Before I visited Wistow, the only substantial contact I had ever had with the world of model villages was when I saw Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost’s rural Gloucestershire shoot ‘em up Hot Fuzz. Remember the scene in which ex-007 Timothy Dalton tragically impales himself on a miniature church spire? If not, here it is (disclaimer: gross).
Happily, I don’t think anyone is likely to get skewered at Wistow Rural Centre’s model village in South Leicestershire. The gradient of the church steeple seems a bit too gentle, for one thing.
The village, which is in the garden centre across the road from the Wistow Maze, is actually a pretty amazing installation. The cheery-looking place has a castle, a working railway, a town hall, a canal and even a pub which serves Everards among its 75 intricate little buildings. I particularly liked looking through one window and seeing a tiny chap shooting some pool.
It was clearly a labour of love for whoever put it together. Donations can be cast into the village’s “lake”, which are passed on to two great causes - Rainbow’s Children’s Hospice and the Sir Andrew Martin Trust, a Leicestershire charity for young people.
Also – it is a very nice thing to photograph.
After checking the pint-sized place out, we had a walk past the maze and down to the (human-sized) Grand Union Canal. Sunlight was making mischief on the water.
* By the by – in case you were wondering about the title of this post, have a listen to Little Village by Sonny Boy Williamson, which includes possibly the greatest intro to a song ever caught on tape (disclaimer: rude).