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chip wagon

Willoughby, Lincolnshire

Willoughby is small inland village, three miles south of the town of Alford, Lincolnshire in East Lindsey. Willougby lies just on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Facilities

The village life mainly revolves around the large village green and church. At present there is just one main shop that sells convenience goods and also acts as a petrol station. There is also a former blacksmiths shop that now sells and repairs gardening equipment. A fish and chip wagon also comes every Wednesday to the village and is always very popular. The pub, The Willoughby Arms, is also a focal point of the village and a small church of England school currently has about seventy pupils and about five teachers operating in it.

History

For such a small village, Willoughby has a surprising history. The village used to be a lot larger and had a lot more services than today. There used to be a butcher, post office, tavern and a large dairy. These have all dissolved now along with the railway line and station that used to link the village with the rest of the county. To the rear of Tavern Way is a large field that has been preserved because it contains a Mediæval earthwork of an unknown date. This is a scheduled ancient monument.

Captain John Smith

The most iconic figure to have come out of Willoughby is John Smith, one of the leaders of the Virginia Colony in North America. He was born and bred in the village, having been christened at St Helena's Church and living in a cottage down a small lane in the village that is still standing today. Every year on the anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown settlement, hundreds of Americans come to the village to see where the captain lived all those years ago. He was most famously connected to the American Indian girl Pocahontas, whom he met in Virginia when he travelled to America in the 17th century. There have been many fictional presentations of the surrounding events, with the Disney animated film Pocahontas being perhaps the best known.

Architecture

Although several new houses have been built in the village such as those on Tavern Way and John Smith Close, the village has seen little growth in the way of building, it mainly consists of newer houses to the west of the village on the old grounds of the tavern and older houses in the east of the village near the church. A large manor house can also be found at the eastern edge of the village towards Bonthorpe. The school in the village was opened in 1948 and has recently seen big changes to the older main building. In the 1980s a new hall and extension was constructed and in the 1990s and 2000s further work was done to improve facilities. The headteacher is Sue Belton. There is also a number of other manor houses, one of which used to be the rectory and lies in the grounds of the church.

Agriculture

Willoughby has two main farms on the Clover Industrial Estate on Clover Road and on Hanby Lane on a corner across from the petrol station. Both farms have wide field access and both have sheep in the summer months. Willoughby Farms Ltd owns several farms around East Lindsey as far reaching as towards Spilsby. Most fields in the immediate area around Willoughby are owned and managed by Willoughby Farms.

Transport

After the East Lincolnshire Railway line (an important line from Peterborough to Grimsby which opened in 1848) closed in November 1961, transport in the village has been a very small feature. The station was the point where the Mablethorpe line began. There are only a few daily buses operated by Lincolnshire bus company Translinc and Stagecoach in Lincolnshire. There are also three locally run school bus services that run through the week to the local town of Alford. The village is within easy reach of the coast with Skegness just twelve miles away and Chapel St Leonards seven miles. Willoughby has three main roads, Church Road, Station Road and Hanby Lane which run through the village.

Community & Events

The village is very much church orientated and most residents often visit it for the Sunday service and many use it for weddings, funerals and baptisms. The church is one of many in the local parish which stretches as far as Chapel St Leonards. The parish runs a monthly magazine, Wold & Marsh which is given free of charge to all residents. The Reverend of the Willoughby Parish of Churches is Rev. Daffyd Robinson. The Village Hall and Green often run a number of events throughout the year including the Garden Competition ran by the Willoughby Garden Club, the Summer Fayre and a Christmas dinner. People can also hold events there for their own purpose. There is also a Bowls Club in the village that meets weekly and players are free to use it whenever they please. The bowling green is situated near the Village Hall. The playing field is another popular feature of the village hosting the annual school sports day and many other functions. Many locals use the new play equipment that was also recently installed. On the same grounds of the playing field is a set of allotments used by the villagers.

The Future

At the moment there are no plans for any new bungalows or houses or to be built in the village. The most recent to development was a group of new flats for the elderly on Station Road. This is likely to be one of the last new structures to be built in Willoughby for the foreseeable future with there being concerns on infrastructure and a lack of suitable land remaining.

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