In an era where chain stores dominate many high streets, it can be difficult to find an individual shopping experience.

But Settle is one location which offers shoppers, both locals and visitors, a varied and unique experience, which makes an enormous contribution towards the town’s character.

Independent traders are the life blood of the town, which also has a vibrant weekly market, with events such as the summer ‘flowerpot festival’, which recently came to an end after a season of providing clever and humorous displays across the area, supported by businesses to help draw in visitors.

Mark Dale, of Settle Chamber of Trade, said: “Settle has mainly independent shops and they are mainly owner-operated.

“We have a lot of cafes and restaurants, so it is a good place to visit, but retailers cover both tourism and serve the town, with a range of shops for everything you might want in a small town.

“We also have a market on Tuesdays, with a good range of stalls and ample car parking.

“The flowerpot festival has been supported by householders and businesses and has been a great attraction for the town.”

Among the more recent shops to open in Settle is Shoespeak, which retails ethically made shoes produced in South Africa and is the UK’s only outlet for the brand.

The shop was established in December last year by Andrea Ward, who was a keen customer for the shoes when she lived in her homeland.

She arrived in Settle three years ago and saw a similarity between the town and a community in South Africa, which had an outlet for the shoes she now sells.

The idea was born and with help from the authorities she was able to establish the business.

She has found the community of traders a great assistance: “We all help each other out, it is a wonderful community,” she said.

That approach helps to keep the town centre thriving and Andrea said: “I recently had a customer from Newcastle and he said it was the first place he’d been to with no empty shops.

“That is one of the reasons Settle looks so attractive to visitors.”