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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the May 2017 issue

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Known as the capital of the Lincolnshire Wolds, this attractive historic market town with its rich heritage, range of independent shops and businesses and wealth of visitor attractions, is well and truly on the tourism map.

Being in the heart of a rich agricultural area, the town is highly prized for its award- winning butchers, grocers, bakers and markets and it can also boast a number of long-established family run firms that uphold the traditional values and personal customer service.

One such firm is Luck of Louth, which was established in 1985 and offers a traditional English country shopping experience. It stocks an extensive range of the finest quality classic countrywear, men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, footwear, leather goods and luggage. Luck of Louth has always focused on providing customers with quality and value from trusted brands and it continues to do so.

Pocklington’s bakery was established in 1924 by Cyril Pocklington, the third youngest of fourteen children of Louth Miller James Pocklington. Best known for its famous Lincolnshire Plumbread, it has won awards for its product quality and customer service in its shops. Although products are not available to buy from the bakery it supplies many businesses right across the county from the Humber to the Wash.

Another award-winning business in the town is Meridian Meats, which has just won a Diamond Award at the national Smithfields Awards in London for its new ready meals and three honours in the British Pie Awards.

It is fair to say that many visitors to Louth are holidaymakers on the East Coast but once they set foot in the town, there is plenty for them to see.

The town’s skyline is dominated by St James’ Church, with its 295ft tall tower, which makes it the tallest Anglican parish church in the United Kingdom. The building of the spire commenced in 1501 and was finally completed in 1515.

The mainly fifteenth-century parish church, the third building on the site succeeding eleventh and thirteenth-century structures, is widely recognised as one of the finest late medieval churches in the country and it is a magnet for tourists from all over the world.

The spire was hit by lightning in 1844 and scaffolding had to be put up so repairs could be carried out. That was when local journalist William Brown climbed to the top to sketch the 360-degree view from the top. He then created two canvases called Brown’s Panorama. It is an all-round view of the town and district as seen from the top of the spire on a summer’s day in the 1840s. It shows the pattern of streets and the market place, with a roofscape little changed today.

The detail of activity in the foreground reflects the life of the town with horse-drawn vehicles, ladies shopping, a funeral, new garden designs, and haystacks.

The Wolds has been a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for more than forty years and is the highest land in eastern England between Kent and Yorkshire, with fine views to the Pennines in the west and the coast to the east.

Louth developed where the ancient trackway along the Wolds, known as the Barton Street, crossed the River Lud. The town is east of a gorge carved into the Wolds that forms the Hubbard’s Hills. This area was formed from a glacial overspill channel in the last glacial period. The River Lud meanders through the gorge before entering the town.

In 1875 a young Swiss teacher, Auguste Alphonse Pahud arrived in Louth to teach French and German to the boys at King Edward VI School. He met and fell in love with Annie Grant, the daughter of a wealthy farmer from Withern, and the couple married twelve years later.

They made their home at The Limes in Westgate but when Auguste retired from the teaching profession, like many rich people of this time, he spent much time travelling extensively.

The inseparable couple were on their way to the continent to improve Annie’s health when she died suddenly in London in 1899. Auguste was inconsolable, becoming something of a hermit.

It all became too much for him and after drawing up his will in July 1902 he also died. However, in his £25,000 will Auguste left instructions that a board of trustees should be set up to distribute his fortune to celebrate the memory of his dear wife.

These seven wise men, who are remembered on the plaque on the memorial in the centre of Hubbards Hills, decided to invest £1,000 to fund a new window in Mrs Pahud’s memory at the parish church.

The Limes was given to launch the Girls’ Grammar School, a fund was set up to assist the poor in the parish of Withern, where Annie’s parents had farmed, and it was agreed to buy Hubbard’s Hills on the outskirts of the town as a lasting memorial to Auguste’s beloved wife.

The land was bought from the Lord of the Manor at Hallington, Mr J Ward, for the princely sum of just over £2,000 – the sale included the lake and the watermill on Crowtree Lane.

Louth Borough Council, which had cared for the Hills since it opened, disappeared with local government re-organisation in 1974, to be replaced by Louth Town Council and East Lindsey District. A Joint Management Committee was formed, comprising officers and councillors representing both organisations, and took over running Hubbard’s Hills with East Lindsey carrying out the maintenance, from cleaning the loos to cutting the grass; collecting the rubbish to overseeing tree and river works.

