Community at heart of untouched village

HAPPY HOMEOWNERS: Andora Carver with other Nayland residents outside the village post office.
HAPPY HOMEOWNERS: Andora Carver with other Nayland residents outside the village post office.

Beautiful surroundings, a raft of listed buildings and its countryside location have all contributed to Nayland being recognised as one of the best places to live in the UK.

Named by a national newspaper as being among the top 101 spots to set up home, residents have pin-pointed the vibrant community for making the village truly special.

There are a number of thriving pubs, long-running family businesses and general stores, while the primary school has been rated as outstanding by Ofsted.

The village has its own fire station, a well-used village hall, which was rebuilt in 2000, and even its own dentist surgery.

With beer festivals and fetes, there is always something going on.

“We are surrounded by history and have a link to the medieval wool village that we were,” said Gerry Battye, chairman of the parish council, who lives in Elm Grove.

“We have many listed properties, an outstanding primary school and are blessed with good shops, which means there are a good range of things to buy.”

Mr Battye said there was also a regular bus service in and out of the village and although house prices were at a premium, steps were being made to build more affordable homes.

Resident Andora Carver, who organised an archeological dig last year, said the place was full of interesting characters.

“There is beautiful countryside, we are right by the River Stour which is a very peaceful setting and there are unique buildings dating back to the 13th century,” said Mrs Carver, from Mill House.

“But there are also lots of wonderful people of all ages and they get involved in lots of activities and that gives the village a community spirit.”

On Sunday, a national newspaper put the village in the spotlight as it praised the unspoilt timber-framed buildings, its landscape and the Anchor Inn.

“The place has been relatively untouched and the houses have been here hundreds of years,” said Chis Sirman, deputy general manager at the pub, which also has its own smokery.

“People come from all over and there are lots of good walks and it’s very child friendly.”

Rachel Whitelock, who runs grocery store Forget Me Not, said she had enjoyed living in the area for 10 years.

“Once people come here, they tend to stay around as there is always lots going on and it’s a real community,” she said.

The village remains busy throughout the week and there is enough trade to sustain a post office and hairdressers.

“Nayland has still got a heart, local businesses and a good atmosphere,” said Angela Summers, from nearby Great Horkesley.

“So much is unchanged, but it is not just a dormitory, it is still used and is very friendly.”