Note: (As the village is a dynamic entity, some of the statistics quoted below will become inaccurate over time. The information is based on the best data available in 2016)
Located five miles north of Loughborough, and ten south of Nottingham, with Leicester only about fifteen miles to the south and Derby twelve or so to the west, East Leake is ideally situated. Communications are good – the M1 is less than five miles away, EMA (East Midlands Airport) just over five, and East Midland Trains serve Loughborough and
Not surprisingly, East Leake is a popular residential area. The 2011 census recorded a population of 6337, but since then several housing developments have been completed or are in the pipeline, so the figure must be approximately 7300. . It is one of the six so-called “large” villages in the Borough of Rushcliffe. It was a typical agricultural community until the late nineteenth century, when the gypsum deposits to the north of the village were exploited for the first time. Now British Gypsum is the largest local employer, and is part of British Plaster Board (BPB), a significant international concern, which is currently expanding to meet demand from the building industry. Other industries include the ultra-modern Micropropagation Services, whose cloned Major Oaks carry Nottinghamshire’s fame all over the world. There are in addition numerous service sector businesses – legal, financial, architectural. Although the village has expanded greatly since World War 2, it is fortunate enough to have most of the amenities necessary for a community of its size, even if some of them operate at full stretch or beyond!
There is a good range of shops and services and, although there is no traditional bank, there are two ATMs, one inside the Post Office, and another outside the Co-op supermarket. Healthcare provision is good – we have a Health Centre, with a general medical practice, a pharmacy, two dental practices, an optician and a physiotherapy clinic including a part-time chiropodist. There are five active churches in East Leake. In addition to the Parish Church of St Mary’s, there are Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Evangelical churches.
East Leake Playing Fields Charity, based at Costock Road, provides a good range of sporting opportunities, while for the walker, the County Council’s “P3” initiative has brought an extensive network of footpaths around the village up to an excellent standard (leaflet available from the Parish Office, £1.00).
Meadow Park is a large open area to the west of Gotham Road, and was once part of the Kirk family’s farm. When the land was sold for development in the 1990s, the Kirks gave this portion to the residents of East Leake as a permanent amenity; Rushcliffe Borough Council now owns it on behalf of the village, with routine management in the hands of East Leake Parish Council. The park is popular with dog-walkers, and also the many folk who just like to enjoy the wildlife which flourishes there. The sculpture, which was created as a community arts project in 2003, incorporates a millstone found in the park and symbolises the watermill that once stood beside the Kingston Brook.
The Parish Council provides two children’s playgrounds, as well as maintaining the old Glebe land (where a Millennium time capsule is buried), the Memorial Garden opposite St Mary’s Church and the Rest Garden near the centre of the village.
There are many voluntary organisations in the village, of which two stand out. The Town Lands Trust was founded in 1637 by local benefactors to help parishioners who fell on hard times; today it helps individuals or organisations and even, on occasion, the Parish Council. (Its history was written up in 2009, and copies are available from the Parish Office, price £4). Over three hundred years later, East Leake Community Care Association was set up, in 1973; its activities currently include voluntary driver car scheme, a weekly “tea and cake” afternoon, and a mobility aid loan scheme as well as a network of care and information, especially for elderly or disabled residents.
Every two years, Community Care publish a “Community Directory” containing information about all the organisations active in East Leake. These are delivered to households and there are still copies of the 2013-2015 issue available, in the Library or the Parish Office (or phone 01509852549).
Although there are still farms all around, East Leake is now predominantly a commuter village, thanks to its easy access to Loughborough, Nottingham, Leicester and Derby. It is a busy, modern place, but strives to retain a sense of identity and community.