Roll up! Roll up! to England’s largest village show

Words by:
Julie Sayed
Featured in:
July 2022

The sense of community in Heckington is underpinned by a range of local organisations and the historical links that it maintains through its heritage buildings. And all that is best about the village will be showcased as the annual show returns this month. By Julie Sayed.

Individual posters created by the children of St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School were used as distinctive bunting to decorate the village of Heckington when the villagers enjoyed a bumper packed four days of activities to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Now hot on its heels they are gearing up to enjoy the Annual Heckington Show, which showcases the best aspects of the county and attracts large crowds from far and wide. The Show, which this year takes place on 30th-31st July is a true family day out and always a welcome feature on the county’s calendar.

Big calendar events aside, there is always something to occupy and entertain the residents of this busy village with a population of around 4,000.

“We have in the region of 40 organisations active in the village so residents can enjoy anything from a game of tennis to a swim at the seasonal lido, which is a real asset for the village – or they could belong to the gardening club,” explained Councillor Jan Palmer, chairman of Heckington Parish Council.

“The choice is wide and varied from the more traditional organisations such as Brownies, Guides and Scouts through to various arts and crafts. All ages are catered for.”

Sports enthusiasts are also spoilt for choice: “We have a number of football and cricket teams in the village and good recreational facilities with the large playing field,” said Councillor Palmer.

Situated between Sleaford and Swineshead Bridge and south of the A17 road, Heckington is well served with doctor and dentist practices and is practically self-sufficient when it comes to the provision of shops.

“We have a Co-op, and a good selection of other shops including a traditional butcher’s and a hardware shop where you can purchase anything from a nail to a pudding basin,” said Councillor Palmer.

These are complemented by hairdressers, a beauty salon and dog grooming business among others.

“We have a corner shop whose owners are relatively new to the village but who are very active in the community.

“We can also still offer library facilities. When libraries were closed in the county by budget cuts, we were able to establish one within the council building. This is run by a team of volunteers and offers a reasonable selection of books.”

Villagers and visitors also make good use of the leisure opportunities offered by the Heckington Pavilion and Playing Fields. The Pavilion is an independent, commercially run venture that offers a café bar set in 12 acres of parkland. You can relax and enjoy barista coffee and tea, and tuck into a menu that offers a selection of simple, freshly prepared vegetarian and vegan food. It has an outside seating area with an internal log burner for those cooler days.

Children’s play sessions, aimed at those up to five years old, take place on a Friday and for older members of the community The Pavilion offers entertainment in the form of live music, comedy nights, and even organises charity cricket matches.

“The Pavilion and Playing Field is a welcome feature of the village and the people who run it are very active in the community. There is a new children’s play area and a good perimeter area where people can walk their dogs,” added Councillor Palmer.

Heritage is a big part of Heckington and other than the annual show drawing visitors, another attraction that pulls in the crowds is Heckington Windmill. It is thought to have originally been built in 1830 with five sails. After it was damaged in 1890-1892 it was repaired with eight sails, the cap and machinery from a local windmill in Boston. Today this Grade I Listed structure is the world’s only eight-sailed windmill. In 1986 it underwent extensive restoration, and further upgrades and building work over the years means it is now a popular attraction which boasts a tea room, bakehouse, education centre, exhibition space and shop.

“The recent restoration has been carried out to a very high standard and there is even a microbrewery on site, where you can stop for a glass of beer or make a purchase,” said Councillor Palmer. “The team at the windmill also do a lot of work with children through their Field to Fork concept where they learn the process through, from grinding in the mill to baking in the bakehouse, to enjoying a bun in the café.”

Heckington is one of very few villages in the UK to have its own internet community radio station.

Since its launch in March 2020, Heckington Living Community Radio (‘HLR’) has entertained and helped to keep families and friends connected. Part of the Heckington Living village magazine stable, the station was originally established in response to the pandemic. Since that time it has expanded its roster of live presenters and daily programmes, broadcasting 24 hours a day. As well as music, there are dramas, documentaries, church services and a ‘Live Lounge’. The station is run entirely by volunteers, on a not-for-profit basis.

