Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Through The Eyes Of LincsConnect

Around me in Lincolnshire – Sleaford by LincsConnect. This is the second of my series of blogs ‘through the eyes of LincsConnect’.  I’m sure you’ll find it useful.

It’s funny how a pre-conceived blog can change so much and so quickly.  I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Sleaford many times so the layout of the blog was already pre-conceived.  However, my research made me realise how little I know about the town.

Sleaford – Getting There

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford LincsConnect

Sleaford is conveniently located between Grantham (15 miles), Newark (19 miles), Boston (17 miles), Lincoln (20 miles) & Stamford (29 miles)

Split Sleaford into three areas and you’ll realise that there is more to the town than meets the eye.  We have Quarrington, Old Sleaford  and  New Sleaford (or ‘Sleaford’ as we know it now).  New Sleaford has enveloped both Old Sleaford and Quarrington during its recent ‘growth spurt’. We can therefore be forgiven for not realising how much the landscape has changed. In fact, the landscape has changed dramatically.  Over the last 250 years or so we now the ‘Old River Slea’ and the ‘New River Slea’ plus a railway line or two.  I’ll talk more about the rivers later though.

The A15 running North/South come to Sleaford from Lincoln in the North and Peterborough from the South.  Driving East/West the A17 links Boston through Sleaford to Newark.

The Sleaford railway station was opened in 1857 nd led to the ultimately demise of the canal.  It’s the only station in the region to offer North/South ‘and’ East/West destinations.  Trains run from Peterborough and Skegness as well as Nottingham and Lincoln.

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford (Quarrington)

Quarrington is worthy of a mention on its own but is now part of the larger town of Sleaford.

Around me in Lincolnshire - Sleaford Quarrington LincsConnect

St Botolph’s Church, Quarrington. Click on the picture to go to the website

The St Botolph’s Church (click the link to find them on Facebook) was originally built in the 13th Century but was rebuilt in 1812 and its tower was restored in 1887. Sunday services are being held weekly at 11.00am* with evening services via Zoom at 6.00pm.  *The obvious Covid19 restrictions apply so if you would like to attend the service please pre-book by emailing your request to stbquarrington890@gmail.com

Quarrington is located South West of Sleaford centre with the A15 to its West and A153/B1517 to its North and is thought to be the ‘mother’ parish of Old Sleaford. The walk from Quarrington is regarded as ‘easy’ and is just 3-4 miles round trip to Sleaford depending on your route:

Around Me In Lincolnshire, Sleaford LincsConnect

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford (Old Sleaford)

Old Sleaford, as you might expect, had its (Northern) border running along the Old (original) River Slea.  I’ve also read that there was a Roman road running through Sleaford from Tattershall to Ancaster.  My research so far suggests that I have a choice of either King Street or Bloxholm Lane. You can probably guess what town my next blog will focus on then!

Old Sleaford was possibly an iron-age tribal centre but since then it has had links with William the Conqueror in 1086 and had a castle built by Bishop Alexander of Lincoln in around 1120/30.  Sadly though the castle fell into disrepair and was demolished in around 1600.  During its popularity it played host to both King John and Henry VIII (separately of course)!

Around me in Lincolnshire - Sleaford Old Sleaford LincsConnect

The site of the castle is still visible and is shown in this aerial picture. The picture was taken from Wikipedia but there is no evidence of the originator to reference here I’m afraid.

“The visible remains are now only a moat, a scrap of masonry (one small, toppled portion of a wall in the north-east corner of the inner bailey) and associated earthworks”.  For more information visit the Wikipedia site.  I’ll be paying a visit to the site soon and hope to be able to provide updated pictures.

Further reading Indicates that there was a large Manor House (the Hussey Manor House, build in 1400) at Old Place, Sleaford.  It included a moat, gate house, chapel, kiln drying oven and extensive outbuildings.  Sadly it was demolished in 1822 to make way for the new building.  If you’re planning a visit to the area look up ‘Old Place’, Sleaford.

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Navigation

The river Slea surfaces to the South West of Ancaster at West Willoughby (West of Sleaford) and flows through Sleaford to South Kyme. Here it becomes the Kyme Eau and then joins the River Witham at Chapel Hill.

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford River Slea LincsConnect

The diagram shows the seven locks used in the new River Slea while the blue line to the right shows the course of the Old River Slea

The River Slea and the Nine Foot River (or Nine Foot Drain) merge in Sleaford to become one River Slea.  As the river passes through the town it becomes part of the Sleaford Navigation.  The 12.5 miles canalisation was opened in 1794 to allow continued navigation.  Inevitably (with the advent of the railway) it became redundant and fell into disrepair.  Thankfully much of it has now been restored and re-opened.  The Old River Slea was allowed to run its normal course (South of the canal) and the two rejoin at Cobblers Lock before becoming the Kyme Eau at South Kyme and eventually joining the River Witham.