Late in 2008 Louth Town Council received the unexpected news that the Hills were to be returned to the town! It was agreed to form a charity, which would be able to apply for grants not open to local government, and this came into being on 1st April 2009. The rules dictated that the community had to outnumber councillors on the governing body and five local people with specialised interests joined the group.

A Maintenance Plan was drawn up with help from tree expert, Mark Hudson and Ruth Snelson, the chalk stream officer working with the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB team.

The Hills are now part funded by Louth Town Council and grants from outside bodies.

LOUTH SKATE PARK
Eleven years of campaigning for a skate park facility in Louth have paid off for a group of dedicated parents and completion is just around the corner.

Work on Lincolnshire’s newest skate park is underway and it is hoped that it will be ready to use soon.

The campaign has been spearheaded by community group LouthXSports, which was formed by John and Yvonne Andrews, whose son Liam kicked it all off as a child.

“Liam, who is now 23, started it off with an email to Lincolnshire County Council and it all snowballed from there,” said John.

“We did a site survey, held consultations and in 2010 held a school taster day to establish whether there was a need for a skate-park. It was a good day, well attended by about fifty youngsters and it spurred us on.”

Planning approval was obtained in 2015 and was a unanimous decision but it took a while to decide which was the best site for the facility.

“Once we got approval, we applied for grants and were successful. This wouldn’t be possible without the successful application to the Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Community Trust which gave £38,000 towards the project,” said John.

But it isn’t just the financial support that has helped the project reach its final stage; the support from the community and local businesses has played an important role.

“The feedback on Facebook has been astronomical. Local businesses in Louth have been tremendous, supporting us by having collection boxes and donating raffle prizes. The Residents’ Association at Beech Grove had money allocated to them for a play area for children and they donated £2,000 to the group.

“It has been a local effort and I am really chuffed. It is quite amazing and I have had the privilege of being chair of the group. For a small group of parents it has been a lot of hard work and long nights preparing the bids but we are really looking forward to the opening. This also wouldn’t be possible without East Lindsey District Council and Magna Vitae being in on the agreement.

“They are helping us progress and it is the LouthXSports and Magna Vitae that are going to manage the project.”

International BMX star Evie Wood, who comes from Louth, has supported the project and is a youth representative on the LouthXSports committee. She is ranked 22nd in the world in the BMX cycle championships and has become the skate park’s mascot.

“My children are grown up now but Liam intends to be at the open day and Evie will be there as well,” said John.

MERIDIAN MEATS
Louth is renowned for its award-winning independent traders and one has more reason to celebrate at the moment than most.

Meridian Meats has just won a Diamond Award at the prestigious national Smithfields Awards in London for its new ready meals and three honours in the British Pie Awards.

Owner Jim Sutclifffe said: “Our ready meals are a really new product. We have been making them for just over a year now but we had to put a lot of investment into the business to do it.

“We had to put in a brand new commercial production kitchen, which was quite a big step and a bit of a gamble for us. We are over the moon with the award. It is such a prestigious award and it is a huge category and with them being a new product, it is amazing that we won. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

One thing that took Jim by surprise was that, initially, he thought they would become popular as a midweek meal but, because they aimed at the higher end of the market, this is now a weekend product.

“They have taken the place of the takeaway or eating out in a restaurant. We do a side dish and a bottle of wine for a nice night in. It is growing very well and going from strength to strength. We thought it was a bit of a niche sector of the market and it seems they are working very well.”

Jim is hoping to eventually expand the range and offer desserts, starters and pâtés.

As well as the Smithfields Award, the business also scooped two silver and a bronze in the British Pie Awards.

“That is a difficult competition. To win even a bronze medal there is no mean feat. You could enter six products and not get a medal, so to pick up three is amazing.”

The business has been expanding its bakery over the last twelve to eighteen months and expects to expand it more over the coming year.

“We have gone from not having a baker to having one full-time this year. He has been developing the bakery range with us and the job has grown with him as he has grown with the job,” said Jim.

“Within the bakery department we have made changes and adjustments that have gone right. We use a lot of flour from the Maud Foster Mill at Boston and that is something very key to the way we run the business because we want to keep it local and accountable. We know where everything comes from.

