High street shopping in Stockton Heath
PUBLISHED: 21:49 10 June 2012 | UPDATED: 13:49 20 December 2014
There are few places like Stockton Heath for a taste of village life with a chic urban edge<br/>WORDS BY POLLY BERKELEY PHOTOGRAPH Y BY PAUL SWEENEY
With Warrington just a few miles away, Stockton Heath is a location that has successfully held onto its ‘olde worlde’ charm while attracting fashionable shops and restaurants. Deemed a ‘hamlet of little consequence’ when it first featured as Stoken in a 1739 map of Cheshire, it is now a thriving place to live work and play.
Village life centres on Victoria Square, at the crossroads of the A49 and A56, where until the 1970s, the Victoria Hotel stood. North of the square is the main shopping area which includes the Forge shopping centre, developed on the site of the old forge (Caldwell’s).
The Red Lion Inn dates back to the early 19th century and the Mulberry Tree on Victoria Square opened in its present building (replacing earlier premises dating from 1725) in March 1907. The rapid development of 19th century Stockton Heath, resulted in the village having the first tramway route to be closed when it was decided to replace trams with buses in 1931.
The name itself is a compound of two Old English elements - ‘stoc’ and ‘tun’, meaning the tun belonging to a cattle or dairy farm and the village’s past is also linked to the Romans. Excavations of the surrounding area have unearthed a Roman mask which is one of only a handful found in Europe and there’s a road, appropriately called the Roman Road running through the village.
As well as good shopping, there are other reasons to visit Stockton Heath such as the annual festival, which gets underway from July 12th-15th with actor Tim Firth as patron. Based on Mill Lane Field and in venues around Grappenhall, Appleton and Stockton Heath the line-up for this year is already looking good.
There will be a new performance of Julius Caesar with a comic twist by Oddsocks, the story of Rumpelstiltskin will be told by Presto puppets on July 15th, there will be an open air cinema, an Abba revival on the 15th, mountain bike displays, arts, crafts, farmers’ markets and more.
To round off a visit, it would be rude not to explore the excellent bar and restaurant scene that includes casual contemporary dining, Spanish tapas and Turkish cuisine. The emphasis is on good local produce done well in many of the restaurants. Ease yourself into the day with a coffee and croissant in a smart eaterie then end the day with the locals over drinks and dinner.
Where is Stockton Heath?
It is located in the civil parish of Warrington to the north of the Bridgewater Canal and to the south of the Manchester Ship canal which divides Stockton Heath from Latchford and north Warrington
About Stockton Heath
There are Roman remains here, including a Roman Mask and a Roman road, all suggesting that the area could have been the location for an auxiliary fort although during the English Civil War it was referred to as a ‘wide waste common’. It has a later claim to fame as the birthplace of George Formby’s career and since 1988, much of the centre of Stockton Heath has been designated a conservation area to preserve its character.