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What’s under the Golf Course?

THE SAND QUARRY “WINFIELD’S PIT”
The quarry under the current northern and western rim of the Course, was called Winfield’s Pit. It was opened in 1953 and provided sand, mainly for the building industry, until it was exhausted by the end of 1979. The quarry was back-filled progressively, initially to approximately road level. However, the last and largest area to be quarried was back-filled to roughly match the previous land profile. Quarrying activity obscured, demolished or affected certain historic features of the landscape and notes are incorporated on these topics below. Further information and the maps and photographs from which the information is derived can be referenced in Bedfordshire County Archives or Leighton Buzzard Library..

STONELEIGH ABBEY
Stoneleigh Abbey, or Stoney Abbey as it is sometimes known, was never an Abbey, nor did it have any monastic connections. The manorial lords from the 17th to 19th century, were the Leigh family who hailed from Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire. This was one of their properties in this area and it is presumed that the name was coined by association, familiarity or whatever. Although the house was demolished in the 18th century, its name lived on at that site.

AN IRON AGE ENCLOSURE “Craddocks Camp”
It is generally accepted that an Iron Age Enclosure, associated with the name “Craddocks” covered the majority of the area occupied by holes 1 to 9 of the golf course. It consisted of a single bank and ditch earthwork enclosing a considerable hilltop area. Most of the earthwork evidence of the Camp has been lost after such boundaries were removed following the land enclosures of the 1840s. The name ‘Craddock’s has been consistently associated with this area, and is likely to have been sustained even from as far back as the original Iron Age Camp itself.

AN ANCIENT HOLLOW WAY “Craddock’s Way”
Central across the golf course, running north, is a sunken gully or hollow way, now occupied and surrounded by trees and bushes. It fell into disuse following the period of enclosures and now remains a concealed element of our transport heritage although its name continues to give an insight into its history..

TWO TRACKWAYS LOST UNDER THE GOLF COURSE:
Phillips Track-way.
An early (1848) Map of Heath and Reach shows a new private road leading from Linslade Road, up to a parcel of land owned by ‘Phillips’. Any evidence of the existence of this has apparently been lost underneath the Golf Courses and its renovations.

A Trackway Eastwards Round Rushmere Manor.
Bryant’s 1826 Map of Heath and Reach shows a pathway, commencing on what is now called Plantation Road - probably at the crest of the ridge, running down to the east of Rushmere Manor, to join up with Linslade Road. No evidence of that track-way apparently now remains.

A SHEPHERDS MAZE
R Richmond, writing in his 1928 book ‘Leighton Buzzard and its Hamlets’ cites the existence of a Shepherds Maze, the remains of which were “some 200 yards south-east of the site of the house known as Stoneleigh Abbey, and on the other side of old Craddock’s Lane. His directions would place the Maze roughly along the current 5th fairway of the golf course, on its north face some yards down the slope from the crest of the rise.

ROADS CALLED: “THE STILE” & “ABBEY WALK”
Following quarrying, house-building commenced adjacent to Winfield quarry. Two of the roads providing access to the new houses were given names which preserved the name of a local footpath (The Style) and the building (The Abbey – ie Stoneleigh Abbey) that had become casualties of the quarry’s excavation.

SOME NOTES ON EMU FARM AND EMU PIT
There is no record of the name ‘Emu Farm’ prior to 1910; Bedfordshire Community Archives web pages concerning Heath & Reach. Indications are that the unusual ‘Emu’ name emerged in 1910. The reason behind this unusual name remains to be discovered. Beside and behind the farm, to its left, a 1946 aerial photograph reveals a small quarry, presumed to be Emu Pit or sand quarry.

 

 
 
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