“There is always room for improvement but the way forward is to keep tweaking things and adjusting to make things better all the time.”

Meridian Meats’ shop in Eastgate has been established in Louth for ten years but the business has been going for about fifteen years in total.

COLOUR CLIENTS ARE VIPS
A hairdressing salon in Louth has just undergone a total refurbishment and has re-opened with new management, a new customer focused ethos and a new identity.

The Salon (Louth) in Bridge Street – former site of The Vestry – has also introduced a new element to the salon which is proving highly popular. The VIP Colour Lounge provides a unique customer experience for colour service clients.

Co-owner Adrian Matthews said: “Customers having a hair colour service, where dye or bleach needs time to develop on the hair, now have a comfortable, dedicated waiting lounge to enjoy.

“The lounge offers massage chairs, free wi-fi, charging points for mobile phones and tablets and has a selection of freshly ground coffees, teas, infusions and hot chocolate as well as a range of cold soft drinks.

“As far as we know, no other hair salons locally offer anything similar. The VIP Colour Lounge is something special to us and feedback from customers so far is that people really like the idea.”

Adrian and his wife Julia have totally refurbished The Salon since December when The Vestry closed.

“There is a completely different feel about the place now. A fresh new look, a more professional attitude and much more focused to customer’s needs. It is a nice, friendly place to relax while you have your hair done,” said Adrian.

The Salon provides a range of hairdressing services including haircuts, hair colours and highlights and hair conditioning treatments for men’s hair, ladies hair and children, as well as offering a Sports Massage service and Reiki healing. All first time customers receive a 25% discount too.

STEP UP FOR LUCK OF LOUTH’S NEW SHOE DEPARTMENT
You can now find the area’s best and largest collections of countrywear and footwear all under one roof.

The recent opening of Luck of Louth’s new shoe department has seen the leading brands for ladies and gentlemen all made available within the Eastgate store.

“In the first floor shoe department you will find those quality brands for which we are well known in Louth,” said owner Jim Luck. “These include Josef Seibel and Skechers for ladies and men, plus a fabulous collection of Joules Wellingtons, welly socks, flip flops and accessories.”

Other spring collections for ladies include Rieker, FitFlop, Wolky, Emu, Rohde, Waldläufer, Birkenstock and of course the ever popular Healthy Back Bags. The airy and welcoming department not only has attractive wall displays but also comfortable chairs and sofas in which to relax while purchasing decisions are made.

On the ground floor, the Dubarry spring/summer collections of clothing and footwear carry a nautical theme, with slip-on boat shoes and loafers. Red, white and blue themes add vibrancy and colour to the new season’s collections.

Dubarry boots are the epitome of durable quality as well as style and designs for ladies and gentleman are always in stock. The spring/summer collection for men includes versatile and beautifully engineered jackets such as the Glenview Country Jacket (pictured) priced at £479, as well as fleeces, pullovers and coats.

Close to the main entrance you will find Louth’s best selection of premium craftsman created gentleman’s shoes and ankle boots by Loake, Anatomic, Barbour and RM Williams.

Finally, for the beach and those sunny days of summer leisure, there are flip flops by Superdry or the fun, imaginative colourways and designs of Toms canvas or suede slip-ons.

Step into quality footwear collections at Luck of Louth.

RURAL PROPERTY AND LAND SPECIALISTS
For more than 165 years Masons have upheld traditional business values while supporting the rural community.

Founded in 1850, the Louth based company has evolved and kept pace with a growing demand from their clients for a wide portfolio of land and property services.

Masons’ offices are located in a handsome town house at the head of the Cornmarket. From here their staff provide services to cover all property sectors. Their teams of qualified professionals, including chartered surveyors, valuers, land agents, letting agents, auctioneers and negotiators offer advise and services for residential and property sales and letting, development land, farm and land agency, auctions, professional services, agricultural and farming sector clients. 

The business runs as three divisions: Property Agency and Lettings; the rural property Professional Consultancy and the Louth Livestock Market, which is run in partnership with Willsons Chartered Surveyors.

Masons are well known for their expertise in the sale, letting or purchase of rural and equestrian properties.  Managing partner, Simon Williams, has overseen the expansion of the business moving into the twenty-first century. He said: “Equestrian and residential sales are a natural extension of our land agency services. Each client is offered a tailored, professional solution, designed to meet their financial circumstances and lifestyle choice.”

