places : bythams spinney
: added 26/04/03
The Bythams Spinney is situated on the road to Creeton just outside
the centre of the village of Little Bytham. The site covers an area
of approximately 5.5 acres and, when it is completed towards the end
of June 2003, will provide a combination of open and woodland space
for the pleasure of local people.
The Spinney Project was originally conceived by Patrick Candler as
a play space within the village of Little Bytham which was linked
with the local Bythams Primary School. A bid was submitted, with the
backing of the Parish Council, to the Millenium
Commission who were keen to fund local projects that demonstrated
the involvement of young people and the local community. In addition
the Project was also a rural project and so scored "bonus points"
with the Commission who awarded the Project a grant of £67,000.
Having completed the speculative application to the Milennium
Commission and being given the 'green light', the Project now
had to acquire the land to bring the original idea to a reality. This
proved to be more problematic than originally thought.
Part of the Spinney site was owned by the Grimsthorpe
Estate who were happy to sell the land to the Project. It had
originally been used as a source of clay for the local brick yard
but had been disused for many years and had become overgrown. Acquiring
the bulk of the land which was owned by the Grimsthorpe
Estate was therefore not a problem, the difficulty came over a
single acre whose ownership could not be determined. In the end, after
two years research in the Lincolnshire
Archives, it was discovered that the land in question was actually
set aside for the quarrying of stone by the inhabitants of Little
Bytham in the Enclosure Act of 1805.
As a result of changes in the Law in the intervening period the land,
being unclaimed, in fact had reverted to the ownership of the Grimsthorpe
Estate who were not unduly concerned at the further sale of a
piece of land they didn't realise they actually owned! A period of
2.5 years in total elapsed between the original application for grant
aid from the Millenium Commission and the transfer of the land to
the Project which enabled them to get on to the site and start work
in January 2003.
The first work on the site involved the provision of access and a
roadway to a car park area, since then the site has been cleared of
overgrowth, a path way constructed around the site allowing access
to wheel chair users and prams, push chairs and buggies, picnic areas
established and rubbish bins installed. A task force of local vounteers
has been working on the site most weekends since the early Spring
of 2003, as a result they have planted new trees, cleared and chipped
dead and decaying wood and turned the area into a valuable resource
for the local community.
Judith Smith explained how tree seeds that children at the local primary
school had planted, that had been grown on over a period of years
had been planted on the Spinney site as well reinforcing the ownership
of the site by local young people. One of the original concerns of
the Project, being something aimed at local people of all ages including
the young, was the fact that the East
Coast Mainline formed the western boundary to the site. Even this
initial problem has been recently solved with Network
Rail agreeing to the erection of suitable substantial fencing
along the boundary at their expense.
The Spinney is already visited by many members of the local community
out walking their dog or visiting out of curiosity 'to see what is
going on'. This is welcomed by the Project volunteers who hope to
have an 'official opening' towards the end of June 2003.
Those involved though are keen to stress that the Bythams Spinney
is an ongoing project. At the end of 2002 the project was awarded
£500 from the South Kesteven Young Peoples Community Safety
Group and further bids have been submitted for environmental work
and the installation of environmentally sympathetic play equipment.
Suitable play equipment will be designed by local primary and secondary
school children maintaining the Projects original link with young
people within the area and the Friends of the Bythams School who acted
as a charitable conduit for the original funding.
As the Project takes its next steps forward though those managing
it are keen to establish a separate charity, The
Bythams Woodland Trust, to look after the management of the Spinney
in the future and are looking for volunteers from across the local
community to be involved in making this next step.
WEBSITE LINKS NOTE ...
The following Links relate to the item above. They are correct and
working at the time this item was added to theBythams website - April
2003. They will not be updated at anytime in the future and so may,
therefore, cease to function correctly as website addresses change.
Each of the links below are reproduced on the Links
page of theBythams website and those are kept up-to-date and checked
frequently. So if the link below doesn't work use the one on the Links
HERE to GOTO the Millenium
HERE to GOTO the Lincolnshire
County Archives website
to GOTO the Network
to GOTO the Grimsthorpe