Sleepy, small and surprising are the words you would use to describe Waddington.
Just over an hour’s drive from Manchester city centre, the Lancashire settlement is certainly modest in size: just 1,000 people call it home. This is also what leads to his quiet nature.
But what is surprising about Waddington is what happened here just over 30 years ago, reports Lancs Live. A mysterious sign inside a wooden frame attached to a lamppost reads: “Waddington, The Television Village, 1990”. It tells the touching story of the fame of this small village in Ribble Valley.
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Waddington took part in a ‘television experiment’ which saw the production of the now defunct Granada TV, and carried out the one-hour broadcast each evening, direct from the studio in the village hall.
The goal was to create “hyper-local” programs, with local presenters anchored in the shows, with guest appearances from residents including the vicar, a Saturday morning children’s segment, and music from lounge singers from hairdressing. This was before the multi-channel format we have today, and was the first chance for residents to experience it and as a result Waddington Village TV was a huge success.
Waddington is clearly still proud of its time in the spotlight and it’s not the only time this village, which occupies the enviable position of straddling both the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland (AONB), two very prized by Lancashire dwell.
Plus, in another interesting twist to the county boundary, in 1974 Waddington was named the ‘best kept village in Yorkshire’ only to achieve the same feat years later, but this time for being in the county of Red Pink. Boundary changes and bickering aside, we challenge anyone to discuss why Waddington has earned such accolades.
Because within walking distance of this wondrous alcove of the world, with its stream of clear water flowing gently over the rocks, its lush green lawns, its beautifully designed ancient curved stone walls and bridges; you can see why.
In fact, all you have to do is visit the magical Jubilee/Coronation Garden, with its technicolor flowerbeds and classic sundial. Of course it helped that we visited on a day of two-toned blue skies with the spring sun beating down, but honestly we saw the wonder of Waddington sneaking by, even in the relentless rain and dark winter months .
The adorable terraced cottages, almshouses, inns and townhouses on the cobbled streets are in esteemed historic company, in the form of the 15th-century Church of St. Helena and Waddow Hall, a 17th-century mansion dripping with greatness.
Waddington is named after Wadda, an Anglo-Saxon chieftain involved in the murder of Ethelred the King of Northumbria
The small post office and village are very much in keeping with the country village aesthetic, sitting neatly in a row of yellow stone cottages. Its bright red door matches the letterbox, and the store sits behind a traditional black and white sign, punctuated by a more modern brown tourist sign, pointing to the nearby Eaves Country Hotel.
It is widely believed that a great village gets this tag largely by having a good, decent pub. Well, Waddington offers a trio of brilliant pubs.
The award-winning Higher Buck is a quintessential gourmet inn and is one of the top 50 gastropubs in the country and has outdoor seating that is a real sun trap. While the historic Lower Buck describes itself as ‘traditionally traditional’, dates back to 1760 and offers comfortable accommodation, brilliantly named The Piggeries and The Coach House, in a nod to their former identities.
Finally, the Waddington Arms is a hotel and a restaurant, which makes the village, close to Clitheroe, even more difficult to cross without staying there to taste its delights.
Imagine living in a place where, through one window, you are treated to a view of Waddington Fell and another to an energetic stream and thick trees whispering softly “a vast area of natural beauty awaits just behind us”.
If ‘hometown envy’ was a thing, then we left Waddington with a serious case.
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