Ruckland, Louth, Lincolnshire LN11 8RQ

History of Woody's Top

It is believed that the name Woody’s Top came from the word ‘Top’ being the name given to farms or buildings which are placed on the hill. The name Woody’s Top may have derived from the fact that the buildings and the surrounding field were glebe land and one of the first rectors to obtain benefit from rents paid by the occupier was Rev. Jesse Wood, the long time encumbrant at Ruckland – hence Woody had his Top.

Woody’s Top opened as a Youth Hostel in 1948 having to relocate from Farforth House in the neighbouring hamlet, Farforth, after the farmer Mr Strawson wanted to live there with his wife.

Members of the Youth Hostel were not impressed when they had to exchange buildings to Woody’s Top which was little more than a cow shed with earth floors. However through their determination and efforts the building was transformed into a small hostel with two dormitories (Knights and Damsels). There was a central common room, but no running water.

People staying at Woody’s Top used a well with an iron pump for washing and for drinking water a galvanised drum mounted on a trolley was used. An arrangement was made with a farmer to use a tap in a farmyard half way down Ruckland Hill. It was easy going down but pushing it up the steep hill was not a job for the faint hearted. In 1986 mains water was brought to Ruckland. This enabled the installations of a flush toilet with a septic tank and even a shower. For some people this was a luxury too far at Woody’s Top!

Over the years Woody’s Top had several Conveners and the most renowned of these was the late Peter Grant a farmer from Boston who looked after the hostel for over 20 years until his tragic death in a road accident. He spent a considerable amount of time and a lot of money into Woody’s Top. Peter Grant was instrumental in bringing improvements. Woody’s Top the hostel without his generosity would not have survived as long as it did.

Woody’s Top underwent many building enhancements over the years including a few extensions, adding extra showers and toilets and fitting full central heating to the property.

In June 2017 it was bought by a local family business shortly after it closed its doors as a Youth Hostel.

After a considerable amount of time deciding how to change Woody’s Top to make it a purpose built holiday cottage to allow the guests to make the most of the stunning views the builders started work in October 2017. After one of the coldest and harshest winters on record Woody’s Top underwent its biggest renovation to date. The property was extended, areas were rebuilt, the inside was reconfigured and a completely new roof was fitted.

On 3rd August 2018 Woody’s Top opened its doors to visitors again to allow them explore this hidden gem in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds, with the most spectacular setting for a holiday cottage in the Wolds.

Many thanks to John Martin, Volunteer Archivist for YHA (England and Wales)
for providing the history of Woody’s Top.