A recent survey by Muddly Stilettos, the UK’s Number 1 women’s lifestyle website and trusted local guide, created a shortlist of the top ten places to live in Northamptonshire. However, the historic market town of Higham Ferrers was not included on this list.
To see how the locals thought about their pleasant little town and whether it should be considered one of the nicest places in the county, I went to ask them. The resounding opinion was a very positive one with many of the public and workers out and about enjoying the town’s peaceful nature believing that Higham is a very nice place to live and that it does not get the credit it deserves for that.
Chris Green, a long-time local resident, said: “My family and I have lived here for forty years and really enjoy it here. We just love the bars, restaurants and cafes.”
He and his wife had just been browsing the little local high street stores and were more than happy to tell me just how much they enjoy living in Higham. Higham Ferrers is not a large town, it only has a population of just over 8,000 and is far smaller than neighbouring town Rushden.
However the tightly packed nature of the place brings with it a strong sense of community to the East Northants town. This sense of community is something that is keenly felt by Victoria who works at Mark Bird Flooring Ltd on the High Street.
“It’s just very warm and friendly, very community based,” she explained. “The local sparkle is on in a few weeks which always brings the community together, everyone gets involved.”
As local events go the annual Christmas Sparkle, usually held in November, is a very important event where the whole town comes together to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas lights. Fairground-style stalls and rides are set-up around the Market Square and everyone from in or around the town spend the day enjoying the early festivities, with a roasted chestnut, mulled wine or some sweet treats.
Despite Higham being a small town many of the long-term residents feel that there would be no need to move on because they still have everything that they need just a few minutes’ walk away. Marianne Billing, who has lived in the town for sixteen years said: “I live in the centre of Higham Ferrers and as I don’t drive, I find that I’ve got everything here, all of it’s here.”
She was passionate about how great it is to be able to see her friends and family – who she told me she had just been to visit – and access anything conveniently. “Church, doctors, dentists, shops, everything. And when the pandemic was on, I didn’t need to go into town or anything- I just love it.”
The lack of industry and large areas of green space in Higham Ferrers gives it a pleasant and quite peaceful look which makes it a surprise to some that it was not included in Muddly Stilettos Top Ten with fellow historic market towns like Oundle, but the fact that it is often seen as joined with the larger, more industry-heavy town of Rushden. Overall, it certainly seems safe to say that the majority of locals feel that it is certainly one of the nicest places to live in Northamptonshire and that maybe it deserves more recognition.