Croston is one of Lancashire’s best kept secrets in spite of having its charms celebrated on national television. It’s a delightful village with a thriving food and drink scene, a strong sense of community, picture-perfect looks and glorious countryside. It also has impressive schools, good transport links and some beautiful homes to choose from.

Penelope Keith declared herself a fan of the village in 2018 when she presented and judged the last four central zone villages in the Village of the Year programme on Channel 4. And it’s not hard to see why.

Church Street has been described as one of the best-preserved rows of 17th century cottages in Lancashire, St Michael and All Angels Church is an ancient and pretty focal point of life in Croston, and the river Yarrow bumbles gently through the village.

Great British Life: St Michael and All Angels Church and Town Road. PHOTO: John CocksSt Michael and All Angels Church and Town Road. PHOTO: John Cocks

It hasn’t always been benign – the village was on the national news a few years ago when 340 properties were flooded, and some homes were affected earlier this year but a multi-million pound defence system has limited the number of properties at risk.

There is a solid French connection to Croston, being twinned with the French town of Azay le Rideau, just south west of Tours. The local sports club plays in the Croston and District Boules league. Every year, the village salutes Bastille Day with stalls and good food, and of course, there's a game of boules.

Croston has much to offer those who love good food and drink, plus some excellent shops. You're always close to a pub or restaurant whether you are having an evening stroll looking for dinner, a swift half after work or returning from a long walk through the countryside with The Lord Nelson, claiming to be the oldest pub in the area.

The local primary school currently has an Outstanding Ofsted rating. Croston Old School is now a grade two listed building originally built in 1616. Now used as a community resource centre with a reference library, it hosts the village pre-school and events throughout the year.

Bringing the village together

Great British Life: Town Road, Croston. PHOTO: Kirsty ThompsonTown Road, Croston. PHOTO: Kirsty Thompson

Steven Nicholson-Wrigley moved to Croston with his wife and young daughter for the outstanding schools and community life.

The family love to walk, and one of their favourite walks is at the back of the church towards the priory field, where there's a small playground for the children and lots to explore.

Steven is a big supporter of Croston Together. He also supports a relatively new concept, the Croston Shed, which is helping support mental health in older men. And Steven has helped bring Pride to Croston by buying flags for local businesses. Thanks to him, the Parish Church proudly flies the LGBT+ flag high above the village green.

When it comes to eating out, the Nicholson-Wrigleys are spoilt for choice. Steven said, 'We try and support all the local businesses as much as possible. We are regulars to the Wheatsheaf, Panshi and Vele'.

According to Steven, new to the Croston scene is Out Lane Social, which makes a fantastic Sunday lunch. Steven says, 'His daughter drags them there willingly for the sausage, mash and peas'. 'But', he adds, 'the best-kept foodie secret is the hot wings at Croston Sports Club, which I say are the best in the North West.'

A tasty addition

Great British Life: Greg and Rebecca's Croston pizzasGreg and Rebecca's Croston pizzas

Rebecca Bamber grew up in Tarleton, which once was a chapelry in the parish of Croston.

She moved to the area with her partner and her children because of the familiarity of the village she experienced growing up.

Shopping and eating locally is essential to the family supporting independent businesses. Rebecca says: ' With a passion for food and hospitality, we brought new life to an old restaurant that had been closed, now known as 'Out Lane Social'. It's mainly Rebecca's husband Greg’s project, even though she named it.

Rebecca said: 'I mentioned one day that I thought Croston needed pizza, and then he bought a converted horse box/pizza trailer, and Croston Pizza Co. was born; both are doing well and popular with locals and tourists.

‘Croston is beautiful; we're spoiled with walks and scenery. I love the old town bridge and getting lost down the many footpaths, particularly around the drink house road area. I love ancient architecture and find any walk around Croston magical – among the fields, flowers, or houses.

'Croston is such a beautiful juxtaposition', adds Rebecca. 'You can pick up a kombucha but also catch somebody painting one of the many picture postcard scenes'.