Bishop's Castle bookshop trumpeting about town's link to elephants

As a way of celebrating Bookshop Day and reopening from the Covid-19 lockdown, an independent bookshop in Bishop's Castle has made a big change to its stock.

Art and Artisan Books was remodelled after lockdown and owner Rachel Hawes decided to tweak the stock to include the town's peculiar history – elephants.

The town was recently given funding to carry on with its March of the Elephants scheme – an art trail that will be based in and around the town, celebrating its connection to the giant land dwellers.

Organisers hope the trail will bring in more footfall to the picturesque rural town, which has been linked to the larger-than-life animal since it was believed they were kept there during the Second World War.

"My husband, Bamber, is an artist that made the elephant figures on the Wintles, just outside the town," Rachel said. "He is going to be painting a mural of elephants on a wall soon. It is all part of the March of the Elephants idea from Henry Hunter and a few others to create an art trail to celebrate the town's history with elephants.

"It gives people something to do and celebrate the town's artists. So I thought if people are coming to Bishop's Castle to see elephants they might want to buy a souvenir as well. I will commission local artists to produce works that specifically relate to Bishop's Castle and its history."

Rachel said Bookshop Day was an important day for independent stores like hers, especially after lockdown.

"We are all fighting the big online retailers and we have got to support local businesses," she said. "For us, lockdown has been especially difficult. We get by on footfall that comes past the shop and from people placing orders through us.

"But we also take the shop out to fairs, which is a big part of our income. Wonderwool Wales is a big one for us locally and a big income weekend for us.

"Extra things like Christmas markets are taken away, so it has been difficult. But, it has been a good summer generally for shops in that people have been shopping locally in the UK and that helped but as the weather gets worse this could change."

Call 01588 505053 to get in touch with the shop.

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