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Navigation House

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford Navigation House LincsConnect

Navigation House visitor centre, Sleaford. Click on the picture to go to the website and follow them on Twitter here: @NavigationHouse 

The old clerks office (Navigation House) serves as a visitors centre for the canal and incorporates a shop selling local produce.  More importantly though it houses a museum and information centre with wall maps, information boards, TV and audio rooms and lots of interesting articles to inform the young and old alike. Built in 1838 this grade II listed building is a piece of history in its on right.  When visiting be sure to make your way to Navigation Yard to have a look. I know you’ll be impressed so make it a date in your diary.  For up-to-date information give them a follow on Twitter @NavigationHouse

Their current opening times are Friday to Monday 12.00pm-4.00pm.  You can ring them on 01529 305904 or email navigationhouse@n-kesteven.gov.uk to book group tours too.

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Cogglesford Mill

Covid19 is still threatening its ugliness across the world but you’ll find the staff at Coggesford Watermill are very friendly and have your safety in mind.  Please do contact them prior to your visit (see the YouTube video above for details).  Don’t forget your mask while looking around this historic building though.

From Navigation House you’ll find Coggesford Mill just a short walk away.  Look out for the Kingfishers while you’re walking along the river bank.  If you’re lucky you’ll see a flash of bright blue as one goes fishing for a snack.

If you’ve come from Navigation House hopefully you bought some duck food for the inevitable feeding spectacular.  It’s always a special moment for childen if you have any with you.  However, for the adults you’ll find an array of freshly ground flour and other local produce in the shop at Coggesford Mill and if it’s a sunny day you may want to buy an ice cream there too.

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford Coggesford Water Mill LincsConnect

Coggesford Water Mill – if this picture downs’e tempt you to visit I don’t know what will…

The mill was originally a single story building but was later extended to three stories. Built in the 18th Century it’s still producing freshly ground flour to this day.  Its history goes way back to Saxon times so the building we see today with its two sets of millstones is relatively modern!

Seeing and hearing the mill in action is a real treat so I do hope you get to experience it.  I’ve noticed that there is now a virtual tour as well as special school trips so please do get in touch by email cogglesfordwatermill@n-kesteven.gov.uk for more information and to book. In fact, please do get in touch before visiting anyway as the Covid19 situation is continually changing.

Maintenance Closure

It’s worth noting that Cogglesford Watermill l is undergoing some improvement and maintenance work at the moment. As a result it is temporarily closed.  It’ll be open again in September though in time for the children returning to school. If you’re a teacher and would like to organise a trip please do get in touch.  Follow @Cogglesford on Twitter for regular updates.

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Museum

Around Me In Lincolnshire Sleaford Museum LincsConnect

Discover more of the history of Sleaford by visiting the museum. Currently open every Saturday between 10.00am and 3.00pm. Click on the picture to go to the website or follow them on Twitter @MuseumSleaford 

This local history museum is a charity run by volunteers.  Opening times are limited as I write this blog but please do visit the website and twitter page for updates as additional opening times will inevitably follow the easing of Covid19 restrictions.  Don’t forget to book in before arrival to make sure they have a slot available as visits are limited to four people at a time. Keep up to date on Facebook at Sleaford Museum

Historically (excuse the pun) the museum has had exhibitions but they are limited at the moment.  Checking the website will give you the full up-to-date details though.

Local history talks take place at St Deny’s Church rooms (off the Market Place) and start at 7.30pm. Follow this link for a timetable:  Events and Talks

St Deny’s Church is visible from Eastgate (A153/B1517) and is a ‘must see’ Grade I listed building dating back to the 12th Century.  Click on the blue links to read more and find them on Facebook here St Deny’s Church Sleaford

Around Me In Lincolnshire Sleaford Museum LincsConnect

Getting there: The address is 81 Southgate (contact number 07518 972016) with plenty of parking and a rail link

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Places Of Interest

Sleaford certainly is a gem in the Lincolnshire countryside with lots of interesting things to do and places to visit.  It’s a market town with regular markets on Mondays and Fridays plus a famers market every first Saturday of the month.  It also has a thriving shopping area too with independent shops as well as some big chain stores.  If you fancy some shopping and a bite to eat or a drink you’ll be spoilt for choice.   Just 7 minutes drive from St Deny’s Church in Sleaford is Kirkby-La-Thorpe. Here you’ll find the 12th Century small church which also happens to be called The Church Of St Denny’s.

