Villages have the edge

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
October 2013

If you are looking for a place with fantastic panoramic views, a pro-active community and everything on your doorstep, then pick any one of the villages that lie on the Lincoln Escarpment.
Known as the Cliff Villages, they are ideally situated for easy access to the bigger towns and cities like Lincoln, Grantham, Sleaford and Newark but each has a unique character of its own and, in the case of Navenby and Waddington, vibrant high streets with shops and businesses catering for all needs.

The centre of Navenby is a designated conservation area with many of the stone and brick-built houses dating back hundreds of years. More than twenty of the properties, as well as the 1935 red telephone kiosk in High Street, have listed building status.

The Grade-One listed Anglican parish church in Navenby is dedicated to St Peter and contains an Easter Sepulchre, the carving of which is recognised as one of the finest in Lincolnshire, if not in the country, and receives a mention in virtually every book written on churches and their architecture, while the churchyard is managed as a nature reserve.

Navenby has a number of long-established businesses, one of which is the local butcher, Odling – which was founded in the 1920s. It is still located on the original site on the main road through the village and now three generations of the Odling family currently work in the premises.

Keith and his sons, Alan and Roy run the business as a team, while Roy’s eldest son Philip works in the butchery.

The business is open from 6am every day, until 6pm on Mondays to Fridays and from Saturday until 5.30pm. The shop even opens on a Sunday, from 10am to 4pm.

Roy Odling said: “They are long days and we are now open seven days a week. It is a family-run business and we sell local home produced food.

“The business has been going for ninety-six years and we are still in the same location but it has developed massively.”

More than just a butcher’s, Odling prides itself on supplying fine locally-sourced meat and poultry and a wide range of goods, including pork pies, meat pies and sausage rolls, which have been baked on the premises.

The shop has an extensive cheese and delicatessen counter, alongside fresh vegetables, grocery goods and a delicious range of cakes and pastries. It also has its own website enabling customers to make use of the online delivery service.

A village as historic and picturesque as Navenby would not be complete without relics from the past and Navenby Antiques Centre is an Aladdin’s cave of items.

It was opened by Laura and Dean Conway (who have lived in Lincolnshire for twenty-one years) in its current premises in 2007, with three salesrooms over two floors.

In the following year two more salesrooms were opened and a courtyard garden introduced. The latest phase in the business’ development was completed in October 2011, with the opening of a further upstairs salesroom and The Lounge Café. The centre was previously located across the road in the building which is now home to Macy’s Brasserie.

“Everyone has their special interest and if we don’t have what they are looking for or know the answer to their question, we have a network of specialists and experts to draw on,” said Laura, who represents the Cliff Villages on North Kesteven District Council and also sits on Navenby Parish Council.

“The shop is home to around thirty antiques dealers, both unit and cabinet holders, each of whom bring their own unique items and personality to our shop.

“We opened the café two years ago and it serves the business well. People can come into the centre, have a browse and then relax with a coffee; it makes their visit a trip out,” she said.

Navenby is a vibrant little village with an active community, reflected in the success of the new community centre, The Venue, which opened last year.

“It is going very well and we are very pleased with the progress. It is well used and expanding all the time,” said Laura.

“There are new groups using it, there is a fabulous range of classes for people and the junior football club and pre-school are both based there as well.”

One of the other larger Cliff Villages is Waddington, which was a documented settlement in the Domesday book of 1086 and is now a large rural commuter village. It is also home to one of the oldest airfields in the UK, RAF Waddington, which was founded in November 1916 for the Royal Flying Corps, and which used to be the base for the iconic Vulcan aircraft.

There are two distinct areas to the village – the top and older part of the village, which primarily consists of buildings built of the local limestone along with some brick-built houses built after brick-making began to take place on the lower slopes of the village, and the lower Brant Road area with its newer residential areas.

Both have their own small shopping centres with a variety of businesses and retailers, meaning people don’t really have to go elsewhere to find their provisions.

There are three public houses in the village, the names of which reflect its agricultural history. In the centre is the Horse & Jockey, which fronts the old town square, while the Three Horse Shoes is situated beside St Michael’s Church on High Street.

The third public house is The Wheatsheaf which is found at the crossroads of the Lincoln to Grantham Road (A607) and Mere Road – the main access road to RAF Waddington.

The Horse & Jockey is a traditional English pub but offers the whole restaurant dining experience, with a mouthwatering ‘racing-themed’ menu to choose from.

It also offers bed and breakfast en suite accommodation and its rooms are named after famous racecourses.

Originally a sixteenth-century coaching inn, the Horse & Jockey’s history surpasses that of many surrounding buildings. Built from local limestone and oak-framed, the Grade One-listed building also has its fair share of supernatural activity, with the Green Lady’s presence often felt.

Other Cliff villages include Harmston, Coleby and Wellingore. Harmston was also recorded in the Domesday Book as an agricultural area dominated by farms. In those days, farms were referred to as tofts and relics relating to those times can be seen in the Chapel Lane area of the village.

Harmston remained a small village until the mid-1990s when the new owner of Harmston Hall, a local property developer, made plans for a housing development at the southern perimeter of the village on the former Harmston hospital site.

The new housing estate, completed in 2006, brought in new people and has transformed Harmston from an agricultural to a mainly commuter village for workers travelling to nearby Lincoln.
Coleby is a beautiful, friendly village with approximately 500 residents, a thriving village school and two excellent pubs in The Tempest Arms and The Bell Inn.

