Named after a noted coaching inn that once stood on the site, it was an electricity substation and depot until 1996. Signpost Housing Association bought the site in 1999 and developed it in partnership with Swans Trust to provide thirteen badly needed affordable homes, as well as the five retail units and a pedestrian link way between the High Street and Bell Street.
Swans Trust took a 190 year lease in 2001 on the access and ground floor units to develop them as a craft centre, café and community office.
The Yard is Swans Trust’s major on-going project. The retail units are used primarily for small and start-up businesses with a creative aspect, giving small traders a chance to get established with plenty of support and in a community atmosphere. Several businesses have successfully flown the nest and expanded to prime locations in Shaftesbury, Salisbury and Bath.
Swans Yard is now an established, vibrant and attractive part of Shaftesbury town, with many Open Days and events throughout the year – but we are always seeking to further develop its art and craft emphasis.
The Swan Archway
Designed and built by local craftsmen, Dave Tomlin and Andrew du Mont, it was put up by volunteers and opened in December 2003 by Lord Whitty.
This was all made possible through funding from Age Concern, The Town Council, Trinity Trust and public donations.