The Queens Head Bar And Restaurant

Kirkby-La-Thorpe is worthy of a mention because of its church of course but also the village pub which was formerly called The Queens Head Inn (on Boston Road).  The original pub achieved the prestigious Top 13 Pub in the UK award with its fantastic food and great value. It closed in early 2019 due to a combination of COVID19 and the death of a former owner.  Since then it has been taken over by a new team who’ve been putting in the hours and hard work to completely renovate and rejuvenate it.  New menus are planned with the emphasis on locally sourced produce.

The Queens Head team have been posting their progress on Twitter so if you would like to follow their journey click on this link: @QueensKirkby now. You can join in with the chat there and watch the changes being made as well as the new menus coming to life.

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford Queens Head Pub Kirkby-La-Thorpe LincsConnect

New beginnings means a new logo and I think this one is very smart. It’s modern and fresh which reflects nicely what the new owners aim to achieve. You can follow them on Twitter @QueensKirkby For reservations call 01529 305743 or visit the website www.thequeensheadpub.com

Cocktails At The Queens

Here is the new Cocktails List for the New Pub. Why not save the list to your phone and place your order when you get there?

 

The Queens Head is set to open its doors once again as a pub on 19 July 2021 and the restaurant will be opening shortly after.  Put Sunday 1 August in your diary for the restaurant but don’t forget to book your table in advance to avoid disappointment.  I have no doubt that this is going to be a very popular local pub and restaurant once again.

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Music

You can’t really write about Sleaford without mentioning the Saboteurs so sit back and have a listen to one or two of their songs.  They bill themselves as ‘alternative’ and ‘grunge’ but I just like their modern Indie feel.  Have a listen and make up your own mind.

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford The Saboteurs LincsConnect

The Saboteurs bill themselves as ‘Alternative’ and ‘Grunge’ but if you like modern indie music I think you’ll agree that whatever labels they put themselves under, they’re simply ‘very good’. Click on the picture to hear a different sample of their music.

Sleaford seems to have more that it’s fair share of music opportunities so it wouldn’t be right to omit the Sleaford Live Fest which is (normally) held in May every year.  Follow them on Twitter @Sleaford_Live and Facebook Sleaford Live Festival where you’ll find lots of links to local music and arts events.  Indie rock or folk music isn’t for everyone of course so if you prefer choral music, Sleaford has that too. Normal rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings with at least three concerts each year.  However, with the onslaught of the dreaded Covid19, rehearsals have been put on hold until August 2021.  For more information take a look at the Sleaford Choral Society website and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter too @ChoralSleaford

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More Places To Visit

This blog really could go and and on as there are so many places to visit in the Sleaford area.  The blog isn’t a definitive ‘what’s on’ for the area though so as a result I’ll cut the next bit short just to give you a taster:

Rauceby Hall will be opening its gates to welcome visitors once again from 14 to 18 July 2021.  Visitors to Rauceby Hall are invited to see the performances of  ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ which will be performed by Sleaford Playhouse Theatre who can be found on Facebook and Twitter @SleafordTheatre

Tickets are on sale for the performances so if you want to join the fun just click on the picture below to go to the ticket office:

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford A Midsummer Night's Dream LincsConnect

Click on the picture to book your tickets

If walking is your preferred form of relaxation and mindfulness then Sleaford has certainly got you covered.  The River Slea and Canal offer scenic routes with locks and mills being just part of the delights.  This is one of the routes provided by Sleaford Navigation which I’m sure you will enjoy.  Keep your eyes open for the Haverholme Priory too.  Follow the link to read about the sad demise of the priory building.  Personally I think it’s really quite tragic.

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford Navigation Haverholme Priory LincsConnect

Click on the picture to read and download the walk which has been uploaded by Sleaford Navigation

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford – Charity

Charity begins with you and me but with so many charities needing our help it’s difficult to know which ones to choose. This North Kesteven website has a list of local charities in Sleaford so if you’re able to donate or volunteer please do click on the picture below for more information:

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Sleaford Charities LincsConnect

Are you able to help a local charity? Click on the picture to go to a list of local charities in Sleaford. Perhaps you can volunteer or make a donation?

