local, and we always offer a local option where we can.”

The shop has a website,, with links to local events, trade services and news, and items for sale – and even to the artists who supply it with greetings cards and postcards.