Horncastle – gateway to the Wolds

Sitting at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds, this market town is a great stopping-off place for people travelling to and from the county’s coast, says Glynis Fox.

Horncastle is a real blend of the old and new. The town offers a mix of retail and service businesses, a choice of tea and coffee shops, antiques galore, easy walks and interesting architecture.

Many of its shops are run by independents, which means there is every chance of finding interesting buys, including items not found in major high street outlets. The town also has larger companies offering products for the home and a variety of services.

If you are looking for ladies’ fashions and footwear, don’t miss popping into Grace’s Boutique and First Clothing in the High Street, where you will also find Shoes by Grace.

Magpie in the Bull Ring also sells ladieswear, but this outlet offers much more. Prepare to be dazzled, and certainly spoilt for choice, with its wide range of handbags, shoes, scarves, pretty and quirky jewellery and gifts.

This is the sort of shop where you can find eye-catching gifts for friends – and end up buying something for yourself at the same time!

Horncastle is also home to jewellers, beauticians, hairdressers and barbers, accommodation providers, a bespoke florist, furniture shop and more, but you do need to take your time and go exploring to find them all.

Undoubtedly, the town has gained a massive reputation as an antiques centre and you will find shops jammed with collectables of varying ages scattered around the town.

If you are determined to track down a special item from another era, you will enjoy the challenge but, be warned, getting around them all could take all day.

Horncastle Antiques Centre in Bridge Street houses a wide range of individual dealers’ items across its three floors. Great Expectations in East Street is also packed with items collated by various dealers.

Whilst in town, you could also try Laurence Shaw Antiques and The Trinity Centre, both of which are in North Street – and check out Seaview Antiques in Stanhope Road. However, the above is not an exhaustive list, so keep your eyes peeled for others!

Love cycling? If so, you will be interested to know that February saw Greenan Cycles switch to bigger premises.

Owner Jacob Greenan, who had been trading in the town’s Bridge Street for four years, snapped up the opportunity to move his business “over the road” into the former A Hare & Sons premises.

Greenan Cycles sells new, second-hand and electric bikes, as well as cyclists’ clothing and accessories. This well-known business also carries out repairs and attracts customers from around the county.

“I was considering moving and then the former Hare’s opportunity came up and I am now using all of the ground floor, which is four times the size of my previous shop,” said Mr Greenan.

If you are dreaming of revamping your home, by the addition of a new kitchen or bathroom, don’t forget to pop along from Bridge Street into West Street where you will find the independent builders’ merchant Turnbull, whose showroom offers the shopper lots of things to consider.

Tradespeople in need of building, plumbing or heating supplies, or those who carry out a lot of their maintenance work, will be pleased to know that Turnbull’s also stocks goods for their needs, as well as timber and landscaping materials.

Looking for somewhere for a special meal, and even an overnight stay? Why not try the Admiral Rodney Hotel in North Street, The Bull Hotel in Bull Ring or Magpies restaurant with rooms in East Street.
If you enjoy visiting pubs, the town has quite a choice, some of which sell real ales and offer live music. The choice includes The Ship, Old Nicks Tavern – which has its own micro-brewery – and the Kings Head.

The town, which hosts regular markets on Thursdays and Saturdays, also has a playhouse, The Red Lion Theatre, which is found in the Bull Ring. On 22nd and 23rd March, Up Stagers will present an adaptation of the film Shakespeare in Love. It promises love and laughter!

If you love all things American and you want to give your home a flavour of the US – you can do it all by popping into a shop in Horncastle – or selecting goods and accessories and buying them online! Marie Broughton-Myers opened an exciting new shop in the run-up to Christmas. It got people talking and looks set to be even busier as spring takes off.

The Myers family is well-known for its famous Lincolnshire plum bread but now Marie has given shoppers something else to talk about. Marie, who used to have a gifts store opposite the marketplace, has introduced something completely new to the town and it has been well received.

