Village life

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Northamptonshire ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is a countywide, independent charitable organisation working with rural communities to improve their quality of life, especially for the disadvantaged. Each year they hold a Best village award for all villages across the whole of Northamptonshire.

Congratulations to the following villages in the South Northamptonshire district for picking up awards in the 2016 competition:

Winners: Helmdon
Runner Up: Syresham
Third: Blakesley

Large Village
Runner Up: Blisworth

Medium Village
Winner: Helmdon
Runner Up: Syresham

Small Village
Winner: Blakesley

Newcomers Cup
Winner: Blakesley

For further information on the Competition please see Northamptonshire ACRE.

Villages to visit

Rose-covered cottages, ancient churches, the village green and lively pubs are all to be found in the unspoilt villages of the District. Many of the villages have their own websites which can be found on the Village Websites page.

Please visit our Conservation Pages for details of heritage areas in our Villages

Separated by miles of rolling countryside and surrounded by hedgerows and dry stone walls, villages are a mix of styles and periods. Lime, sand and iron-stone cottages and manors contrast with Victorian red brick houses and the area's industrial canal heritage is evident in some villages along the Grand Union Canal.

Many of the villages have conservation status and the District has over 1800 Listed Buildings which give the area a distinctive feel. A series of Village Design Guidance leaflets are available which set out many of the conservation characteristics of the villages. Many of the villages also have great pubs and shops selling locally sourced produce.

The area offers plenty of great days out for the whole family

The area enjoys many scarecrow festivals. Syresham has a well visited annual scarecrow festival in June and the Harpole Village Scarecrow Festival is one of the larger scarecrow festivals that you can experience from an open-top bus.

The Battle of Edgecote at Culworth and Eyden, re-enacts the original battle of 1469, which took place during the Wars of the Roses. The event includes jousting, foot tourneys, combat displays, musicians, medieval market and a beer tent.

Wings & Wheels at Turweston Aerodrome has displays of vintage aircraft, military vehicles, motorcycles, steam engines, arts and crafts fair.

Blakesley Agricultural Show is one of the oldest agricultural shows in the country. It features every kind of farm animal, show jumping, gymkhana, steam ploughing, tractor pulling, a dog scurry, stalls, kids' play area and a beer tent.

The annual King's Sutton Literary Festival, has a full programme of talks by internationally renowned authors, actors and politicians.

Just outside the District is the annual Fairport Cropredy Convention

The county-wide arts festival, Open Studios sees dozens of local artists open their studios to the public and hold exhibitions at venues across the district.

Many villages host touring theatre and other artistic productions. See Northants Touring Arts for more details.

Walking Trails

The District benefits from an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways for the use of residents and visitors. A set of leaflets for download are available from the Walking Trails page.

Other things to see and do in the area

All Saints' Church in Middleton Cheney attracts visitors from all over the world who come to see stained glass windows created by Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones and the firm of William Morris. The Church of Saints Peter and Paul at Preston Deanery, which is under the protection of The Churches Conservation Trust and thought to have an early Viking influence, has two 1,000-year old carvings of snakes, birds and animals. The fascinating display of Roman artefacts at The Piddington Roman Villa provides an insight into the life of those who lived in and around the villa 2000 years ago.

Please also visit A District steeped in history