The small Derbyshire village of Elmton was voted the ‘Best Small Village’, in the East Midlands at the In Bloom awards ceremony held at the Winding Wheel, Chesterfield on Wednesday 18th September. Receiving its first gold award in the competition, it beat off rivals from Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. The villagers can be justly proud of their small rural community.
The awards didn’t stop there. Elmton Green was voted to have the best Wildlife and Conservation Area, for which a glass trophy was presented. This will sit proudly beside the silver bowl awarded to the Best Small Village. Following the total rebuilding of the village Pinfold, a structure historically used for containing stray animals, a Judges Award was received for the conservation work. The Pinfold was rebuilt in 2019 from local magnesian limestone by dry stone walling expert Amanda James.
During the judging tour, the judges were impressed by how much goes on in such a small community. They were shown the newly created Welcome to Elmton border which houses a blue plaque for Jedediah Buxton. He was the ‘human calculating machine’, who lived in the village in the 18th century. The tour continued via the pub garden and community orchard, looking at some of the gardens that were open for charity as part of the National Gardens scheme. The judges went on to Elmton Green and looked at the wildlife conservation area with bee orchids, quaking grass and an abundance of butterflies. The tour continued past the Pinfold to return to the Old Schoolroom which had just completed a refurbishment funded by Big Local.
The judges were told about the events in the village which start with Elmton Festival in June. This is always popular with visitors, who travel from all over Britain to visit open gardens. The festival includes three well dressings, exhibitions, a local youth brass band and of course cream teas. The festival starts with a Blessing of the Wells ceremony with singing by Whitwell Community Choir.
Other events in the village include a community archaeology project which is currently investigating the origins and location of the medieval village. The final event of the year is always carol singing around the village, which ends with mince pies and mulled wine in the schoolroom.
These awards are a tribute to the local community, the parish, district and county councils and Chatsworth Estates, who all provide support to the village.