“Many sectors including lettings and tax planning have become highly regulated,” said Simon, “but we believe that a professional practice goes hand in hand with traditional values to serve successive generations of local families within the local, rural community.

“I get chance to catch up with some of them each Thursday at Louth Cattle Market. Auctioneering and managing the market helps us to keep our roots firmly planted in the Louth community.”

This is perhaps the key to Masons as an enduring and successful company and the strides it is taking towards a third century in business.

DANIELLA’S
Spring into action this season, as the weather’s hotting up – so should your wardrobe.

With collections from Geox, Peter Kaiser, Lisa Kay, Riva, Högl, Unisa and Capollini, this summer you’ll never be short of comfort, practicality and style. Whether you’re wanting to stroll around in a stunning sandal, contemporary loafers or a pick-me-up heel to shake up any outfit, you’ll be sure to find the choice at Daniella’s. Key trends for this summer are metallic, floral and neutral tones in every style of footwear. Sparkles on your sports inspired styles are a big hit too, incorporate them with your favorite trousers for a laidback style.

Why restrict yourself to black for work? Pair your workwear with some colorful pumps for a more cheerful look. The beauty of all these colours and styles is that they are so versatile – the florals, metallics and neutral tones will complement everything from skirts and dresses to jeans and workwear.

Visit the shop today and find your next pair of summer shoes – or maybe more than one…

ORCHID BOUTIQUE
This spring/summer’s fashion trends have us in a wonderful spin, with a colour palette so completely packed full, the only rule for summer 2017 is to wear lots of it.

Stripes and florals, ever the two dependable mainstays of the summer ensembles, are back with more spirit, and pastels are adding their fresh and unexpected mark.

Khaki has emerged as one of the significant trends this spring, paired with acid lime, orange or yellow, and follows through into the autumn collections, whilst navy has become the new black, featuring in every line-up.

Amongst the collections for this spring/summer at Orchid Boutique are new addition Frank Walder, bringing you a fantastic mix and match range of separates that complement other brands including Bianca, Michèle, Monari, Just White and Oui. The boutique’s outerwear range of Geox offers stylish practicality and can be complemented by the Geox range of footwear, available next door at Daniella’s.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND BUILD
Mark Vigrass Ltd Landscaping fits in ideally alongside the business’ fencing and forestry activities. Taking the customer’s designs and plans they can create your garden the way you want it. From the initial idea through to final planting they can offer the complete service, from supplying the plants and materials to manufacturing bespoke rose arches, fruit cages, pergolas, steel edging for your lawn and borders or obelisks to suit your individual needs. From raised flower and vegetable beds to turfing and hard surfacing, they can do it all. From the largest of gardens to the smallest, all homes deserve that special place where the outdoors can be enjoyed all year round.

Mark Vigrass Ltd can design and build all types of gardens and areas from functional gardens to formal gardens, from play areas to walk through wildflower meadows, turning a blank canvas into a spectacular new oasis or alternatively just give your garden a new lift.

For more pictures and information please visit the website: markvigrass.co.uk or call 01507 604201 or 07971 190345.

JEMIMA & DRAKE
Louth has a proud reputation for independent shops, and one of the newest arrivals to Mercer Row, Jemima & Drake, has quickly become another popular destination for shoppers. With a unique selling point in mind, Rachael made plans to open her first store. Aiming to create a store that could serve everyone, Jemima & Drake opened in September, and has been flourishing since.

With clothing brands including Lazy Jacks, Dock of the Bay and Toggi, Rachael has chosen a wide range of items that offers country casual style for ladies and gentlemen. They also stock a fantastic range of childrenswear and babywear, as well as gifts for all the family.

Open seven days a week, pop into Jemima & Drake at 19 Mercer Row. Follow www.facebook.com/JEMIMAandDRAKE/

A VENUE OF MANY FACETS
A luxurious retreat is the best way to describe the Kenwick Park Hotel, which is set within the magnificent grounds of the 320-acre Kenwick Park Estate, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the outskirts of Louth.

From putting to pampering, it has everything anyone would need for a truly relaxing break.

Its championship standard 18-hole golf course is an ideal place to take time out or clinch a deal, while the luxurious leisure club is great for toning up or winding down.

