There are not many places that have retained their village identity and are still thriving, but Longton and New Longton are two local places well worth a visit, writes Tracy Hargreaves. Photography: Paul Currie
Both Longton and New Longton have retained their village identity and have a lovely community feel, which comes from their range of thriving shops, local sports teams, good village schools and social clubs.
Longton VM Sports and Social Club was founded in 1922 for the use of the people of Longton and surrounding areas and remains as popular today. It offers a warm welcome and a range of facilities for members and non-members alike of all ages and their families.
The parish of Longton maintains a rural character and includes areas of woodland, agricultural land, many outlying farms and is home to around 6000 residents. Longton Brickcroft is a site of local conservation importance, managed as a wetland nature reserve with facilities for fishing, picnicking, nature appreciation and visitor interpretation. It’s a chance to get away from village life and enjoy a circular walk, taking in the wide range of wildlife, which can be observed from the pathways. There’s also a visitor centre which contains displays and information on the site’s history.
Shopping in Longton couldn’t be easier with an array of independent retailers stocking everything you need, including a Booths supermarket, children’s clothes, haberdashery, hardware stores, dry cleaners, ladies boutiques, jewellers, mobility shop, travel agents, gift and coffee shops, hairdressers and beauty salons, not to mention a host of pubs and eateries, such as the Ram’s Head and Langs of Longton, both of which serve fabulous food.
South Ribble Council also produce several booklets on walking routes of varying distances, whether they are health walks or guided walks around the marshes, it’s a chance to discover more about the area and the rural countryside. Visit www.southribble.gov.uk/content/walking-route-cards for more details.
New Longton is just down the road and is a newer village located to the south west of Preston, in the district of South Ribble. It is in the parish of Longton, which is the name of the older village located two miles to the west of New Longton.
A good place to meet friends for a catch up is coffee shop Sticky Weeds. However, it’s more than just a coffee shop. It also sells gorgeous giftware from candles to jewellery and regularly puts on craft events for the local community. The village has always taken pride in its appearance and in 2004, New Longton was a runner up in Lancashire’s Best Kept Village competition.
It also has a popular social club. New Longton Sports and Social Club football and cricket was founded in 1921 and has been an integral part of the local community with sport deeply embedded in the club’s history and heritage with football and cricket being the main sports, followed by pool and poker.
Whilst its shops are not as extensive as in Longton, it includes: a wool shop, pharmacy, hair salon and post office.
With easy access from both to the motorway network and the city of Preston, Longton and New Longton are great places to live and visit. Why not take a look?