Not everybody can boast of living in a village sandwiched between two vast areas of country parkland, but this is just one of the major pull factors in the area which has been crowned as Nottinghamshire's best place to live. Edwinstowe is classed as a village, but it comprises more independent shops, pubs and eateries than you would expect to find in most comparably-sized areas.
Edwinstowe is located near the towns of Ollerton and Mansfield and is part of Nottinghamshire's Newark and Sherwood district. A prominent lifestyle publication recently named the village as the best place to live in Nottinghamshire, beating areas including Wollaton and West Bridgford to the title.
But this honour is one which has come as no great surprise for the people who are proud to call Edwinstowe home. Yvonne Lester, 72, lives in the village with her husband Laurie, 73, and has been there all her life.
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Mrs Lester said: "It's quite right that this has been named as the best place to live in Nottinghamshire because I certainly wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I have been here all my life and so I have obviously seen some change over the years, but I think it's mostly been for the good.
"It has become a lot bigger in recent years but you would find that anywhere. There are a lot of positives to living here and when we were younger, we used to be able to do a proper pub crawl through the village.
"A lot of the pubs are still going today and you've got all the independent shops as well. It is a lovely area and you've got Sherwood Forest right on your doorstep."
With its legendary associations to Robin Hood and an area encompassing more than 400 acres of publicly accessible natural wonder, having Sherwood Forest within walking distance would perhaps be enough for most. But for people in Edwinstowe, the grounds of Rufford Abbey are also close by.
It is this aspect of Edwinstowe life that was noted most often when discussing why the area was Nottinghamshire's best place to live. Gary Griffiths, 38, who lives in the village with his partner Kelly Johnson, 43, said: "I have been here since 2013 and it is a good area to live in.
"The village is getting bigger but I don't have a problem with that if it is bringing money in and there are plenty of independent pubs and shops here. We have also got the forest so close by and we manage to walk round there every day."
Butchers, gift shops and even a model train store are among the scores of independent retailers operating out of Edwinstowe. One of them is Sandeep Sood, 54, who runs The Market Garden greengrocer shop with his wife and son.
Mr Sood said: "I was very interested to see Edwinstowe being named the best place to live in Nottinghamshire because it is a lovely place full of lovely people. I have had this business for two years and we moved to live in Edwinstowe last August.
"We had been living in Leicester and the cost of living here might be slightly higher, but it is miles better to live in. We're a totally independent, family-run shop and we get a lot of support and have our regular customers now."
Among the plethora of positives, some people did express concerns about the future of the village. In particular, the growing number of housing developments was causing some consternation, such as a large project in Thoresby Vale where a land sale earlier this year paved the way for 174 more homes to be built.
But Dave Buckingham, 60, said: "I have lived here all my life and obviously it has changed and it has got a lot bigger. But there are still all the independent shops and pubs and I think it still has that village feel about it."
As well as those still living in the village, Edwinstowe also has a place in the hearts of its former residents. This includes husband and wife Nina and Chris Prest, 59, and 62.
Mr and Mrs Prest now live in Wellow but were proud to call Edwinstowe their home in the 90s. Mrs Prest said: "We have always thought that this is a really nice, quaint little village. It's fantastic to have all of your shops here like the lovely butcher and baker.
"It is a nice community and it's nice to hear that it's been named the best place to live in Nottinghamshire. We raised our three children here so I'd certainly agree with that."
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