The Lincolnshire Man Who Aims To Visit Every Civil Parish In England

‘The Village Idiot’ as he calls himself online, also known as Andy Smith, has set himself the bold life-long task of visiting every single civil parish in England, and is documenting his journey on his YouTube channel.

Andy, who was born in Saxilby, said moving away suddenly made him long for his previous village live, inspiring the decision to take on this mammoth challenge.

“I’ve lived in villages all my life up to moving to Rotherham, I used to live in Saxilby and then Fiskerton, moved away and just missed it” he explains, “I’ve always had a sort of nerdy passion for Geography so I thought I could potentially marry the two together if I could get back out there somehow.”

Andy started documenting his progress in January 2021 after his wife bought him a GoPro for Christmas and decided to upload a video to his YouTube channel once a day showcasing a new location he has ticked off the list.

When asked for his current personal favourite location, he explains that it is Gamston in Bassetlaw, “It’s got an airfield and I was invited to go up in a light aircraft to take some shots of the parish from the sky”. His Favourite location in Lincolnshire, however, is Saxilby – the place he was born. I’m of course looking forward to filming Fiskerton, but I’m going to be leaving that one for a while – my parents still live there so I want to make sure I do a really good job of that one.”

As a self-confessed ‘nerd’ when it comes to Geography paired with his desire to get back to his roots of rural life, it was a match made in heaven, although there is no denying the vast scale of the challenge. Andy explains that to stay motivated in this journey, he thinks learning something new about each of his locations may be the reason he continues to plough on.Some of the things I thought I knew I actually didn’t” he admits, “I’ve discovered so much which has been eye opening for me. People have said to me quite a few times that the stuff I find out and present teaches them things, but it’s just as much a learning experience for me as it is for them.”

Andy also mentioned that sometimes his followers are people who have emigrated across the world, and they often comment on his YouTube videos and say how great it is to see where they grew up. We often see cities showcased in media, but to see all parishes big and small represented on his channel is something completely new.

There are a total of 10,449 parishes in England and a little over a year into his journey, Andy has currently visited 370 civil parishes and predicts it will take him around 25-30 years to complete his challenge, but it isn’t about how long it will take. As long as he continues to have the desire, passion and motivation to do so, he will continue to explore new parishes and slowly tick them off the list.

You can follow along with Andy’s journey by visiting www.youtube.com/c/thevillageidiot