Shepherds Shop, in Parkmill, was founded in 1896 by the Shepherds family. It began life as an "outpost", a small village shop frequented by locals and travellers. As day-tripping became more popular, so did the beautiful Gower peninnsula and Shepherds became well known as a stopping off point for well-off families with cars and Sunday school groups. The original shop was situated where the existing shop is now. Later, a cafe was built alongside, with granny Shepherd cooking food in the cottage next door and running up the garden path to serve her customers. The original shop was demolished in the early 1930's and the current building constructed in 8 weeks at a cost of £600.
During the Second World War the cafe was the hub of the village, and many of the American GI's who were based at Kilfrough Manor near to Swansea airfield, attended tea dances at Shepherds cafe with the local girls. On one particularly lively evening the wooden floor of the cafe collapsed under the weight of their dancing shoes, the GI's returning the following day to make good the damage. Films were also shown in the old cafe, and in the days where tv's were a luxury, news footage was shown regularly. The cafe was closed the day after JF Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and the building, so "with-it" in its day, was left to decay, being used as a shed for extra storage.
Many people write fondly of Shepherds, and indeed, the late Sir Harry Secombe wrote of his "courting" exploits in and around Parkmill. The shop has always been famous for its ice-cream, and countless doctors have prescribed a visit to Shepherds to children suffering from all sorts of ailments - from tonsillitis to glandular fever as its ice cream was so full of goodness.
In 1996, when Shepherds was 99 years old, the Shepherds family retired,and sold the business to us, Nick and Emma Hopkins. We too were taken to Shepherds as a treat by our own parents as children and had a great deal of love and respect for the place. We have tried to retain as much community spirit within the shop whilst making gradual improvements. We renovated the shop in 1997, extended the range of ice-cream, built the new cafe extension in 1998, and had always planned to do something with the old cafe.
What stopped us was a visit to a fortune teller whilst on a belated honeymoon to Florida, who, completely out of the blue told us "never get rid of the shed"!! So, it's taken a long time, and 10 years (4 of which were spent agreeing design and obtaining planning permission) and 2 children later, we have decided that our future lies in holiday accommodation. Seeing Tesco delivery vans pass the shop dozens of times a day has shown us that people shop differently these days, and our grocery customers are primarily holiday makers, visitors and "oh gosh I forgot to get milk" customers. Our passion for Three Cliffs has grown over the years and we have never taken for granted its breathtaking beauty. Since the children and dog have come along, we use it increasingly - it's our front garden - and we sincerely want others to share in the enjoyment of such a magical place.
September 17th 2007 work finally began, and with completion guaranteed in time for Easter 2008, it really was all hands to the deck to get them ready on time. Our first guests arrived on 19th March 2008 and we've been flat out ever since. It’s been 12 years now and we’re still going strong, welcoming new guests and seeing familiar faces return year after year. The cottages are constantly being upgraded and our attention to detail remains as keen as ever.
We retired from Shepherds Shop in December 2019 with the intention of focussing on the cottages and enjoying a bit more free time, the shop being sold to a young couple ready for a new challenge.
We look forward to meeting and greeting you in the not-too-distant future.