In Case You Missed It

Take a look back at some of the previous blogs to see what you might have missed.  Click on the picture to go straight to the blog:

Around Me In Lincolnshire - Gainsborough through the eyes of LincsConnect

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Gainsborough

 

LincsConnectJobs hour for jobs and courses

#LincsConnectJobs Hour for jobs and courses

 

Great Grimsby Day 2021 by LincsConnectGreat Grimsby Day 2021

Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford

That’s it for now.  I hope you enjoy my local ‘Around Me’ blogs.  I’ll be grateful for any comments and feedback so feel free to email me at martin@lincsconnect.co.uk

If you would like me to visit your town please do let me know.  Advertising comes with a FREE link to the blog for as long as you want it so you can use it again and again to help promote your business or charity.

Look after yourself and each other

 

 

#ShopLocal?

#ShopLocal?

Hashtags – Do They Work?

The simple answer here is ‘yes’ and ‘no’!  How many times have you seen posts on social media with the hashtag #ShopLocal on it?  As crazy as it may sound, the hashtag really isn’t much use if you’re using it to help people find you.  It’s fine as a statement of fact on your post but when you search for it you’ll find that the posts are anything but local.  In fact, the posts you’ll find there are for all around the world so if you’re expecting people to find your cheese that you produced in Sleaford I strongly suggest you think again!  When I set up Lincs Connect in 2012 I experimented with several hashtags and names before settling on #LincsConnect.  Other examples of my trial hashtags included #ShopLocal (ironically I created this hashtag in January 2011 for use on my @MANDARINLEISURE account but scrapped it because it went global) #SupportLincolnshire #SupportLincolnshireBusiness #SupportLocal #SupportLocalBusiness with the latter being shortened to #SLBiz. However, my early research made me realise that the ‘Support…’ hashtags were just too long and people refused to use them because of the amount of space they took up on the posts.  Another reason for scrapping them was because they start with the word ‘Support’.  When searching social media for relevant hashtags to do with Lincolnshire you’ll find that typing the letters ‘Linc’ into the search bar will give you LincsConnect on twitter and Lincs Connect on Facebook in the top three names to visit. Compare that to typing in ‘Support’ which will give you all sorts of connotations from TwitterSupport to a whole host of other national and international business support sites. It makes sense then that the hashtag to use on your tweets needs to be #LincsConnect as it is at the top of your searches and is truly local to Lincolnshire.

How To Use A Hashtag

If you’re happily adding hashtags to your post but never searching them you’ve truly missed s trick!  Here’s what to do:  Type in #LincsConnect in your search bar then press enter. Don’t click on the account @LincsConnect as that’ll take you to the account only which means you’ll miss all the good information.  Once your device takes you to the messages on the #LincsConnect timeline you need to look for the ‘Latest’ tab at the top of the Twitter page.  If you type #LincsConnect into the search bar on Facebook you’ll need to look for the ‘Posts’ tab at the top of the page (this’ll also show you related Instagram posts). Once you’ve discovered these pages you’ll realise that there is a huge amount of information, business posts, personal posts, charity posts and requests for help etc etc that are all related to our local area.  Try it now to see what you can find.  It’s a fantastic way to network and find out what’s going on locally.

Supporting Local

How do you support local?  Is it as easy as going to the local shops and picking something from the shelves?  In case you hadn’t considered it before, let me share some of my ideas about shopping and supporting locals:

  1.  Shop locally – supporting local traders by buying their produce in local shops, garden centres, farm shops and markets
  2.  Online – Many local traders have online shops.  A more cost effective way of selling may be via platforms like Etsy shops or even selling directly via social media
  3.  Don’t forget the local charity shops.  Dropping off your unwanted items is absolutely crucial but don’t forget they are there to help raise funds for the many worthy causes that otherwise would’t survive without our support.  Buying from the shops is absolutely essential if the charities are to survive.
  4. Social media – In the 10 years that I’ve been running #LincsConnect I’ve noticed some big changes in how people use the various platforms.  I’ve noticed a big rise in the professionally run accounts (some companies run several accounts for different clients) and I’ve also noticed the reluctance of many accounts to share anyone else messages or support others.  I’ll talk more about these two subjects later.

Obviously there are many other ways to support local businesses, charities and organisation but I’ll focus on my main observations first if that’s OK?

Shop Local

This concept certainly isn’t new.  However, during the Covid19 pandemic it has become much more important and (thankfully) much more prolific.  We know how important our local CoOp, Post office, newsagent and Spar shops are.  Many of them are in walking distance (for those who are able) and stock locally produced products.  Perhaps, with the use of ‘people power’ they might be able to stock more local local produce to help the local economy even further.  A polite request from customers or local traders may be all it takes.  It’s worth a try! In addition to helping to support local traders (including the shop owners and staff) it must have also come to your attention that during the lockdown there have been less emissions, less fossil fuel burned and less litter.  All of these positives are good for the planet so let’s see if we can maintain our recent good practices.

