On Thursday the boys and I met up with a friend and we headed up to Cheddar Gorge for the day. We arrived, parked and went to collect our tickets where the lady advised on the best route to see the caves, village, museum, steps to the Watch Tower and 3 mile walk around the gorge that were included in the price (which is 10% cheaper if you buy online in advance). We wandered up through the village full of small independent tea rooms, pubs and gift shops, where we might just have diverted into a sweet shop and a cheese shop. Well this is the home of the famous Cheddar cheese after all!
Now I have no idea how the opening of a Costa in such a prominent position in Cheddar has affected the small independent tea shops but I can guess it has not benefited them. It also serves to take us one step closer to the total homogenisation of every town and now tourist village. Independent shops are unable to compete with the big chains who take over, creating High Streets that look the same from north to south and beyond. How long before a Starbucks wants a bit of the action in Cheddar and maybe then a Weatherspoons pub, a McDonalds and a KFC? How long before I would not know if I was in Cheddar or Dovedale because they are all full of the same big names and the small independents pubs and tea shops are forced out of business?