This year, more than ever, we need a boost to help us feel good, to re-energise and re-connect – and this year, more than ever, Heckington Show is the place to make it happen. By running the small scale show last year, the team kept England’s favourite village show on the calendar and are ready once again to offer a thrilling two-day programme on the last weekend in July.

For 2022 Heckington has pulled out the stops to bring you the very best headline entertainment – look out for jousting, motorcycle displays, national standard show jumping and a Take That tribute band taking to the stage for the Grand Firework Concert. As always, these star attractions come beautifully wrapped within this amazing English country show.

ake in the sights and sounds or just soak up the village show atmosphere. Get a close look at Shire Horses, sheep and cattle in our livestock areas and be amazed by the creativity of both man, woman and nature in our Horticulture marquee. Take a wander to buy some gifts from the myriad stalls, enjoy music, relive history through Lincolnshire’s heritage, fly some exhilarating fairground rides and engage with demonstrations of traditional crafts from pottery and weaving to vintage farm machinery.

Recharge at one of the fabulous food stalls, bringing you the best of Lincolnshire produce (think sausage baps for example) or visit the Food Hall to take home tasty memories of Heckington Show.

The show also comes with a unique sporting pedigree and brings a big programme of cycle racing and athletics on Saturday, complemented by the show jumping on Sunday.

It’s easier than ever to buy tickets online – just go to and give your family a day, or perhaps a whole weekend to look forward to. Spend time on the Show’s comprehensive website and you will also see there are many ways to take part with children’s races in the main ring, the famous 10-mile road race and an array of craft activities for all ages.

Words: George Bell, Show Press Officer and Programme Editor

If you’ve not visited Heckington Windmill since the relaunch, opened by HRH The Princess Royal in 2017, then a trip needs to be at the very top of your to-do list. If you have, you’ll want to come back, if only around one of the Mill’s special events days or to bring friends and family to share the experience.

The visitor centre boasts innovative and interactive displays taking visitors through the history and engineering developments behind the milling process. It opens to the ground floor of the Mill Tower to complete the experience, especially when the mill is working as you literally stand inside a huge machine. The more agile can climb higher and enjoy great views of Lincolnshire.

In line with the best national attractions the Mill has a lovely gift shop and tea-room where you can sit in the shadow of the Mill and enjoy cakes baked with flour milled here. More uniquely, there’s also an on-site Brewery using milled grain for some of their beers.

School summer holiday opening times: Monday 27th July – Sunday 4th September, Thursday to Sunday and Monday 11am-4pm.

If you’re looking for a reputable and reliable company to help resolve your earthworks and groundwork challenges, local specialists SE Hill Ltd deliver an outstanding professional service.

Whether you’re planning to build an equestrian arena of your dreams, or construct concrete stable bases, this friendly and efficient family-run business, which has been established since 1973, will find an affordable solution.

“We take pride in our standard of workmanship which brings us repeat business, with many clients in Lincolnshire,” says managing director Steve Hill. “We specialise in soil and water engineering, land drainage, ditching, site clearance, ground works, laser levelling, foundations, landscaping, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, specialist earthworks and track and roadway maintenance – plus a variety of equestrian services, always making sure that each job is completed above and beyond your expectations.”

For more information visit

Established in 1852, Mountain’s has a long history of supplying quality meat products, including their famous Boston Sausage brand.

Several generations later and the family proudly continues to maintain this tradition with the launch of Mountain’s Abbey Parks Farm Shop in East Heckington, an award-winning business with on-site butchery, bistro, delicatessen and takeaway foods.

As well as the popular in store bistro, which offers breakfast, light bites and weekly specials, you will find an assortment of provisions, fresh produce and baked products in the farm shop, which also stocks a variety of cheeses and selection of meats from the renowned butchery.

Whether you’re planning lunch with family, a catch-up over coffee with friends or inspiration for your evening meal, you’ll find it all under one roof at Mountain’s Abbey Parks Farm Shop.

The shop is open from Tuesday to Saturday 8am-5pm, and Sunday from 8am-4pm.

For more information visit

Photographs: Mick Fox

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