Online

This isn’t something that I have ever considered for my own businesses before Covid19 but it is something that I have been doing during the lockdown.  FaceTime and WhatsApp video calling has been a fantastic way to maintain contact with my clients while reducing my fuel usage in my truck.  It’s definitely a practice that I intend to maintain. During the lockdown I’ve been busy writing blogs and searching for companies who sell online.  Some are using Etsy, some use Facebook and others use Twitter.  I’m sure there are other platforms that are equally as good or even better but I haven’t come across them yet.  The obvious choice and probably the most popular is direct selling from websites.  Many people have their own eCommerce shop on their website which is easily maintained by the trader and convenient for the customer.  If, like me, you are a bit of a technophobe you’ll be able to find website designers who will be able to build a site for you or help you with your existing site.  If you would like to get in touch with any designers please feel free to ask me for some suggestions.  After all, that is what Lincs ‘Connect’ is for!

Charities

I often include charities in my blogs because I feel they need all the help they can get.  I’ve focused on very small charities through to the very big charities and the one thing that they all have in common is their use of social media.  The posts may not raise funds directly but their constant presence certainly helps to raise your awareness of them

Share The Love

Looking at the various accounts on social media I often make up my mind whether I should support them or not simply by looking at their posts.  The ones who never share anyone else posts, have conversations or try in any way to support anyone else is a big red flag for me.  I find myself asking the question ‘why should I support them when they don’t support others and are very unlikely to support me?’ I’m a big believer in helping others so when I find someone who shows no interest other than to post their own tweets I tend to move on to find someone who is more sociable and supportive.

Buying And Selling

I’ve noticed Fiona @OrigArtPrints on Twitter while searching the #LincsConnect hashtag and really like what she has been painting on old maps.  Her main sales come from Craft Shows but obviously they haven’t been open over the last few months so, being creative she turned her attention to Facebook and Twitter for her sales.  Facebook has been successful but Twitter less so.  However, her Twitter account is a good platform for showcasing what she does and for directing people to her Facebook account.  It is important to use more than one platform on social media if you want to increase your client base.  It’ll be interesting to see if future sales turn more towards social media and less towards the craft fairs.  Only time will tell. I think these paintings on old maps are fabulous.  You have to admit, they do bring the map to life. Here is another example:

If you would like more information about Fionas art just click on the picture for a link to her Facebook page. I’m sure she will be happy to see you there and you’ll be Able to see selections of her cards and key rings too.

Websites, Social Media And YouTube

I’m no expert of course but it does appear to me that one of the best ways to find a website (given that you probably didn’t know the sites name or even that you wanted to make a purchase) is through social media.  I’ll say that bit again just to clarify, “through ‘social’ media”.  Why the emphasis on ‘social’?  Well, I’ve noticed far too often that many people are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show off their products and gain new customers but quite often don’t realise that they need to talk to their followers to get continued engagement and (hopefully) new sales.  Put it this way, if you don’t talk to me on social media I’m not likely to notice you.  On the other hand, if you do talk to me but I don’t talk back you’ll soon stop talking to me.  Either way, I would be the loser so that’s why it’s always best to be ‘social’ on social media! While being pre-occupied with social media I almost forgot about YouTube.  Surely I can’t be the only person who searches YouTube on a very regular basis for music and information?  I do think it’s a great platform for showing your products (you’ll have seen some of my YouTube videos if you’ve been reading my other blogs), courses and skills.  While the social media could drive potential customers to your website the same driving force could apply to YouTube.  I feature a local band of the week each day on twitter and invariably I find the bands on Twitter or Facebook first then either follow a link to their YouTube channel or take a few seconds to search for them in the YouTube search bar.  This band (Saboteurs) from Sleaford have really got my attention this week.  You can follow them on Twitter @sabsbanduk for regular music posts and updates about upcoming gigs when Covid19 restrictions allow.  Alternatively you can go straight to their website www.saboteursband.co.uk for lots more info and a chance to purchase their new album.

The Saboteurs YouTube channel – just click on the picture to go straight there. It’s as easy as that and if you like good Indie music I think you’ll like this too

See You Soon…

I hope you like my brief blog about using social media for selling and finding new customers.  Please feel free to leave a comment below and share the post with your friends and contacts.  Hopefully I’ll see you when I search the #LincsConnect hashtag again soon.

Stay Safe 

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