About Us

…. how did it all begin?

In 1984, Lesley and Simon, along with their two little boys, moved to Home Farm.  Lesley started a farm shop and began selling dried flowers arrangements, blue and white china and country fabrics, alongside their own potatoes and free range eggs. Simon’s mum and Lesley’s mum became involved in the business and they soon came up with the name ‘Three French Hens’.

They began selling beautiful old pine furniture very successfully…. this supplied by an enterprising young man called Paul. Paul Martyn soon saw the potential of their old tractor shed, and suddenly there were two stores. Simon and Lesley continued to convert their old brick and tile buildings and the number of stores grew- they became Heart of the Country Village! Twenty five years later, Heart of the Country Village is still a work in progress.

…. describe a typical day at the Village.

The shops and restaurants open at 10am. But prior to opening, the Stubbs Family and their maintenance staff have to make sure the Village is tidy, the paths are swept, plants and borders watered, or snow shovelled and the car park plowed! A lot goes on behind the scenes. This means an early morning start for all! They do love the compliments they get from their visitors though – it makes all the hard work feel a little easier.

Often there are workshops going on in various shops. There can be a coach-load of visitors, all who need directing to the various shops or facilities. Village market days are busy. Weekends can be quite hectic, but the family do draw breath on a Monday!

…..what is the future of Heart of the Country Village?

The Village will continue to grow and evolve. Their two boys and their wives are very involved in the business, as the older generation try to enjoy a bit more leisure time. They are pleased and proud that some businesses have been at the Village since the early days… Paul Martyn Furniture, Allen Brown Gallery, The Barn Restaurant, The Pear Tree Creperie. The unique boutiques, the salons, the rural setting and free car parking all contribute towards the very special shopping experience at the Village. Heart of the Country Village is not a high street shopping experience but a unique Village- somewhere to shop, have lunch and enjoy treatments whilst avoiding crowded streets and expensive car parks.