Welcome to Woodhall
Much-loved and popular with people of all ages, Woodhall Spa is a leafy paradise with plenty of hidden surprises, says Glynis Fox.
Those in the know return to this village repeatedly, but there are still many people who mistakenly think it is a sleepy place that they happen to drive through on their way to Horncastle, Boston and Lincoln.
The truth is its population is growing. New housing developments have been recently brought on stream by companies which have recognised that more house hunters are finding this is an attractive place to live.
Newcomers are making their move after discovering that the village has good essential facilities, as well as organisations that welcome community involvement.
At the same time, Woodhall Spa has grown as a popular holiday destination, which is equally suited to the needs of families who love active breaks and couples looking for a quiet, restful getaway to an area where they can escape the pressures of daily life.
Woodhall became a fashionable spa destination after bromo-iodine springs were discovered there in the 19th century, when people travelled from all over to the Spa Baths.
Historically, it also has strong links with the RAF and attracts former service people who enjoy commemorative events.
Day visitors will find numerous refreshment stops and niche shops to explore, but families looking to stay for a weekend, overnight before a special event or even longer, can take their pick from a range of accommodation.
LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Much of it also comes with the benefit of on-site entertainment and leisure facilities.
Well-known Jubilee Park has its own caravan and camping area, so there’s an opportunity to stay and also make the most of its adjacent leisure facilities.
The park’s outdoor heated swimming pool is a big hit with holidaymakers and locals who cannot resist booking in for sessions. There are also gym facilities for people determined to maintain their fitness regimes.
The five-star Woodhall Country Park lies on the other side of Stixwould Road. It offers families the chance to buy or rent luxury lodges, book a getaway hideaway, or have fun staying in a camping pod.
Couples looking for something a little different for a romantic break can enjoy a taste of the high life by staying in a leafy treetop lodge. No longer a secret location, family-owned Treetop Hideaways is located off Sandy Lane. These inviting eco-friendly lodges mean you can bathe beneath the stars in an outdoor bathtub, lounge in a hammock under the trees or row a boat around the site’s lakes and islands!
Woodhall Spa caters equally well for people who prefer to stay in guest house or hotel accommodation – The Golf, The Petwood and The Dower House are among the town’s popular hotels.
The Petwood is particularly known for its nostalgic Squadron Bar, which is filled with Dambusters memorabilia. It was the Officers’ Mess for 617 Squadron during the Second World War. The bar serves local ale.
Whenever you visit Woodhall Spa, irrespective of where you choose to stay, there is no end to the activities you can enjoy while you are in the town, from numerous walks to hiring cycles and going exploring.
Whichever you choose, many people enjoy exploring the mid-section of the old Woodhall Junction railway line and part of the Horncastle Canal, which comprises three miles of flat, surfaced bridleway.
Feeling lazy? Why not explore a local visitor attraction? Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum is an intriguing place and based in what is essentially a bungalow constructed in corrugated iron on a wooden frame. It was once the home of keen photographer John Wield (1877-1965) and exhibits include his photographic collection which gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of the town’s residents and visitors in years gone by. The Museum is open from Wednesdays to Saturdays inclusive, from 10.30am to 4pm.
No visit to Woodhall Spa would be complete without viewing the two Dambusters memorials. The largest in Royal Square, on Station Road, has been designed to represent a dam, with a breach in the middle. In May 1943 aircraft from 617 Squadron attacked and breached two dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, using Barnes Wallis’ famous bouncing bomb.
Names of the brave airmen who took part are listed on this impressive memorial, but nearby there is a second black “pyramid-style” memorial to all the Squadron’s members who lost their lives in World War II.
The old RAF Woodhall Spa airbase was the Squadron’s last home during the conflict.
Golfing fanatics will be thrilled to know that the National Golf Centre (the Home of English Golf), with its world-class courses and academy, is in Woodhall Spa, a stone’s throw away from the village’s Golf Hotel!
Its popular facilities include the fine heathland Hotchkin Course and it offers a high level of hospitality, whether you are enjoying a private round with friends or attending the centre during a corporate day.
