Landscape which lends itself to leisure

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
May 2019

As she peeks behind the scenes of the small Lincolnshire village of Bardney, Melanie Burton discovers an area of historical significance with a varied heritage to be proud of.

Bardney is a lively place to live, a popular place for visitors – particularly walkers, cyclists and anglers – and has plenty going on to keep its residents entertained.

Clerk to Bardney Parish Council and responsible finance officer, Anna Lawson, said there were plenty of positives about the village.

“It is quite a lively village with lots of things happening. There are a whole range of activities taking place in the village hall from kickboxing, Zumba and ballet to bowls, bingo and the WI.

“Bardney is a good place to live and as a parish council we have been very active, so there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

“The parish council has been very active over the past year, particularly in the build-up to Armistice Day.”

For the centenary celebrations the parish council had the war memorials in Bardney and nearby Southrey cleaned and restored and had special displays planted in the raised beds on the village green as well as two commemorative benches installed.

“They were very much appreciated in the village,” said the clerk. “And we had a big turnout on Remembrance Day as well. The village looked so nice.”

The parish council covers one of the largest areas in the county, from Southrey and Bardney Bridge up to Stainfield and Apley. It has offices within the Fire Station and meets monthly.

It also owns the cemetery in the village and takes a lot of pride in it, always ensuring it is well-kept.

“We are supported by the Bardney Cemetery Improvement Group which restores the graves of people who no longer have any living family. They raise funds for the restoration work and make good the graves,” said the clerk.

“We have had a lot of positive comments about the restoration work and it is something we are very proud of.”

The parish council also owns and runs the allotments in the village and has just formed an Allotment Holders Group which has a range of plans for the future.

“There have been a few issues in the village but Anglian Water has been fantastic and as part of their support they have enabled the parish council to get water onto the allotments,” said the clerk.

“So, after several years of trying, we have managed to do so, which will make a big difference.”

Bardney is popular with both walkers and cyclists, thanks to the nearby Southrey Woods and Chambers Farm Woods as well as the Sustran cycle network.

Following the route of the former Lincoln to Boston Railway Line, the cycle route leaves Lincoln alongside the River Witham and passes Bardney and Southrey on the way to Kirkstead Bridge.

The River Witham is popular too, attracting visitors such as canoeists and anglers to the area. In fact, back in the 1950s and 60s anglers would make the journey by train from as far away as Sheffield just to enjoy a day’s fishing in the River Witham at Bardney.

With a main road running through the village, the safety of pedestrians is a key focus for the parish council which is why a Speedwatch scheme will now be operating in the area.

Speedwatch aims to help people reduce traffic speeding through their neighbourhood. It enables volunteers to work within their own community to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and to help control the problem locally.

Work is also ongoing with external organisations such as Anglian Water, the Environment Agency & Lincolnshire County Council Highways, particularly as there are plans to close the bridge at Bardney for major repairs.

“The bridge closure is going to cause lots of problems for the village but we are working together with the external groups to make sure it is communicated properly,” said the clerk.

“It is good for us to work together because we have the local knowledge about the village and they know what can and can’t be done.”

Throughout the year there are events taking place in the village from the dog show in the summer months and the gala on the green at the end of August, to the popular Scarecrow Festival at the beginning of autumn and the Carols on the Green event at Christmas.

“We have a gala on August Bank Holiday which is very popular and has been built on year on year,” the clerk explained. “It is fantastic for local groups to show the village what they have to offer.

“We also have a dog show in the village in the summer months and the scarecrow competition at the end of September, organised by Bardney Playgroup’s fundraising committee, is always good and attracts lots of people to the village.”

Bardney is also home to two businesses that are constantly helping to put the village on the international map.

It is the base of RJ & PA Webb UK Creels Ltd which is a very successful and popular lobster pot supplier trading all over the world.

Emerald Green Feeds, which is also based in Bardney, sponsors Ros Canter, who was crowned double World Champion at the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina six months ago.

Ros not only won the individual Gold Medal but she was part of the Gold Medal team representing Great Britain.

Bardney is an area of historical significance with the remains of Bardney Abbey and Tupholme Abbey on its doorstep.

