It's official - life in Horncastle dazzles the eye!

We told you Horncastle is a bloomin' lovely place to live, work, and visit...and now judges in a major competition agree.

A colourful basket of flowers in the Market Place helped win over judges

As revealed in the News last week, Horncastle finished runner-up in the 2018 Lincolnshire Best Kept Village and Small Towns competition.

The event attracted a record entry, and Horncastle took second place in the class four small market town category (population 2,501-7,00o)

behind Long Sutton.,

Hammerton Gardens - just off South Street

The event, run by the Campaign to Protect, saw judges visit Horncastle on several occasions - and they were obviously impressed.

Town councillors entered Horncastle and they were delighted with the outcome.

Town clerk Amanda Bushell told the News: “We are absolutely delighted.

“This is fantastic news for the town, and a credit to all the residents and businesses who continue to take a pride in the appearance of our town.

Trees line the banks of the River Bain near to Jubilee Way

“The Town Council received some useful feedback from the judges of the 2017 competition, so some changes were made.

“This year, the Town Council has carried out the grass verge cutting and weed spraying on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council, which has enabled us to increase the frequency of these tasks.

“It has organised several Community Clear Up days; worked with the Lincolnshire Co-op on projects to smarten up the town; recruited an additional part-time “Estates employee which gave the Estates team time to help with the litter picking, graffiti removal and fly posting; and placed several more planters with shrubs and flowers throughout the town.

“Other community groups also helped – Walkers are Welcome organised several litter picks and Horncastle RiverCare continue to do a fantastic job of cleaning up the rivers.

What a picture: The Kings Head in the towns Bull Ring, complete with thatched roof and impressive display of hanging baskets.

“There is still some work to do, but everyone’s hard work is starting to pay off, and we have a town which we can be proud of. Thank you.”

The criteria included:

• Overall appearance and condition - Absence of litter, unauthorised / unsightly refuse, absence of graffiti / vandalism, dumps on verges, general condition of roads and paths.

• Green Spaces - Provision for wildlife (such as bird boxes / feeders, bat boxes) and wildflowers is encouraged. The general appearance of: public greens, trees, ponds, streams, dykes, parks, nature areas, hedges, gardens, and allotments will be assessed, as will the condition of footpaths, stiles, field gates, signposting and children’s play areas.

Hanging baskets and bunting on business premises in North Street

•Public Premises - The condition of town halls, community centres, public halls, sports facilities, playing fields, schools and playgrounds, market places will be assessed as will shelters, public seats, notice boards, bus stops and signs, telephone boxes and car parks. Cleanliness of public toilets and road signs.

• Private Premises - The collective appearance of private gardens, hedges, fences and walls.

•Religious buildings and memorials

•Business Premises - The collective appearance of business property including pubs

•Overall community effort - Evidence of community spirit and activity.

While Horncastle rightly celebrates , the only question is - how did Long Sutton come on top?

Historic St Marys Square - always a picture whatever the time of year

• All pictures taken by John Fieldhouse.