A new food business in Somerset has brought a touch of Africa to a road best known for a historic British landmark.

Joining Stonehenge in the list of destinations along the A303 is Teals, a food store, restaurant and takeout in South Cadbury, Somerset. It can trace its origins to a trip undertaken by founders Ash and Nick Sinfield decades ago, when they were in their early 20s. Travelling by bike, the couple retraced the journeys of 19th centrury explorer David Livingstone, starting in Kenya and ending in Cape Town.

“During our expedition, we bought a lot of our food from very simple family farm stalls on the side on the road and in villages,” says Ash. “That’s where the original idea for Teals came from.”

Thoughts of bringing the same level of warmth and localness to the side of the road in the UK stayed in the back of their minds for decades, during which Ash pursued a career in branding and marketing and Nick became an entrepreneur.

“We got to a point in our lives when it resurfaced,” she says. “The sustainability agenda had become more prevalent and we started thinking about the idea more and more.”

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This developed into the concept of a store and restaurant hub that could connect passers-by to the region and the community to producers and makers, offering local and seasonal produce alongside prepared food.

“When you travel the UK, you can sometimes find yourself in a hostage situation when it comes to amenities,” adds Ash. “We wanted to challenge the norm in terms of roadside hospitality and in some ways become a disrupter in the sector.”

“We found this amazing location, which is halfway between London and Cornwall, where there was very little on the side of the road. There is a bridge, so we are accessible from both sides of the A303.”

The metal-framed building was designed so it would fit comfortably in the surrounding rural landscape while including some personal influences drawn from their own travels. This includes a covered stoep (veranda) at the front and around the back that people can sit under, a corrugated iron roof and extensive timber cladding.

“We want people to feel it is a space they want to spend time in rather than a space that just serves a function,” says Ash. “Retail and hospitality enviornments shouldn’t be standardised, they should be emotive.”


Source: Teals

The timber cladding used inside the metal-framed building has all been reclaimed from a single old barn, while the flooring is concrete. Potato crates from a local farm are used extensively, with storage space inside and lids on top for displaying products. Alongside the restaurant is a butchery, a deli and a cheese counter selling only British heritage cheese


Source: Teals

The kitchen, described as the heart of the business, has been left open so customers can see the chefs working. Each day, it prepares the food for Teals’ 50-cover restaurant and the shop’s deli


Source: Teals

A corrugated metal wall breaks up the interior timber cladding. Teals offers a wide range of refill products, including dried goods and milk


Source: Teals

The store is named after Teal, one of the children of founders Ash and Nick Sinfield. The logo and many of the graphics used across the business were designed by agency Pearlfisher


Source: Teals

90% of the electrical requirement of the building is supplied through solar panels on the roof. Sustainability is a big part of the operation, which is in the process of attaining B Corp status. Activity has included planting around 700 new trees, while honey is produced from on-site beehives


Source: Teals

The corrugated iron roof, inspired by simple roadside African stores, has been gently sandblasted to remove the shine of the metal and to encourage it to rust, while the exterior timber cladding has been limed to give it patina. Planting beds contain brightly coloured Somerset plants to give the ‘wow factor’ when customers approach the building



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