The best of town & country

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
February 2016

Welton, just six miles outside Lincoln, may be thought of as a quiet commuter village but it is increasing in popularity as its charm, uniqueness and easy access is appreciated more and more.
With everything on the doorstep, there is less need to travel into the larger neighbouring city and as the amount of traffic on the roads increases, more and more people are making the most of what village life has to offer.

There is a wide range of retail outlets in Welton including two small supermarkets, a butcher, a flower and gift shop, hairdressers, newsagents and numerous takeaways to name but a few.

It boasts a public house, the Black Bull, which is said to be haunted, a library, village hall and sports and social club, as well as a Golf Centre of Excellence in the Manor Park Golf Club, a caravan and camping site and a number of new small independent businesses which are going from strength to strength.

Welton is, by all accounts, a growing village with planning applications already granted to Beal Homes for 350 houses to be built on land off Prebend Lane, to Turley Farms for sixty-three homes east of Hackthorn Road and plans for fifty homes to be located on Halfpenny Close.

New businesses that have established themselves in the village all sing its praises and say they chose the location because of its welcoming, friendly atmosphere.

Christa Brimley, who set up her sewing business the Wardrobe Mistress in the village six years ago, described it as village for all: “Welton has everything on the doorstep. It is quite a remarkable and vibrant village with a huge spread of ages. It is an exceptional village and a welcoming place to live.”

Daniel Gibbs, owner of Ignite Stoves and Fireplaces, also selected Welton as the place to base his business and it is just about to expand for the second time in just three years.

“The reason we chose Welton for our showroom rather than an inner city location was because it was a nice place to visit, and it offers a less pressured environment for everyone that comes in,” he said.

Other newcomers to the village are Olivia Barton and her partner who took over The Farmers’ Restaurant and Bar just eight months ago. Their plans for the business include a children’s play area and a farm shop which will attract customers from far and wide.

“We took over in June last year and started to get the beer garden open but we ran out of summer time,” said Olivia.

“But we are going to introduce a children’s play area and are planning to have a farm shop in the back which we hope to open spring/summer time this year, selling all Lincolnshire produce.”

The restaurant and bar are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays but it serves an à la carte menu throughout the week, has a curry night on a Wednesday and a fish and chip night on a Thursday.

“My partner is head chef and is very experienced, having been a chef for a long time. He trained in London and has worked in top restaurants,” said Olivia.

The couple live in Lincoln and heard the premises were up for offer so took a look.

“We fell in love with it and the rest is history,” said Olivia.

As a Golf Centre of Excellence, Welton Manor Golf Club does much to put the village of Welton on the map. It is naturally a favourite venue for golfers from near and far who wish to experience the course and take advantage of the facilities available.

The golf centre is set in 120 acres and is a successful farm diversification by local farmer Charles Ottewell and his sons Andrew and David.

It offers eighteen holes of challenging golf to suit all levels of players and features tree-lined fairways, lakes and meandering streams. But there is more than golf available at the Welton Manor site. It also has a very successful restaurant and bar, which is also the club house, a coarse fishing lake and a Caravan and Camping Club site.

“We take pride in the maintenance of the course, ensuring that golfers can make the very best of their skills in the game,” said David Ottewell. “Last season was busy and very successful. The weather was really kind to us. Although we didn’t get a lot of hot weather we had dry weather, so it was a good season. The course has matured such a lot that it was the best it has ever been last year.”

David said it was a pleasing year.

“We got lots of good reports on the quality of the course and the way it played. We had a really good all round strong year last year with everything related to the golf, both membership side and visitors as well.

“We had some really good catches on the lake, the biggest was a 33lb carp, and the caravan park was really popular. The fishing side definitely improved last year because it was more popular and people have been getting better catches.”

There is also a driving range on site which is floodlit and open all year round until 9.30pm at night, so is perfect for children and adults alike and it gives people somewhere to start when they are not ready to go out on the course.

“The Falconer side which is the bar and restaurant and has a function room for weddings and parties is really popular but it also duals up as a club house,” said David.

