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Louise & Peter
Louise, Peter and their little boy were the second family to move to The Wintles, in May 2004.

‘Peter loved it right away,’ says Louise. ‘We wanted to be as sustainable as possible. We’ve always cared about the environment, and wanted personally to make a difference. Pete used to get so depressed and say, ‘What can we do? Our children’s grand-children - what’s their planet going to be like?’’

It didn’t take long for them to make their decision, and they moved from their two-bedroom Victorian house in Worcestershire.

‘We now have a bungalow with a loft conversion,’ says Louise. ‘We put in solar panels and a wood burner, and we don’t need any extra heating because the insulation makes the houses so warm. Especially compared to the Victorian house - with the heating on it was still freezing. The solar panels even heat the water slightly in the winter on sunny days.’

Their second child was conceived and born on The Wintles.

‘It was amazing,’ says Louise, ‘everyone was so helpful - they said we could call them any time. I know I could have knocked on most people’s doors at three a.m. and it wouldn’t have been a problem.

‘The girls next door were so excited about the new baby that Peter said he would put one of his wellies out on the doorstep if it was a boy, and one of mine if it was a girl, so they would know before they went to school that morning. It was a boy!’

‘We bought into a concept of community,’ she continues, ‘but you still want your own privacy. This is perfect, you couldn’t ask for more. You can just go out on the Green, and the kids and adults all play together. We’ve come to an arrangement with another couple who live on the Green - they look after our kids when we go out and vice versa.’

Their first Christmas on The Wintles was a special one - all the neighbours enjoyed an impromptu celebration.

‘It was lovely,’ says Louise. ‘It started snowing about nine, and everyone ran out into the snow. Some people built a fire in an oil drum, bottles of wine and nibbles came out and it made us think, wow, this is what we moved here for - nibbles and wine with the kids playing happily in the snow. All the kids love Colin, who dressed up as Father Christmas that morning. We did it again the following Christmas.’

Louise is also enthusiastic about Bishop’s Castle. ‘It has a mixture of everybody - you could walk down the street in purple pants and nobody would bat an eye. They’re a really friendly bunch of people who join hands and make things happen.’

‘The facilities are amazing for a town of its size,’ she continues. ‘Beer festivals, markets, Morris dancers - there’s always something going on. The whole town is child-friendly - there’s something here for anyone of any age. When the kids are old enough, they’ll be able to walk to school.’