Visitors to Woodhall Country Park can go fishing at the on-site fishing lakes and there are other fishing lakes in the area.
The village is also popular with people who love bowling. One of Woodhall Spa’s other venues attracts people from miles around: its superb Kinema In The Woods has really stood the test of time, having celebrated its centenary in 2022.
If you love popping out for a coffee and a spot of shopping, you could find that Woodhall Spa is right up your street! This destination is dominated by an amazing number of independent shops and service businesses, which come with the added value of great personal service.
Start your visit by refuelling at one of the Spa’s many coffee stops and tea houses or go one better and book afternoon tea at one of the larger hotels. Your biggest headache will be deciding where to go! On The Broadway, you can pop into Janet’s Tea Shop and feel you have stepped back in time, by taking a break surrounded by a wealth of wartime memorabilia. It’s also opposite the Dambusters memorials on Station Road.
Further along the street, you will find Archie’s independent coffee shop, along with a selection of other eateries. Move on to The Broadway and Kitchenetta café and deli or Bar 11 might be more your style.
Alternatively, the busy Woodlands Café offers people the chance to eat inside or outside. It’s also known for its tasty ice creams. Another possibility is the ever-popular Tea House in the Woods, which has its own unique ambience and where you might choose to have a meal before, say, taking in a film at Kinema In The Woods.
There’s a fascinating mix of shopping in the town, with stores selling everything from hardware essentials to clothing. A bakery offers a mouth-watering array of cakes and there is also a butcher’s shop, charity outlets and much more.
People shopping for the perfect present for a friend’s birthday, a wedding or other special occasion, could find it by popping into the Polka Dots Gift Shop, which is crammed with a wide choice of gifts and greeting cards to suit all occasions.
On the other side of The Broadway, bookworms will be unable to resist visiting The Book Fayre. It’s the place to track down your favourite author’s latest offering, find a wealth of secondhand books in The Final Chapter at the back of the shop and also discover fabulous, top brand gifts.
Ask anyone who is footwear mad if they have been in the village’s delightful “wedge-shaped” shoe shop.
Those who know Woodhall will quickly reply: “Oh you must be talking about Peter Scott Shoes!” That’s right! This curious store – which is only 3ft wide at one end – is certainly a one-off, but it is stocked with an amazing selection of styles and brands. Originally, it was the booking office and the last building on the platform back in the days when the village boasted its own railway stop!
A variety of local shops cater for women, men and children when it comes to stylish dressing and there are hairdressing, barbering and beauty treatments on the doorstep too.
More recent independent traders who have snapped up premises in the village say they love its vibe and sense of community. This is also a place where vacant premises don’t stay empty for long.
It will be two years in August since Suzie Bateman opened her lifestyle business SELF, located on The Broadway (she has also since expanded to have an outlet in Lincoln’s Bailgate). Suzie describes her business as a lifestyle brand for self-care, empowerment, love and friendship, encouraging people to celebrate life’s simple pleasures. This gem of a shop sells clothing for women, men, babies and children, bath and body goods, stationery and gifts.
“I was attracted to join the private businesses in the village because it is rare these days to find ‘high streets’ with independents. It’s a special place, it’s busy and it has a sense of community,” said Suzie. “I want people to visit and enjoy the experience my shop offers. They may not necessarily buy on their first occasion, but they will return.”
Ladieswear outlet SHE boutique offers a completely different range of women’s wear from smart dresses and coats, through to relaxed leisure wear, jewellery and handbags – so shopaholics shouldn’t be surprised if they come away with a little more than originally intended!
Gentlemen are well catered for at Woodhall Man, which is found in The Broadway Centre, behind JJ Barber’s, which fronts The Broadway – so there’s the opportunity for guys to visit both and get themselves a complete fresh look in one trip!
Woodhall Man is owned by Christine (Chrissy) Allwood, who opened the shop in early December 2022, just in time to catch the festive rush. Chrissy, who is also a self-employed construction engineer, sells a comprehensive range of men’s clothing and is delighted with her move.
“I love the ambience created by the village’s independent businesses. I aim to stock something for everyone, irrespective of their budget.