Bardney Abbey was founded before 679 but was destroyed by the Danes around 860. Refounded in 1087 as a priory it became a Benedictine Abbey in 1115 and was dissolved in 1538.

Situated on the outskirts of the village, occasionally its remains are uncovered and you can view the mounds and gain a real sense of the history of the place.

There is a model of Bardney Abbey in the village’s Anglican Church of St Lawrence, which also has paintings of abbots, saints and other notaries.

Nearby are the remains of Tupholme Abbey which dates back to a later period. Tupholme Abbey is one of only a few with standing remains of the original monastic buildings in addition to the archaeological remains below ground.

The Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire purchased this site in 1988 and is preserving this ancient monument for future generations. Between about 1160 and 1536 Tupholme Abbey was home to a community of Premonstratensian canons.

After being closed by Henry VIII during the Reformation it was gradually demolished until only a single wall was left standing. But even though so little remains today, the evidence of the complex of buildings and the landscape in which they once stood has not disappeared completely.

Parts of the façade are still in situ. At the back of Tupholme Abbey are fishing lakes, bridges and moats.

From the eighteenth century, a farmyard developed around the site of the remaining wall which developed into a busy farmstead by the start of the twentieth century. But by the mid-twentieth century the site was used only for labourers’ housing, and by the 1970s it was empty and derelict.

However, Tupholme Abbey was to have one more moment of fame. In 1972 one of the country’s biggest pop festivals, featuring Rod Stewart, the Beach Boys, Roxy Music and Status Quo (among many others) was held there.

The four-day festival, known as the Bardney Festival, attracted 30,000 people to the venue. However, despite its popularity, the show lost money due to the bad weather and it was never held again.


The village of Bardney is enduring the closure of one of its main traffic access routes.

Areas of deterioration affecting the strength of Bardney bridge are to be repaired and the bridge repainted and re-waterproofed to help protect it from future damage.

The works are scheduled to take place from April to 5th July 2019 and for the majority of that time, the bridge is closed to traffic, with motorists diverted via Metheringham, Woodhall Spa and Horncastle. It will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Councillor Richard Davies, Lincolnshire County Council executive member for highways, said: “It’s vital we make these repairs as soon as possible to ensure the bridge remains safe for people to use.

“The work began once everything was in place in April. That means we should be able to get it done before the busy harvest time.

“We realise there will still be significant disruption in the local area while the work is carried out, so we are looking at ways in which we can minimise the length of time the road is closed for.

“As always, we advise people to leave additional time for their journeys and use alternative routes wherever possible.”

The bridge was built between 1893-94 and was inspired by the Lord of the Manor, John Sharpe.

It cost approximately £6,000 to build and was a joint effort between North Kesteven and West Lindsey Councils and the Great Northern Railway Company (GNR).

It was opened to traffic on 9th October 1894.


For nearly 23 years, Bardney Parish Council has given out a special award to an individual or group that has done good work to benefit the community.

The Rogers Family Shield, which was donated by Mr and Mrs Rogers in 1996 as a reward to those who volunteered their time and effort within the village, has been awarded annually and for the past 14 years has always been won by an individual or a couple.

However, the 2018 winners were a different kettle of fish as it was scooped up by Bardney Playgroup for its highly popular fundraising scarecrow competition.

Its fundraising committee is a small, voluntary group of local mums whose children either attend, or have attended, the playgroup at some time or other.

Their aim is to raise money for the playgroup by organising and hosting events such as the annual Scarecrow Festival at the end of September. The money is used to buy resources such as craft materials and toys as well as pay for the annual trip to Rand Farm Park.

Bardney Group Parish Council chose to acknowledge the organisers of the festival, because it has well and truly been established as a tourist attraction, bringing visitors into the area.

Clerk to the parish council Anna Lawson said: “The Scarecrow Festival is always good fun and lots of people join in. There are always people walking around the village and at the event in the village hall.”

It is not just the playgroup in Bardney that is celebrating success and recognition for its efforts.

Bardney’s Church of England Primary School has been ranked by Ofsted as third best in the county in terms of progress – just a few years after coming out of special measures.

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