A retired nursery owner is set to open a new bookstore in Malmesbury town centre.

Barn Owl Books will open its doors to the public for the first time on Tuesday, August 1, on Oxford Street in the heart of Malmesbury.

The store is owned by Amanda Wallis who worked in the childcare sector, as an owner of several local nurseries, for 20 years before recently retiring.

The 61-year-old is excited to launch the county’s newest book shop and encourage people of all ages to develop a love of reading.

She said: “I can’t wait to introduce Malmesbury locals and visitors to what we’ve created here at Barn Owl Books.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The inside of Barn Owl BooksThe inside of Barn Owl Books (Image: Amanda Wallis)

“I believe anyone can find enjoyment in a book, it’s just a matter of finding the right one, and that’s what we’re here to help you do.

“The support has been incredibly reassuring and I’m proud to be joining the ranks of the wonderful shops and businesses in our historical town.”

While the shop will specialise in children’s books, it will also provide a wide range of books for all interests and ages, spanning four rooms across two floors.

This will include both fiction and non-fiction, with the shelves holding everything from cookery books to sci-fi novels.

A range of clothbound editions of classic literature books will also be available.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The inside of Barn Owl BooksThe inside of Barn Owl Books (Image: Amanda Wallis)

For Mrs Wallis, the business is an opportunity to spread her lifelong love of reading after realising she “wasn’t ready” for retirement.

She added: “The idea came to me in January and then in April a shop unit came up, so I just got on with it.

“I had a clear vision in my head of what I wanted the shop to look like, it’s going to be a smart, comfortable and welcoming space, so it’s a community hub as well as a bookshop.

“I’ve always loved literacy and books, particularly children’s literacy development, so we will be focusing on that and helping parents support literacy in the early years.”

As well as helping children to get into reading, by selling resources such as toys and characters alongside the books, Mrs Wallis will also be providing regular adult book clubs.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Amanda Wallis and Mayor Gavin GrantAmanda Wallis and Mayor Gavin Grant (Image: Amanda Wallis)

The store’s opening day will be followed by an official opening ceremony at 11am on Friday, August 4, which will be attended by children’s author and ex-jockey Charlie Brooks and his Shetland pony Beanstalk.