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places : bythams spinney

updated 30/05/05 : 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.


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 page.

CLICK HERE to GOTO the Millenium Commission website

CLICK HERE to GOTO the Lincolnshire County Archives website

CLICK HERE to GOTO the Network Rail website

CLICK HERE to GOTO the Grimsthorpe Estate website

The Spinney sign on the main road
(Picture taken by Gordon S Valentine - 30 May 2005)

The Bythams Spinney is managed by
The Bythams Woodland Trust.

added 26/04/03
Click on the Gallery button above
to view further images of
the Bythams Spinney taken on 06-April-2003

added 24/09/03
Click on the Gallery button above
to view images of the Bythams Spinney
taken on 19-August-2003
The picnic areas are now in place, Network Rail have erected the boundary fence alongside the East Coast Mainline and a bar-b-cue has been installed.

added 30/05/05
Click on the Gallery button above
to view images of the Bythams Spinney
taken on 30-May-2005
Play equipment is now in place and some of the areas shown in the earlier Galleries are settling in.