PRESERVING THE VILLAGE SHOP: AN EXPERIMENT IN MID WALES. DAVID A KIRBY Kirby, David A. 1985: Preserving the Village Shop: An Experiment in Mid Wales. Cambria, Vol. 12 (2) pp. 155 to pp. 178. Part II of Davies, W.K.D. (ed) Human Geography from Wales: Proceedings of the E.G. Bowen Memorial Conference. ISSN 0306-9796. The decline in the numbers of village shops has been particularly marked in the settlements of Mid Wales. A review of the rationale for preserving these shops is followed by a summary of the results of a training programme designed to increase their economic viability. David A. Kirby, Dept. of Geography, St. David's University College, University of Wales, Lampeter, Dyfed, Wales, U.K. SA48 7 ED. Since the mid 1970's, there has been growing concern in Britain over the decline of the small, local shop. Although by no means confined to rural areas (Dawson and Kirby 1979), it is the decline of the village shop which has attracted the most attention. In urban areas the phenomenon is often accompanied by the growth of large new stores and alternative retail formats; in rural areas this is not the case, closure of the local shop becomes a further manifestation of the rural accessibility problem (Moseley 1979; Nutley 1983). In an attempt to alleviate the problem various initiatives have been introduced by the agencies responsible for the planning and development of rural areas. In England, the remit of CoSIRA was extended in February, 1982, to include retailing and subsequently a national retail officer was appointed to develop and co-ordinate a programme of support for England's village shops, possible support measures having been identified at a conference held in Gloucester in May, 1982 (Development Commission 1982). In Scotland, the Highlands and Islands Development Board, while not holding responsiblity for the whole of rural Scotland, has been active in providing support to village shops in its area, being influenced in its approach very largely by the programme of financial support provided by the Nordic countries of Finland, Norway and Sweden (Ekhaugen et. al. 1980). In Wales, the initiative has been pursued most vigorously by Mid Wales Development (the agency responsible for the development of rural Wales) which has adopted a policy of 'soft' support i.e. the provision of a training and advisory service. It is this programme of support which forms the subject of the paper. Before considering the programme in some