What makes Massingham Norfolk’s most desirable village?
Journalist ABIGAIL NICHOLSON asks the people of Great Massingham what they think about being named one of the UK’s hottest towns by The Telegraph.
It is safe to say that Norfolk has many beautiful villages and towns, and Great Massingham with its stunning greens, church and community has turned out to be some of the best.
The once sleepy village, believed to date back to the 5th century, is now a thriving hub for locals, ducks and visitors.
Now, when the houses in the village are put up for sale, they are immediately “broken” and have proven to be more and more desirable.
Mark and Sally Dobby, owners of The Dabbling Duck in the heart of the village, said the town has become increasingly busy with people moving to Norfolk in recent years.
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Mr Dobby said: “You have everything you could possibly need in this village, a church, a shop where you can do a weekly shop if you want, a general practitioner, two schools, a social club and a pub. . ”
His wife added: “No matter how hard it grows, it always feels like you’re in a village.
“As beautiful as the coast is, unfortunately a lot of it is a bit lost, which is a real shame.
“You need that balance between locals and visitors and we have it.”
After being mentioned in the Telegraph’s “it town” list, some locals disagreed.
Gary Dawes said: “A beautiful village in Norfolk which is quickly changed by people who come from outside the county, people who are looking for their idealistic country life, but who don’t understand country life.”
Other locals were also concerned that attention would turn the village into a tourist hot spot like the Norfolk coast, something Hugh Symington and his wife, Heidi, owner of Hill Farm Barns, disagree with.
“I don’t think Massingham can become like the coast,” said Mr Symington. “He doesn’t have the facilities or the makeup he needs, he can only be what he is.
“On the coast, people who visit there only stay in this region, the beauty of our village is that people come here to go to the coast and also inland.”
Explaining why they love Massingham, the couple, whose luxury barns are booked until Christmas 2021, said the community spirit and character of the village is something they admire.
“We are all working together,” Ms. Symington said. “Whenever we have people staying here, we always direct them to the pub, shop, butchers and local attractions.
“The other companies are all doing the same with each other and we are working together to make sure that we are doing all we can to support each other, especially over the past year.”
Mr. and Mrs. Symington are not the only residents and business owners who have spoken about the community spirit of the village.
Massingham Stores and Post Office owner Mark Eldridge, who took over the store with his wife, Kerry two and a half years ago, said he was touched by the warm welcome from the local.
The store, which now owns the brand new Cartshed teahouses, helped serve the community during the lockdown by donating to the village food bank and offering home delivery.
“It’s like serving my friends and family, every day,” Mr. Eldridge said. “It’s really lovely and I couldn’t wish for a better job, it’s the highlight of my long life. Everyone welcomed us with open arms.
“The companies are all working together to make the city what it is, so when we saw that there was a void in the city for a teahouse and we knew we weren’t going to step on anyone’s toes , we created Cartshed.
“I can’t imagine living or working anywhere else now.”