Lydia Wood who launched an antiques trail in the Devon town of Ashburton last year, pictured in her currently closed shop, In a Nutshell Antiques & Interiors.

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This signposts all 11 of the small town’s antiques and vintage shops and has been a boon in attracting both locals and visitors.

This year’s lockdowns have meant big challenges for these businesses but the traders are showing their innovative skills to drum up trade – including a virtual tour.

Wood says: “At the beginning of this year only a small number of the antiques trail dealers sold online. There was a scramble during the first lockdown to adapt their businesses and so we are certainly far better prepared in the second lockdown, with the majority of our dealers having some form of online presence.

“Nearly all our dealers use social media and have large loyal followings who eagerly await new items to be posted often before they hit the shop floor. ‘Shop Tours’ are popular selling methods – the dealer takes a video around their shop showing what stock is available. Some of us also rely on our own websites selling to existing customers.”

Other dealers use third-party platforms and here “both UK and international sales are strong”.

Wood adds: “I have been posting many small gift items – boxes, silver and collectables – to America and Europe. I’m seeing good furniture sales online here all over the UK. The housing market is still booming and with people moving house they naturally need new furniture and chests of drawers, kitchen tables and bedside tables are all extremely popular at the moment.

“Online is certainly proving to be a valuable lifeline during the second lockdown and one we must make the most of.”