Few places could be as aptly named as Lymm. Meaning ‘places of running water’ it is home to the picturesque Lymm Dam, to the Bridgewater Canal, with its pretty boats, plus Slitten Gorge and its 18th-century watermill.

There are plenty of watering holes too, with a range of pubs, bars, coffee houses and restaurants, which bring in food and drink lovers from near and far.

‘At weekends you can barely move for visitors,’ says Moira Yeamans, who first moved to Lymm more than 60 years ago.

Great British Life: Moira Yeamans, who first moved to Lymm more than 60 years ago, in her waterside apartment. Moira Yeamans, who first moved to Lymm more than 60 years ago, in her waterside apartment. (Image: Kirsty Thompson)

‘It’s wonderful. You have couples, families, people with dogs. It gives this kind of holiday feeling. When my daughter (Radio Northwich’s Kim Smith) comes to visit, she will always say “we've just come through the village and everyone's strolling about, there's people sitting outside”. I feel as though I'm on holiday every day.’

Moira makes the most of the village’s active social life, and has been a key part of the community for all her adult life.

‘We lived in Lymm when my husband and I first married. We bought our first property in 1960, a little bungalow, which we loved, but as our children came along – it was only two bedrooms and we had a boy and a girl – we bought a bigger house on the main road. It was very close to the village and easy to get to school.

‘I bought a little shop, which we called the Baby Boutique, and we sold beautiful babywear and childrenswear. We used to do fashion shows for children. It was great.’

As her children got a little older, the family moved a few miles out, to Grappenhall, but Moira remained a regular in the village.

‘I’d made lots of friends and I'd got hobbies that meant I was always coming back,’ she says. ‘Then as the years went on, and sadly my husband passed away, and I moved to a wonderful canal-side apartment, back in Lymm. It’s so close to the water, with lovely boats swishing up and down all day and no traffic. It's perfect. I can walk down to the village in about five minutes.

‘I've joined a midweek choir. I've been singing in choirs for a long time, and I love it. I go to my WI coffee club every Tuesday at the Crown Inn. I'm doing something every day.

‘I'm so pleased I made the move back when I did. I feel like I’ve never gone away. We all look out for each other.’

Great British Life: Bee Chic owner Barbara Blundell loves the rural side of village life. Bee Chic owner Barbara Blundell loves the rural side of village life. (Image: Kirsty Thompson)

These days Moira’s Baby Boutique on The Cross is a smart ladieswear shop, called Bee Chic, owned by designer and buyer Barbara Blundell.

‘I used to go to the health club, and I was going to open a shop in Didsbury, but talking to friends and they recommended I come to Lymm,’ says Barbara. ‘That was in 1986 and I’m still here.

‘I like the rural side of the village. It’s a great place to go for a walk and take the dog out.’

The boutique is a stone’s throw from the Grade One listed cross, complete with stocks, a reminder of the village’s rich history, which goes back to a dinosaur’s footprint that’s 240 million years old, via a charming jumble of grand Victorian houses, mixed with Georgian Cheshire redbrick, and more modern buildings.

‘There’s a lot of history, and we have walkers coming here from all over,’ says Barbara. ‘On Christmas Eve everyone gathers to sing traditional carols just outside, and we have the Dickensian, which is a huge draw.

‘Plus, of course, people come to socialise. You could walk along the canal or go to the Terrace (now called the Courtyard) or the coffee house. I like the Golden Fleece, the staff are very nice there, and the Spread Eagle, Number 18, the Wine Kitchen and the Bull.

‘I know the world and his wife. I’m very lucky to have a lot of friends here. I’ve thought about retiring, but I love being part of the community. I go for a walk at the dam, and there’s always someone to say hello to.’

Great British Life: The Church Green owner Sarah Byrne is one of the business owners in the village who has set up I Love Lymm. The Church Green owner Sarah Byrne is one of the business owners in the village who has set up I Love Lymm. (Image: Kirsty Thompson)

Down by the dam, Sarah Byrne and her husband Aiden have owned the Church Green for the past 16 years. Before that, it was run by her dad. The couple caused a stir when they set up in the pub, with Aiden being the youngest chef to win a Michelin star at the age of just 22 and having spent his early years at some of the best fine dining restaurants in the country.

‘I think there was an idea when we first came that somehow it wouldn’t be a pub anymore,’ laughs Sarah. ‘But it’s very much somewhere that's part of the community.

‘My dad used to own the property and he’d taken it from a drinkers' pub to more of a bistro, and that was what we carried on with. Sixteen years in and we do a gourmet night once a month where Aiden does his fine dining, and that’s selling out each time. It’s mostly the first Wednesday of every month. It allows him to cook things he wouldn’t normally have a chance to, and as soon as tickets get released, they get booked up.

‘But most of the time it’s much more casual. For us, it’s home, and we want to see families coming in, we’ve seen little children grow up in the time we’ve been here, including our own.

Lymm is the perfect place for the children to grow up. We’ve got Lauren who's 21, Harrison who's 19 and Bella has just turned 14. It's a beautiful village, everybody knows each other.’

When they aren’t running their own business, Sarah and Aiden are keen to support other local independents too.

‘There are a lot of restaurants and bars,’ says Sarah. ‘There’s a new bar just opened called Runway, and you've got the Wine Kitchen as well.’

Over lockdown, Sarah and some of the other businesses set up an Instagram page, I Love Lymm, to help support the village.

‘Lots of the shops and the restaurants in the village got together,’ she explains. ‘Part of it is we all talk and share tips, we have an internal WhatsApp group, so we can chat. And we also promote each other through an Instagram page, where we offer discounts and share all the great things that happen here. We’ve had bags made and we promote what’s going on within the village.

‘It’s doing well locally, but the aim is to spread the word a bit more and get out further afield, especially when the weather warms up.’

As the sun brings with it the crowds, the Church Inn will bring back its popular pizza shack.

‘We always know summer is on its way when we open the pizza shack and the deli gets busy with people looking for picnics,’ she says. ‘The deli grew out of lockdown because we couldn't open the restaurant. At one point, we had queues going down the street all the way down to the town. It’s still very popular, and my brother runs that at the moment. We are very much a family business.’

Great British Life: Room Forty's Jen Perry, with a loaf of her fabulous homemade bread.Room Forty's Jen Perry, with a loaf of her fabulous homemade bread. (Image: Kirsty Thompson)

As well as the popular places to eat out, there’s been a boom in people looking to learn to cook in the village. Jen Perry owns Room 40, which runs baking classes from Lymm Village Hall.

‘Lymm is such a lovely place with a warm identity,’ says Jen. ‘There’s so much packed into such a picturesque little village: great shops, places to eat, pubs, bars, history, and walks.

’The Dam is a perfect short walk in any season, with children clambering up the sandstone, or simply being absorbed in nature, watching the squirrels. It is even better followed by a great lunch at the Church Green or simply an ice cream at the van.

‘The village hall is right in the centre, along a cobbled road. Recently renovated, it hosts a wealth of classes and events, and really is the hub of the village.

‘When we established our mobile baking school eight years ago, the village hall was the natural venue for our first-ever class. It has facilities for a pop-up bakery, with a great oven and plenty of light and space.’

Room Forty (roomforty.co.uk) has sessions coming up for croissants and pain au chocolate, marmalade bread, malt loaf and Welsh cakes, and one for beginners, including pizza and soda bread.

‘We’ve now taught well over 1,000 people to bake real bread, bagels, croissant and focaccia at venues across the region,’ she says. ‘But we still regularly use the beautiful village hall.’