The course greens are matched with fairways carved through mature woodland. Nine lakes and a Grade II listed clubhouse enhance the traditional feel, with quality facilities that include a practice area and professional tuition.

The clubhouse is a beautiful nineteenth-century Grade II listed building, which was originally the Kenwick Estate’s Coach House and Stable Block.

It was sensitively converted to provide all the facilities expected of a prestigious golf club and was fully refurbished at the beginning of 2011.

Guests can also enjoy full use of the state-of-the-art, brand new for 2016 ClubSpa spa facilities which include a twenty metre indoor swimming pool with stunning timber roof ceiling, poolside thermal spa suite with tepidarium, sauna with salt wall, steamroom, ice room, feature showers, foot spas, jacuzzi style spa pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool, ten treatment rooms including two twin rooms, relaxation room for post treatment relaxation and a gymnasium.

Kenwick Park Hotel has become synonymous with hosting classic and unique weddings over the past fifteen years.

In 1995 it became the first hotel in Lincolnshire to gain a licence to hold civil ceremonies, and more recently it also became a popular venue for the renewal of wedding vows, naming ceremonies and partnership registration ceremonies.

Kenwick Park Estate was established as a gracious nineteenth-century sporting estate. It included 160 acres of mature mixed woodland, a period coach house and Kenwick Hall, since converted to Kenwick Park Hotel.

It is within this idyllic nineteenth-century setting that the current owners set out in early 1990 to create a modern sporting estate which today is called the Kenwick Park Estate.

THE BROWN COW
Sitting at the top of Church Street on the junction with Newmarket, The Brown Cow enjoys a sunny south facing position. With this in mind the current owners, husband and wife Nigel and Victoria Hopper created ‘The Crew Yard’, a new outdoor area. With the addition of two large French doors opening from the restaurant, the area becomes an outstanding entertainment space, allowing them to now cater for private BBQ parties in addition to the usual hot or cold buffet options or more formal dining set menu ideas in the restaurant.

Using fresh produce and meat from local suppliers and their own seasonal produce from their ‘Plot16’ allotment, the menu can easily be adapted for the changing dietary and allergy needs of today’s diner.

The well stocked bar has five real ales, an extensive wine list and a popular premium craft gin selection.

The quality of the real ales and the family friendly, relaxed atmosphere has earned The Brown Cow the title of Louth & District CAMRA Town Pub of the Year 2017.

EVE & RANSHAW
Having stood the test of time for over 235 years as arguably the county’s oldest independent department store, Eve & Ranshaw can proudly boast itself as one of Louth’s most enduring success stories.

Voted Countryfile Market Town of the Year 2012, Louth has an enviably eclectic mix of independent shops, making it a real retail destination for the discerning shopper.

Business may have changed over the years but Eve & Ranshaw have kept abreast of the times, adapting to the ever changing shopping trends yet always managing to maintain its ethos for choice, quality, value and service. On the cusp of a new season David Sandwith, Eve & Ranshaw’s owner, is looking forward to a busy summer.

He said: “With the warmer days and lighter evenings we are full of optimism for the future. New brands are joining our already successful portfolio. We are delighted to introduce both Mistral and Brakeburn to our ladies fashion department as the newest additions to our increasingly popular lifestyle offer, sitting comfortably alongside Joules, Weird Fish, Seasalt, Masai and many more.”

BODY COMFORT
Nestling in the middle of Louth lies a haven for those with joint or muscular conditions. Stella Arden & Associates is a well established, long running Osteopathic Practice and is headed up by Stella herself.

With a wealth of experience and a passion for her work, Stella runs a warm and friendly practice which is conveniently situated next to the car park in Broadbank.

Along with her associate partners, Saroja and Antonia, there is always someone on hand to help and advise with every aspect of improving structural flexibility and comfort within the body.

Osteopaths are true family practitioners and can help people with mechanical problems associated with every age, from newborn babies to the elderly.

All the osteopaths use a structural approach as well as cranial osteopathy, which is known for its very subtle and gentle techniques throughout the body.

For any further information or to book an appointment at the Louth practice or at the satellite clinic in Woodhall Spa, please call 01507 608166 or 01526 354324 where Fiona or Ann will be happy to help you.

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