“It has its own identity. People regard it as a normal restaurant rather than identifying it as part of the golf club.

“We encourage non-members to come and use all the facilities. It is very friendly and welcoming. Rather than being a stuffy type atmosphere we have tried to make it feel relaxed for visitors and members alike.They all intermingle and people can meet friends and families here.”

David feels it is very important to have as many facilities as possible.

“It gets you away from relying solely on the golf and it is successful that way and it is better for the staff as well. They all multi-function. They work on the golf side as well as the bar side. Everyone is trained to be able to work all aspects of the business.”

The Black Bull pub also spreads the name Welton far and wide, being steeped in history and with links to the infamous Dambusters.

An old coach house situated not many miles from the RAF camp at Scampton, it was well known as the ‘local haunt’ of Guy Gibson and his Dambuster colleagues.

Guy Penrose Gibson was the first CO of the Royal Air Forces 617 Squadron, which he led in the Dambusters raid in 1943, resulting in the destruction of two large dams in the Ruhr area. He was awarded the Victoria Cross and died later in the war.

Welton is home to one of the finest collections of woodburning, multi-fuel stoves and fireplaces in Lincolnshire thanks to a local family-run business.

Ignite Stoves and Fireplaces has just celebrated its third year of trading in the village and is already planning its second expansion.

Owner Daniel Gibbs said: “We concentrate on very high end products which will be targeted more to individual home builds, which is a much more niche market.

“We are due to expand our showroom this year and are having renovations done in the summer ready for next winter. We will have an opening date in September to launch the new products and the expansion of the showroom.”

The showroom, located at The Stables on Lincoln Road, offers a welcoming place for customers to browse the products on offer at their leisure.

“The reason we chose Welton for our showroom, was because it was a nice place to visit, and it offers a less pressured environment for everyone that comes in,” said thirty-year-old Daniel who has been in the fireplace industry for about eight years.

“The showroom is full of character and suits the products and there is plenty of parking. There is no rush and, because we are not dealing with people coming into the showroom all the time, we can spend more time with customers.

“The main thing for us is customer service. We are middle of the road for prices, competitive, but we are prepared to go that extra mile.”

From a free initial site survey through to product choice, installation and after sales maintenance, Ignite’s expert team will be there to guide you.

“We started with a very small showroom. We have had one extension already. We built up a good reputation and a lot of our customers come back, so we make our customers feel they are being looked after.”

Welton is a very self-sufficient village with a diverse range of businesses serving the community, including a number of small independent ‘cottage industry’ types such as the Wardrobe Mistress run by Christa Brimley.

Christa first learned to sew when she was eight years old but never made a living from her skill until she came to live in the village six years ago.

“I am a newcomer to Welton,” she explained. “I spent my whole life doing office-based work but when I moved to Welton from Alford I didn’t want to do an office job anymore.”

It was when a friend had to go into Lincoln to have some trousers shortened because she couldn’t do it herself that Christa came up with the idea of setting up her own sewing business.

Christa said: “I thought I can shorten them and do any sewing so I spoke to my partner, set myself up with a workshop and advertised in the village magazine.

“It has blossomed from there through word of mouth. My mother was a tailoress and taught me how to sew but I never tried to make a living from it before.”

Christa now has lots of regular customers from all around the area including from Lincoln, Dunholme and Nettleham.

“People come back time and again,” she said. “If it needs sewing I do it. One day I can have pairs of trousers to shorten. The next I will be shortening curtains or altering prom dresses.

“I go out to people’s homes. I pin, measure and work on the dress in the workshop and then I will go out on my pushbike and deliver it back to them. It is brilliant. Welton is an exceptional village.”

Christa has lived all over the place and describes Welton as a very welcoming place to live.

“I have made some good friends,” she said. “Welton has everything on the doorstep. It is quite a remarkable and vibrant village with really good schools, two churches that are so involved and have big congregations.

“We have a huge spread of ages. There are a lot of retired people but because of the good schools, we get families as well, so there is a real cross section.”

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