Back to the future

As the sun goes down on the Shropshire market town of Bishop’s Castle, for many locals, like millions across the UK, it means closing the curtains and locking the doors. Not, however, for those in The Wintles. They pour a cup of tea or a glass of white wine, then saunter out to join the neighbours on the village green.

It may sound like a centuries old traditional lifestyle, but The Wintles is one of Britain’s newest housing schemes, one which has put a contemporary twist on the concept of a village green to create neighbourliness and an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, too.

“It’s wonderful, really liberating, and is perhaps the best aspect of living here,” enthuses Pat Robinson.

“We chill out on the green. We see our neighbours each evening and hold seasonal events too – a mid-summer’s night picnic, a boule and petanque contest in July, and a Christmas morning drinks party around a communal Christmas tree,” she says.

“There are no cars around the green so children play there, people take out their babies and the adults chat. It works across the generations,” explains Pat, a humanist celebrant who presides over non-religious wedding and funeral ceremonies.