The late arrival of snow in February made a slight interruption to the rituals of spring. The birds are tweeting with the excitement of new beginnings and this delightful sound is enough to make you want to jump out of bed in the morning. The days are visibly getting longer and the changeover to summertime is just around the corner - spring is here!

As buds unfold in front of our eyes and carpets of yellow daffodils spread across our countryside, we are reminded of how lucky we are to live in such glorious surroundings. Our area is rich in heritage and our local country houses: Boughton, Deene, Lamport and Kelmarsh are all opening their halls and gardens for visitors this springtime.

Countryside exploration can start from a very early age, see page 76 for the article on Nature Tots and their tree planting for the Diamond Jubilee, and go to pages 16-17 to read about EquATA and the healing power of horses. Kirsty Clarke delights us with her tales about the new arrivals at Waterloo Cottage Farm and invites us to help name their new sows on pages 20-21, and if you turn to page 58 you can see how to enter your village into the Best Village Competition 2012.

Another competition on page 66, with a chance for two readers to win presents for their Mum on Mothering Sunday, a theme also strong in Sandra Naylor’s article on page 24-25 from The Garden Room and in her image adorning this spring front cover. There are plenty of offers and discounts available to readers of Village Connect on the pages ahead, lots of events and open gardens to attend, and Oundle Festival of Literature will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in March, see pages 6, 92-95 for details of this jam-packed programme which includes my favourite author Salley Vickers.

Village Connect also marks an anniversary in April: seven years since it was launched to ‘bring local business to local villages’. From an initial 2000 copies, first distributed to 16 villages back in 2005, more than 13500 homes in 55 villages now receive your favourite community magazine. The magnificent, independent family businesses featured in Village Connect are also listed on the website so you can search online anytime. Thank you for your invaluable support and feedback over the past seven years.

Vivi Sant Cole 

Village Connect

Hillcrest House

Church Hill



NN14 1AH

Tel: 01536 744700