Villagers on edge for contest results

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PEOPLE of Langtoft, the only local village to feature as a finalist in Lincolnshire’s Best-Kept Village Competition, are bowled over by the news of their first-ever placing in the contest’s 50th year.

They are waiting with bated breath to find out next month how Langtoft has fared against rivals Nettleham and Woodhall Spa in the large village (pop 2001 to 7,000) category.

Crowland has also reached the final three in the small market town with a population under 7,000 section of the contest, and will be judged alongside Caistor and Horncastle.

Judges will be looking round the finalist villages unannounced sometime this month, a month later than in previous years, because all judging has been pushed back to give young birds time to have left their nests before hedges were cut for the contest.

A spokesman for contest organisers Community Lincs said: “There’s far more emphasis this year on looking after wildlife so we’ve stopped our practice of judging in June, July and August and pushed it all a month on for the sake of nesting birds.

“We’re also promoting provision for wildlife in the judging of village green spaces, so judges will actually be marking up areas of wildflower meadow left for butterflies and birds.

“It’s not about who’s got the most beautiful church - it’s about how involved communities are in caring for their surroundings.”

Lincolnshire’s contest is one of the most successful among English counties, with more than 120 communities sprucing themselves up to take part.

Unlike the In Bloom contest its judges don’t announce when they are coming round to check how well villages are looked after by their inhabitants.

Langtoft parish council clerk Steina Bishop said: “Getting through to the finals was very unexpected because our village is split by the A15, but we do have a lively community and a very good parish maintenance man. Fingers crossed!”