Wellingore adjoins the village of Navenby and, like its neighbour, has two public houses, The Marquis of Granby and the Red Lion Inn, both on the High Street.

The largest building in Wellingore is Wellingore Hall which is a Grade Two-listed building, with stables. The site offers high quality office and other business accommodation.

Plans are in the pipeline to erect a monument in memory of World War II poet John Gillespie Magee, who is famous for his poem ‘High Flight’. He was billeted in Wellingore while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 412 Squadron.

Parish Council chairman, Roger Cole said that every year hundreds of tourists from across the world came to Wellingore to pay tribute to Magee. The village plans to create a circular route for visitors to follow.

Parish clerk, Tanya Wilson said there has been a lot going on in the village over the past year.

“The main project has been the finishing and opening of the Cross Green Jubilee Garden which was officially opened to coincide with our Big Tidy Day and the completion of the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) pitch,” she said.

“When you are so close to major cities people take these things for granted, but we need to look after facilities in the small local areas as well.

The Cliff Village of Harmston has a pro-active community and there is lots going on around the area.

It was also mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was recorded as an agricultural area dominated by farms. In those days, farms were referred to as tofts and relics relating to those times can be seen in the Chapel Lane area of the village.

Harmston remained a small village until the mid-1990s when the new owner of Harmston Hall, a local property developer, made plans for a housing development at the southern perimeter of the village on the former hospital site.

The new housing estate, completed in 2006, brought in new people and has transformed Harmston from an agricultural to a mainly commuter village for workers in nearby Lincoln.

Villagers are now on a mission to improve the village’s Memorial Hall and launched a major fundraising campaign in January. Village Hall chairman Keith Elms, who is one of the project leaders, said: “We are trying to raise £90,000 to £100,000 to refurbish the kitchen, toilet facilities and storage at the hall and to revamp it without changing its character. It is quite unique in that it was built back in the 1920s. It is timber and a very homely village hall.

“We launched the campaign in January and have raised around £11,000 in a very short space of time, but our target is £15,000 which will then enable us to apply for grants towards the scheme.”

The hall is a popular venue with locals and residents from neighbouring villages too.

“A wide range of people use the hall from the WI and young farmers to members of the public, for private functions such as weddings, wakes, birthdays and christenings,” said Keith.

“There are dance classes going on and throughout the year a number of performing arts events take place there. The hall is the heart of Harmston.”

Proceeds from all events taking place at the hall over the next year are going towards the hall’s improvements.

The next event is on Saturday, 26th October, when London based all-singing, all-dancing Vaudeville string quartet Bowjangles brings its show to Harmston.

Set in the beautiful and relaxed surroundings of Wellingore Hall, to the south of Lincoln, Belle and Bouquet is owned by Maggie and Simone, who have over twenty-five years’ experience of dressing brides and bridesmaids.

Informal, tranquil and within scenic gardens, The Bridal Suite is the perfect space in which to find your dream dress. It is not always necessary but it is preferred that you make an appointment which will ensure you have chance to try on superb gowns from five of the industry’s leading designers.

Discover silk designer gowns by Ian Stuart or beautifully structured gowns by Maggie Sottero and Benjamin Roberts. For more contemporary styles there are exquisitely beaded gowns by Mori Lee and Sincerity.

Belle and Bouquet’s aim has always been to offer the county’s widest choice of the finest gowns at the best possible prices in surroundings that are as special as each bride.

When the bridal gown has been chosen there are also the bridesmaids to think about and help is on hand, with styles and colour choices for ages two to adult.

Complete your look with accessories including shoes, jewellery, headdresses, garters, capes and bags.

The start of your dream day begins at Belle and Bouquet.

Belle and Bouquet, The Bridal Suite, Wellingore Hall, Wellingore, Lincoln LN5 0HX Tel: 01522 811122

Interiors expert Heather Hocking is the newest entrepreneur to take her name to the stunning Wellingore Hall complex.

Heather, who is trading as Aitch Interiors, has embarked on her exciting new venture, by setting up her studio within an ideal setting in the Hall’s stable block.

She has made her move after spending the past six years at Elm Grange Interiors in East Heckington and, in the process, fulfilled a personal ambition after deciding it was time for a fresh challenge.

Heather is passionate about transforming anything from a single window to someone’s favourite room, or she can project manage a complete house makeover. She is also on a mission to show people that interior design services don’t have to cost the earth.

Heather has a BA Honours degree in Heritage Studies from Bishop Grosseteste University, which has involved intensive study into country house and historical period décor, but her interest goes back much further than this.

In the 1990s, she was a curtain maker and she studied and achieved a City and Guilds qualification in Soft Furnishing and another in Interior Design.

“I think there is a misconception out there that anything to do with interior design is going to cost people an awful lot of money but that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Heather.

“Cotton and silk prices have been going through the roof but I have carried out extensive research, visited different shops around the country and discovered great suppliers.”

People can pop into Heather’s studio, view and order fabrics, let themselves be tempted by a mirror or a stylish cabinet, or simply have a chat about her different services.

Heather, who is happy to visit people at home to measure up and discuss ideas, has an team of experts behind her, including an upholsterer, curtain maker and professional fitter.

Aitch Interiors is open from Tuesday to Friday, between 10am and 5pm and on Saturdays, from 10am to 4pm.

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