Situated in the Bull Ring in Myers’ former deli – which has moved into the neighbouring bakery area – Marie has tapped into her love of all things American and launched Calm and Coastal. Now you can browse a wonderful range of accessories for the home, which give off a contemporary and relaxed vibe, as well as items which would make unique gifts for friends. Look out for farmhouse signs bearing great messages, stylish utility bags, home fragrances which smell wonderful, soaps and much more.

Marie said: “I have chosen a range of homewares, gifts and items with which shoppers can decorate their homes in American style. They include things that are from America and which I have personally selected.”

Marie welcomes people to pop in and see her changing stock, or they can shop online. Afterwards, they can always visit Myers’ neighbouring bakery, coffee shop and deli area.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, which has its headquarters at Banovallum House in the town, is on a mission to raise £1 million over the next two years to help the county’s threatened wildlife. The challenge, which comes just weeks after the Trust celebrated its 75th birthday, reflects the ambitions of the late Ted Smith, who signed into being a new county trust for nature conservation in 1948. His aim was to stop the destruction of Lincolnshire’s most precious natural habits and the creatures who called them home. Just days after that signing, the fledgling charity officially took on its first nature reserve – Gibraltar Point at the county’s coast.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has come an awful long way since Ted’s ground-breaking steps. It now cares for nearly 100 nature reserves and has a dedicated team of around 70 along with hundreds of passionate volunteers. Gibraltar Point, the Trust’s pioneering first reserve, remains a vital site for wildlife.

Decades of committed shorebird protection have ensured rare little terns still nest there – the only place in Lincolnshire. It is also a stronghold for many other migratory and resident birds. Further north on the coast between Mablethorpe and Grimsby, the Trust manages Donna Nook National Nature Reserve, with its grey seal colony and over 2,000 pups born every winter. In the south it has transformed Willow Tree Fen, near Spalding, from arable farmland to a reserve teeming with nature, including breeding pairs of common cranes. This species was extinct from Lincolnshire for more than 400 years before 2020.

Trust reserves have also celebrated the welcome return of bittern, otters, natterjack toads, several species of birds of prey and more.

Money raised for the Nature Recovery Fund is destined to be spent in four areas: saving species and habitats, inspiring people and connecting them with nature, mitigating the effects of climate change on wildlife locally and securing more land for nature conservation.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust chief executive, Paul Learoyd, said the Trust’s 75th birthday had provided a wonderful moment to reflect on all that had been achieved. “However, with nature in crisis, our plans for the next period in the Trust’s history have to be ambitious,” he said. “It will be a huge challenge if we are to reverse the declines in Lincolnshire’s wildlife and that is why the Nature Recovery Fund is so vital.”

Donations can be made via the Trust’s website or by sending a cheque to the Trust’s headquarters at Banovallum House, Manor House Street, Horncastle LN6 5HF.

Inspired by the beauty of American farmhouse and coastal living, the new Calm and Coastal store offers a unique choice of gorgeous home décor and gift ideas, sourced from the USA.

Situated at 18 The Bull Ring, this charming shop is owned and run by Marie Broughton-Myers, who has a passion for helping customers create beautiful interiors with her carefully curated product range.

As well as having a keen interest in American interiors, one of Marie’s main objectives behind Calm and Coastal was to offer customers the opportunity to purchase items that they wouldn’t normally be able to find in this country and something completely different to other shops.

Among the many gifts and products you will find both in-store and online are stylish cushions, gorgeous home fragrances and accessories, stoneware mugs, jewellery and farmhouse signs, as well as bags, pouches, soaps and stationery.

Calm and Coastal is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 4pm, Wednesday from 10am to 2pm and ​​Saturday from 9.30am to 4pm.

For more information find the shop on Facebook or visit www.calmandcoastal.co.uk

Owned and run by Margaret and Robin Francis and established more than 40 years ago, Ashby Park offers a peaceful taste of rural life located on 70 acres in the south west corner of the Lincolnshire Wolds near Horncastle, with a variety of restaurants, cafés and pubs within easy reach.

This well-run park, with an abundance of wildlife, was awarded the David Bellamy Gold Conservation Award 20 years ago and features seven attractive fishing lakes and a series of clearings occupied by privately owned caravan holiday homes, seasonal caravans and 127 touring pitches with access to electricity, hard-standing, water and drainage.

