Toppesfield Village / Gainsford Enda truly unique village
Toppesfield (and the adjoining hamlet of Gainsford End) is a truly unique village in North Essex. With a population of just 500, it won the 2016 Essex Village of the Year competition out of 38 entrants.
The judges were “really impressed” by the “huge amount” of community facilities and locally-managed events in such a small village. They said the general feeling in Toppesfield was one of “inclusiveness and altruism”.
RCCE director Nick Shuttleworth said: “Toppesfield is a vibrant and remarkably enterprising community with a real flair for finding solutions to local issues. There must be very few villages in the whole country where both the shop and pub are successfully run by the community.”
Success stories for Toppesfield include:
- Purchase of the Green Man Pub in 2014 by the Community to prevent it being closed
- Conversion of one of the Pub barns into a Community Micro Brewery. The Pumphouse Brewery started producing quality beers in the summer of 2015. The Brewery is led by a qualified brewer with assistance from community volunteers and now supplies the Green Man and other local pubs with Toppesfield brewed beer
- A Village Shop and Post Office was built with Community raised funds; it is run by volunteers with all profits being donated back into the Community to support the allotments, playing fields, Annual Village Show and the Village Hall
The Toppesfield community spirit extends to helping out with the grape harvest in late September/October; 20+ volunteers from the village combine with other friends and family to harvest our grapes in return for a harvest lunch, a few glasses of Bacchus and delicious coffee and cakes provided by Clare Thompson and Clare Dore.