Freckleton - Flowers and music in the Fylde (with audio)
PUBLISHED: 19:50 31 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:44 28 February 2013
Our watercolour artist Gordon Wilkinson takes his easel to the village of Freckleton
Click the picture on the right to start playing the audio
This recording is courtesy of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Talking Newspaper service
The charity costs 300,000 a year to operate and is entirely dependent on donations. To volunteer, or help the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Talking Newspaper service with sponsorship or donations, contact 01253 362692 or go to www.bfwsb.co.uk
Freckleton Fact File
Where is it?
Freckleton lies beside the A584, a few miles east of Lytham
Where to park?
There is a free car park in the village centre, each pub has its own car park and there are few restrictions on street parking
What to do?
Have a walk along the path past the Ship Inn to the river, then warm up with food and a drink in one of the village pubs
The Ship Inn, on Bunker Street, is thought to be the oldest pub on the Fylde coast and could date back to the 14th century. At one time the village had seven pubs
Freckleton had a small but busy port and was an important centre for the distribution of coal brought along the Douglas and the Ribble from Lancastrian mines
The old Marsh Road ran parallel to the modern by-pass and the toll house still stands on the left as visitors approach from Preston
The dual-carriage way which bypasses Freckleton carries thousands of cars every day to Fylde coast hotspots such as Lytham, St Annes and Blackpool. Each of the motorists who hurtles past will see signs for Freckleton, proclaiming it as the village of music and flowers and while they might drive on wondering exactly what that means, too few turn off at the roundabout to find out.
The roundabout itself is pretty beguiling, with a sculpture of a watering can perpetually feeding the flower beds and bees forever busying themselves about the blooms.
And those who are sufficiently intrigued to turn away from the road to the coastal resorts will find a thriving village with a fierce sense of local pride and, yes, music and flowers.
Freckleton, or Freck if youre a local, sits in a ribbon to the south of the bypass - the A584 - and for some it is already a destination rather than a detour. Some visit to see the award-winning brass band perform, some take part in, or simply watch, the UKs oldest half marathon and others sit in a lay-by with binoculars trained on a patch of grass in a field.
The fields which lie between the village and the river Ribble are one of the few places where the rare black tailed godwits feel at home. The birds have been in decline for years but they have an army of friends willing to mount 24-hour guard over their eggs from a lay-by on the bypass to help their numbers recover.
Venture into the village centre and youll see why the locals are so proud of their music and flowers - floral displays are everywhere; in the parks, gardens, and communal areas around the village and in tubs, pots and baskets which line the main routes.
And Freckletons brass band justifies the villages musical claims. They were formed in 1886 and have played regular concerts in the village and at national tournaments since then. In recent years they have been among the most successful bands in the country and have collected just about every major award along the way.
They perform regular free concerts in Freckleton, in the car park beside the Coach and Horses pub - known locally as Ponkys - where they are based. Among those performances is an annual commemoration of Freckletons darkest days.
In August 1944 a B-24 Liberator plane took off from the airbase in Warton, the neighbouring village. Conditions were good on take off but a violent storm struck and the plane was instructed to return.
As it began the approach to land, it is thought that the plane was hit by lightning. It came down on a snack bar and the infant wing of Holy Trinity School, killing 61 people, 35 of them children. Just three children survived.
But while the village remembers those lost in the tragedy, it is certainly not living in the past. This remains a vibrant and lively village, particularly on Club Day when the community turns up to party and when the starting pistol is fired for the Freckleton Half Marathon. The
oldest race of its kind in the UK - and internationally, second only to an event in Luxembourg - attracts hundreds of runners every year who pound the roads from Freck to Wrea Green, Lytham and back.