This version has kindly been made available by the author, David Stuart-Mogg for the villagers and those others interested in our lovely village.
This is the story of Wansford, described by its own villagers and friends from neighbouring communities. Such a venture is indicative of the continuing community spirit that was once widespread amongst adjacent rural settlements.
Notwithstanding the significant increase in new housing in Wansford and the conversion of properties from agriculturally related or commercial use into domestic dwellings, the village has happily largely retained a spirit of common interest that was shared amongst the majority of country people in past centuries. Such people often lived barely above subsistence level, yet prided themselves in their necessary rugged individuality and ability to survive the seasonal vagaries of a largely agrarian based economy.
Today’s Wansford resident is most likely to have forsaken the stress and pollution of an urban environment by choice. The attractions of family life, or indeed retirement, enjoying reasonably unpolluted country air within a relatively low-density and largely crime-free environment, adjacent to fields and woodlands, are abundantly clear. Not that life in any village at the start of the twenty-first century should be painted as one of uninterrupted bucolic bliss.
Increasingly, villages everywhere are threatened with the prospect of becoming mere dormitories for commuters who work, shop and often socialise away from their village. This potential is arguably encouraged by so-called ‘brown-field development’, where gardens are lost to new housing and properties demolished for profitable rebuilds at higher density levels; often at the cost of irreparable damage to long-term village ambiance. More cars, more motor mowers, more hedge trimmers, more power-washers, more bonfires, more fireworks – all at ever closer proximity and at greater frequency – thereby detracting from the very quality of life that has hitherto been a keynote attraction of villages and rural life everywhere.
Clearly, Wansford must evolve and grow if it is to survive. However, such growth must surely be both sensitive and organic. In the wake of continuing losses of amenity, all manner of local enterprises come under threat as Wansford and surrounding villages gradually morph into little more than suburbs of Peterborough – perhaps eventually with their own Tesco Metro supplanting the traditional village post office and stores!
That said, Wansford is indeed fortunate in still having a community that welcomes, indeed embraces the new whilst, on occasion at least, minding a duty of care as custodian of the past.
Download the full Story of Wansford here