“Ranges include smart casual wear, including smart trousers, polo necks, light jumpers and also loungewear.”
On 11th June up to 1,200 good sports will be turning out to take part in the Woodhall Spa 10k run, while this year’s crowd-pulling Woodhall Spa ’40s Festival, which celebrates life on the Home Front, takes place on the weekend of 8th and 9th July. The streets are traditionally alive with fans who have “turned back time” by dressing in 1940s tea dresses and military uniforms to enjoy everything the event offers, from displays and entertainment to military vehicles. A park and ride system will be in operation and everything is free for locals and visitors to enjoy – except for ticketed events.
DISCOVERING TREETOP HIDEAWAYS
Find out how you can experience a calming, magical self-catering experience for two.
On the edge of Woodhall Spa lies a hidden gem – Treetop Hideaways, a dreamy, elevated sanctuary set amongst 17 acres of mature rhododendrons, ancient woodland, meandering lakes with hidden islands and an abundance of wildlife.
Treetop Hideaways has been enticing guests since 2021 with its magical treehouse experience in a stunning and peaceful setting.
These lakeside treehouses with their elevated terraces, outdoor bathtubs and private rowing boats deliver the ultimate adult getaway.
There is something enchanting about staying in a treehouse. They offer a special and natural experience that is hard to replicate elsewhere. You feel a sense of detachment from the world below. The natural surroundings, the rustling of leaves, and the gentle sway of the branches all create a calming and peaceful atmosphere, a feeling of being suspended, floating above the woodland floor.
When guests climb the steps leading up to their Treetop Hideaway, they are greeted with views up in the treetop canopy overlooking the beautiful lakes.
There’s a feeling of excitement on opening the treehouse doors and seeing nature mirrored inside, the decor reflecting each treehouse’s namesake.
Fluffy, grey cushions represent the feathers of the owl in Owl Box, the emerald green satin imitates the kingfisher’s plume in Kingfisher’s Perch – even the beams of the vaulted ceiling resemble a majestic tree and the copper baths highlight the brilliance of the evening sunsets.
If adventure is on the agenda, a private rowing boat anchored to the mooring platform is ready to go and explore the twists and turns of the lake and the overhanging branches where all sorts of birds and animals hide out. Alternatively, maybe relaxing on the terrace with a good book is just what is needed to
Guests can enjoy the alfresco bathing experience on the terrace under the sky while listening to the rustle of trees and the birds and the bees.
The outdoor fire pit is stocked with logs ready to grill an evening meal or toast marshmallows, while the hammocks nearby provide a restful and playful place for guests to ‘hang out’.
After waking up to the dawn chorus, there is still a lot to discover in and around the village of Woodhall Spa, or simply switch off, relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity high in the treetops.
Channel 4’s Grand Designs recently visited Treetop Hideaways with Kevin McCloud and his production team to film the beautiful site for the new series and this unique venue has also been a finalist for several travel awards.
If you are looking for somewhere a little bit special, this is it!
Treetop Hideaways, Sandy Lane, Woodhall Spa LN10 6UR
Telephone: 07771 867907
GREAT GIFTS AND MORE AT UNDERWOOD HALL
If you’re searching for a special thank you for family or friends, the helpful team at Underwood Hall go out of their way to help inspire you with a selection of present ideas to suit all budgets.
Located on the Broadway in Woodhall Spa, this well established, highly regarded family-run jeweller is a treasure trove of quality gold and silver jewellery, including a selection of fine antique pieces from the Victorian period to classic modern designs.
With everything selected for fine styling and quality, you can choose from a range of beautiful bangles, chains, necklaces and earrings, as well as classic wristwatches from leading brands such as Sekonda and Rotary.
Make the most of Underwood Hall’s excellent customer care, including ring resizing and restyling, as well as the bespoke jewellery design and expert repairs service. Open Mondays to Saturdays, from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
For more information contact Underwood Hall. Tel: 01526 353815, or visit www.antiquesandjewellery.com
ENJOY AUTHENTIC TASTES OF INDIA AT INDIA VILLAGE
If you’re looking for true tastes of traditional Indian favourites from around the north and south of the country, as well as Bangladesh and Pakistan, India Village is the ideal place to go.
