Whilst Lincolnshire is famous for its fabulous coastline and its vast agricultural heritage, it also has some rather special towns and villages which have fortunately remained attractive, traditional and largely unspoilt. In this month’s issue, we focus on the lovely village of Woodhall Spa.
Woodhall Spa is a fabulous inland resort, set amongst attractive pine woods and retaining all of the charm and character of Edwardian times.
As you drive down the tree-lined avenue into the village, you can’t help but feel a sense of peace and tranquillity. The village’s character is largely derived from its heritage as a spa town, a place where the Victorians and Edwardians, and many generations to follow, took advantage of its health giving mineral waters.
Today, Woodhall Spa continues to attract a wealth of visitors. For a relatively small village, located in the heart of Lincolnshire, it certainly has so much to offer! The village is the home of the English Golf Union, and boasts two first class golf courses; a unique cinema; an interesting museum; an outdoor swimming pool; as well as a wonderful selection of unique shops, hotels, guest houses and camping sites.
The wonderfully unique Kinema in the Woods provides visitors with a cinema experience which they will never forget! Old-fashioned and authentic, the Kinema building was originally a farm building, then a concert pavilion and a cricket pavilion before becoming a cinema in 1922. It is the only fully functioning UK cinema to employ back projection and showed its first silent film in 1906.
Major CC Allport ran the cinema for over 50 years, until 1973 when it was taken over by the present owner, James Green. In June 1987, Mr Green installed a Compton Kinestra organ in The Kinema, which features an ornate lacquered red and gold console with an eighteenth century oriental design. The organ is still situated in Screen One and played regularly by The Kinema’s resident organist. A second screen was also opened in 1994. Elsewhere in the village, you will find the Cottage Museum, a small community museum which is managed by a dedicated team of volunteers. The museum was the vision of former resident, John Wield and it is his vast collection of photographs which forms the basis of the museum’s collection today. In fact, the building which houses the Cottage Museum was once the Wield family home between 1887 and the 1960s.
For the past 25 years, the Museum has preserved the artefacts and the heritage of Woodhall Spa. 2013 sees the Cottage Museum completely redeveloped with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Visitors can now discover the community room and community archives in the new buildings. For the more active amongst you, then Jubilee Park is the place to be! With its fabulous outdoor heated swimming pool, Jubilee Park is unique to the county and a great attraction for visitors during the summer months. The Park offers a wide range of activities from cricket to tennis and bowls to croquet. The outdoor heated swimming pool and paddling pool is the main attraction amongst families, plus there is a Games Hut and a wonderful outdoor play area and café.
Woodhall Spa is of course famous for its aviation heritage, with the Dambusters 617 Squadron being based at The Petwood Hotel during wartime. Today, the Squadron Bar at the Petwood hosts a range of memorabilia and tributes to Guy Gibson VC, Leonard Cheshire VC and their Officers. As well as the Petwood, other places to stay include the Golf Hotel and Bainland Country Park, all offering a great range of facilities and amenities. This is certainly a unique village which is proud of its history and heritage. Today, Woodhall Spa also incorporates the ancient parish of Kirkstead, which brought with it the ruin of the great Kirkstead Abbey and the 13th Century St Leonard’s Church. These monuments, together with the medieval Tower on the Moor, Woodhall Spa’s symbol, are a perfect reminder of the history of the area before the Spa was born in 1821.
To appreciate this special place, a visit to Woodhall Spa is an absolute must! A wide range of events are held throughout the year, including the fantastic Woodhall Spa 1940’s Festival which takes place in 2013 on 3rd and 4th August. The festival is spread across the whole of the village. In Jubilee Park, visitors will be able to see authentic wartime displays by living history groups. There will also be live entertainers performing at different times and locations across Woodhall during the festival, including Katie Spitfire, Lola Lamour, Brandyn Shaw, as well as Major Swing and the Blitz Dancers. A military and classic vehicle display is another highlight of the weekend – all in all a wonderful event and the perfect opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Woodhall Spa!