Great Torrington is inviting prospective shoppers to take the Mayor’s Christmas Challenge this festive season to try and buy as many gifts locally as possible.

The sparkling range of independent shops in the town centre offer everything from quirky gifts, toys and antiques to pet supplies clothing, crafts and everything in between.

Traders and the town are very much open for business as they put recent upheaval from roadworks and closures behind them.

It is hoped as many shoppers as possible will visit Great Torrington to experience the huge range of gifts ideas on offer but also to make a day of it and enjoy a spot of lunch or take a stroll as well.

Visitors can take advantage of free parking at the Sydney House Car Park in the town on Saturday, December 14 and 21, with Great Torrington Town Council covering the cost from 8am to noon - it is free thereafter.

Sydney House and Barley Grove are both free on Christmas Eve too.

Torrington mayor Keeley Allin has challenged shoppers to buy as many Christmas gifts as they can in the town.

She said: "There are so many lovely independent shops where you can buy many of your Christmas presents."

The town centre had to go through a recent five week closure while paving was replaced but now traders are hoping that is behind them and they can have a merry Christmas.

Jayne Wafforne at Whisker's Pet Centre said: "Now that the town is open for business we would welcome as many people to come and support us as possible.

"We are a very friendly town with an array of independent shops, while our pannier market is renowned for its welcome and splendid range of quirky goods for sale.

"We would be really happy for people to come and see the work that has been down in the town centre, have a nice lunch here and take a walk on the Commons.

"It's very dog-friendly, including many of the cafes, with stunning views and people can come and make a day of it."

There are markets at the Pannier Market on Fridays and Saturdays, plus a wide range of entertainment at the Plough Arts Centre as well as many community events at The Bickford Centre and the Town and Community Hall.

On Saturday, December 21, the Great Torrington Cavaliers Christmas Giveaway will be held in the Square, with Father Christmas, mulled cider, mince pies, cream and hot chestnuts from 10am until 12.30pm.