Here you will find a hand-picked selection of dishes prepared by owner Jamal Hussain’s experienced team of chefs, who use the freshest ingredients from local producers and reputable importers of spices.
This popular village restaurant situated on The Broadway in Woodhall Spa, which is listed in the National Curry Club guide, has built a reputation for offering diners a relaxed and authentic dining experience with a menu which showcases a blend of traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine, topped off with graceful service from the warm and welcoming hospitality team.
Find your favourite dishes via the restaurant’s extensive takeaway menu with the added bonus of easy online ordering.
For bookings and more information tel: 01526 352223 or visit www.indianwoodhall.co.uk
CRAFTY GIFTS AND MORE AT FAIRY CRAFTERS
If you’re looking for creative gift ideas for friends and family, Fairy Crafters in Woodhall Spa offers a range of unique presents, featuring an fantastic selection of hand-made creations from more than 40 local craft talent, including jewellery, soft furnishings, candles and art.
Owned and run by Claire Blackburn, a passionate and experienced crafter, shoppers receive a warm welcome while browsing the eclectic collection of greeting cards, gifts, pet presents and interior décor designs to suit all tastes and budgets.
for all levels of experience, including needle felting and a “knit and natter” group, with tea, coffee, biscuits and cake on offer.
Fridays, 9.30am to 2.30pm and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.
For more information: Fairy Crafters, Unit 2a Goodyear House, Tattershall Road, Woodhall Spa LN10 6QJ Tel: 07832 974557 or visit Facebook @fairycrafters
STEP OUT FOR SUMMER
Peter Scott Shoes at the heart of Woodhall Spa stocks an impressive range of fine footwear for ladies and gentlemen.
They are proud stockists of a wide range of Rieker, the No 1 footwear brand for style and comfort, along with many other brands such as Hotter.
“New to the shop is Gabor, a brand known for fit, quality and half sizes. We have an exciting summer range coming from Gabor, with favourite styles alongside some bright pops of colour on trend with summer 2023. Chatham deck shoes are also back in stock this summer for everyday quality. Comfort and style remain key to sourcing our stock, smart or casual.
“We are also exhibiting at the Lincolnshire Show this year – find us in the Mews, or if you can’t make it to the show in person, find us on Facebook @PeterScottShoes and look for Oliver’s weekly ‘Shoe of the Week’.”
For more info tel: 01526 353935 or visit www.peterscottshoes.co.uk
ARRANGING A PEACEFUL GOODBYE
Established in 1995, R Arnold Funeral Service’s compassionate team strive to support you in helping to arrange a respectful and personalised service. As experienced and dedicated funeral directors, husband and wife team Lindsay and Richard Arnold take the time to talk to each client and listen to their individual needs. As well respected members of the British Institute of Embalmers and National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, they can offer a range of funeral plans to help cover costs.
“As one of the most rewarding services you can offer, our compassionate, approachable team take time to talk to each of our clients, looking after and guiding you every step of the way, offering guidance whatever time of day or night that you might need us.”
For more information visit www.rarnoldfuneralservice.com
CELEBRATING 120 YEARS
A long-time favourite local eatery, the Tea House in the Woods has been delighting diners with first class food and service since it was established 120 years ago.
Built in the Edwardian period, the original tea house was first run by the Williams sisters, two daughters of London clergyman Dr Williams, superintendent of the Spa baths, who specialised in serving dainty delicacies of the highest quality. Today that same level of commitment remains and you can enjoy a choice of different dishes throughout the day, from traditional breakfasts and afternoon teas, to a varied lunchtime menu featuring light bites, salads and platters.
The restaurant is also open in the evenings for à la carte dining from 5pm, with a wide menu choice including grills, gourmet burgers, pasta and pizza, with vegetarian options.
The Tea House in the Woods is open Wednesday to Sunday with the dinner menu served Thursday to Saturday.
For more information visit the website www.teahouseinthewoods.co.uk
Photographs: Mick Fox