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.
A plan of The Spinney, showing existing features and future developments (correct at February 2010) can be found … HERE
Gallery of Images from the Bythams Spinney
Calling all Spinney Lovers … (from Glenside News November 2011 : 11/12/11 : MG)
It has been a fabulous Summer and early Autumn at The Spinney, with more visitors than ever using and enjoying the site, whic is just how it should be.
Indeed, I went up the other mid-week day to find lots of children from the Bythams School at one end of the site and several more elderly gentlemen swinging on the zip-wire at the other end. I am not sure who was having the most fun!
- New Developments
And it is about to get even better … earlier this summer the Bythams Woodland Trust (BWT) was successful in being awarded £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund through its Community Spaces programme which is managed by Groundwork UK.
The £50K will allow us to install some more adventurous play equipment which will be better suited to children aged from 5 upwards, but there will also be the opportunity for adults to play too! We will be providing an amazing space net, a hill-side walkway and lookout cabin, a new 10 metre curved slide and a spider’s web sliding net.
By the time you read this, the contractors will already have started work and plan to finish by the end of November, weather and other factors permitting.
We are pleased that we will not have to close the site to the public whilst the works are happening, but we do ask that you take care if there are diggers and other machines on site. We don’t want anyone to get hurt.
- Money Matters
Despite the fact that we have got a big grant, this can only be used for specific purposes and not for our day to day running costs, so we still welcome all financial support we can get.
Just recently, we have gratefully received a third tranche of funding from Careby with Aunby and Holywell Parish Meeting, a grant from the Castle Bytham Fair Committee and some wonderful personal donations from local people.
Our printer cartridge recycling scheme is going well with collection boxes at the school, in local pubs and shops. Please do keep giving us your used cartridges (not Epson) rather than throwing them away in the bin, as we can make good use of them.
We can also receive donations via our charity website : www.charitygiving.co.uk/bythamswoodland or by text to 70070. Text BWTG11 followed by the amount you wish to donate.
- Helping Hands
While all this is going on, the BWT will be having its regular working weekends throughout the Autumn. These are free for anyone to come along and join in, and the more, the merrier. They are great fun, involve a bit of hard work and effort, but you are rewarded by feeling good about helping the environment and your local community, plus having the occasional cup of tea and chocolate biscuit.
The Autumn 2011 dates are November 5 & 19 and December 3 & 17, between 10.00am and about 12.30pm.
For further details about Spinney activities, please contact :
Patrick Candler 410435
Judith Smith 410420
Sam Adams 410623
Gavin Pye 410006
Added : 30/05/05
Last Updated : 11/12/11 : MG