Popular with fishing enthusiasts, this tranquil holiday retreat offers guests a chance to enjoy relaxing days away from the crowds, with a variety of fishing lakes well stocked with healthy carp, pike, perch, tench, bream and roach.

“We are focussed on providing a relaxed environment for our residents and touring guests,” explains Robin Francis.

For more information visit www.ashbypark.co.uk

If you enjoy excellent quality sound and superb cinema visuals in the comfort of your own home, the expert team at Expressive Audio can help you design a unique tailored experience.

Located on the Revesby Estate in Moorby, near Horncastle, Expressive Audio is a specialist independent family-run business with more than 30 years’ combined experience in quality HiFis and home cinema.

The company offers a range of products, featuring British brands including Arcam, Cyrus, Chord Company, Fyne Audio, KEF and Rega.

“We can tailor a system for a customer all the way through to a complete installation in their own home,” says owner John Nelson.”Come and visit us in our showroom where we’ll help you find the ideal solution to home entertainment to suit every requirement and budget.”

For more information, call 01507 499047, visit the showroom at Moorby Yard on the Revesby Estate, or visit www.expressiveaudio.com

Established in 1992, Askews Furniture has been serving Lincolnshire for over 30 years from its three unique Lincolnshire locations and championing some of the best British manufacturers.

“This month we would like to shine a spotlight on one of our favourite British brands, Hill & Hunter, a furniture manufacturer specialising in Living, Dining and Bedroom furniture hand-made by master craftsmen and women in Somerset.

“You can choose from a selection of stunning paint colours or classic oak stained in a variety of finishes. We have displays for you to view at our Horncastle and Alford stores as well as on our website.

“Hill & Hunter also offers a bespoke size service on most of their ranges, so if you have an alcove that’s crying out for a bookcase, then this is the perfect solution – simply get in touch with your sizes and requirements and we will supply a no-obligation quote.”

For more information visit www.askewsfurniture.co.uk

The Sir Joseph Banks Society’s Natural Science and Heritage Museum is launching a series of family learning walks and activities which will run from April and then monthly through to October with a “fungi forage” as its finale.

“Focussing on the Lincolnshire Wolds, marsh and coast, our family learning groups will explore the rich diversity of flora and fauna within these areas and introduce people of all ages to the wild creatures that live in these habitats,” explains Paul Scott.

“Mindful that our young people may become future naturalists, they will receive training in identification skills and conservation. While it is anticipated that these walks will attract mainly young people within our local schools, a wider group of people are also welcome to join us, and we hope to engage others such as parents or anyone wishing to learn new skills and explore the natural world.”

The museum, which has a tribute garden, houses a large variety of natural history collections, an extensive library, and a standing Sir Joseph Banks exhibition.

This summer’s exhibition, which runs from July to the end of September, features the theme of flooding, environment and climate change, as well as how global warming and rising sea levels will affect the world, including Lincolnshire.

Visitors can also volunteer at the centre and learn a variety of new skills working on collections, exhibitions, marketing and IT, plus much more.

The centre is open on Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Please check website if travelling any great distance.

For more information visit www.joseph-banks.org.uk

Situated in Horncastle’s market square, Just One More Bike is a family run bike shop specialising in leading brands such as Raleigh, Lapierre and Corratec, as well as a bistro. The shop offers servicing and repairs and customers can enjoy more than just coffee and home-made cakes in the bistro, with indoor and outdoor seating plus a licensed bar offering a delicious menu, including cocktails, with alcohol-free options.

Owners Paul and Amanda Sanderson aim to promote mental and physical good health in the community, hosting charity quiz nights, coffee and canine meets, open mic sessions, pottery and bike repair classes, as well as Bro Pro UK evenings.

“Our Bro Pro UK events provide a safe place for guys to meet and talk and encourages peer-to-peer support, while cycling promotes a feeling of wellbeing too. It’s a great way to improve your fitness and heart health and releases bursts of endorphins, feel-good transmitters, which can make all the difference.”

For more information visit www.justonemorebike.co.uk

Photographs: Mick Fox

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