Bourne, Lincolnshire - An Historic Market Town
Bourne is a small historic market town and parish on the edge of south Lincolnshire, with a truly unique charm and rich history. The town is fortunate to be situated in an area of natural beauty at the foot of the Kesteven Uplands, with an abundance of green open spaces, woodland and ancient water ways. This makes Bourne a great place to explore on foot or by bike, perfect for those seeking a more active lifestyle, and for those wanting to bring up a family in a clean and safe environment.
The town originated from a Roman road known as King Street, which actually runs on a straight course in the east of England, between Peterborough and South Kesteven, with its purpose being to carry food and supplies for advancing Roman armies. The town also has several natural springs located in the Wellhead Gardens, and it's this natural source of fine-quality water that also helped to form the town. The name “Bourne“ was often given to a settlement and derives from the Anglo-Saxon meaning “water” or “stream”. To this day the ancient water ways and springs are a distinguishing feature of Bourne, and make a pleasant backdrop to the town.
Amenities and Education in Bourne
At the present time Bourne is a growing market town with many amenities, including a leisure centre, outdoor swimming pool, snooker and sports bar, restaurants, gyms, public houses, fully equipped theatre, and a good range of shops and businesses. The town boasts two outstanding secondary schools, including the reputable Bourne Grammar School, which is featured in Tatler's list of the country's top 20 state secondary schools, and the Bourne Academy. There is also a school for pupils with learning difficulties called The Willoughby Special School. For primary school education, Bourne has three established primary schools, all of which have been rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted (see Locrating.com for more details on Local Schools). For those seeking higher education, near-by Stamford has an excellent College (New College Stamford) offering a huge variety of courses. There is also a University Centre at near-by Peterborough offering over 30 different degree level programmes, including archaeology, business, computing, construction, education, engineering, media, and sociology.
Bourne is blessed with many green open spaces that provide a lovely setting for a variety of recreation activities and relaxation. Owned by Bourne United Charities, the Abbey Lawns boasts an attractive cricket ground, bowling green, tennis courts, large sports field, and a traditional near Olympic size heated outdoor swimming pool. Situated close to the town centre, this large open space is perfectly placed for those wanting to relax on a hot summers day, as well as those wanting to pursue more energetic activities, or be a spectator for the various cricket matches that take place here. The grounds of the Abbey Lawn are home to a number of clubs in the town, including Bourne Tennis Club, Bourne Town Football Club and Bourne Town Bowls Club.
Bourne also has a large and attractive park, known as Wellhead Gardens, consisting of around 21 acres of parkland that is open to the public all year round and managed by Bourne United Charities. The park has an abundance of trees and water ways, and some intriguing historic buildings, including the Wellhead Cottage, which is an old limestone property that dates back to the 18th century and is owned by Bourne United Charities, rented as a private home to suitable tenants. Shippon Barn is another intriguing building in the Wellhead Gardens and it is thought that this was constructed from the remains of an old castle that was once thought to have occupied the Wellhead Field (at the back of the Wellhead Gardens). The Bourne castle, as it was known, was probably built by Hereward The Wake and the only evidence of of the castle that now remains is some grass-covered ditches. The Wellhead Gardens are also home to one of the most ancient sites of artesian water supply in the country - St Peter's Pool. This pool is reputedly fed by seven springs which never dry up (although this source is now tapped by Anglian Water to provide water supplies for a large catchment area), and this once formed the source of the water defences of Bourne Castle as well as the power for the town's three mills. St Peter's Pool is the source of the Bourne Eau, which is a stream (turning into a river) that flows in an easterly direction to join the River Glen at Tongue End. The park has seen many improvements in recent times, which has seen a general tidy-up and a number of new walk-ways constructed, allowing the public to explore previously inaccessible areas. The best time to visit the park is in the spring time when the trees that line the pathways are full with blossom.
Located just off South Street in the town, the pretty Memorial Gardens are another attractive green space in Bourne, featuring 22 memorial stones that lead to the War Memorial (96 names are commemorated of those who lost their lives in the First World War, and 32 for the Second World War). There is a pond either side of the War Memorial with fountains, and you'll also find ample bench seating to relax. The stone bridge linking South Street to the Memorial Gardens (over the Bourne Eau) has been voted one of the top ten poohsticks bridges by VisitEngland.
One of Bourne's best leisure facilities are the extensive Bourne Woods. Situated on the western outskirts of the town, this managed ancient woodland is home to a variety of wildlife, including the shy and reclusive fallow deer. There are many paths for the public to explore and ponds (where kingfishers and herons can often be seen), in 400 acres of beautiful woodland - great for exploring by foot or by bike. For public convenience; parking facilities and a picnic area are provided at the main entrance to the woods from the A151. The best time to visit the woods is early spring when the pretty blue bells are in full bloom - providing an impressive display of blue carpets of flowers. In spring, the dog's mercury, wood anemone, yellow archangel and wood sorrel can also be seen in the woods. The woods are a hive of activity, with plenty of organised events for all the family through-out the year. Please visit the Friends of Bourne Woods website for a full list of upcoming events.
If you fancy a complete retrieve from the town, the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside is easily accessible via car or on foot, with many pretty traditional Lincolnshire villages a short distance from Bourne. The honey-coloured, limestone villages to the west of Bourne located in the pretty Kesteven Uplands are particularly worth exploring. The Kesteven Uplands are steeped in history and are perfect for discovering a range of historic buildings, parklands and ancient scattered woodlands. Amongst the many delights of the countryside, you will find a number of traditional country pubs, many of which serve food on a daily basis. Alternatively, near-by Peterborough offers a vast number of amenities, typical of any large city. Some of Peterborough's best facilities include a large shopping centre, showcase cinema, bowling alleys, ice-skating rink, greyhound racing, go-karting, and many fast food outlets.
Bourne Town Centre
Bourne has 71 listed buildings in total, with a diverse range of attractive architecture to be seen, most notably, the Red Hall - a stunning Grade II architectural legacy in the heart of the town. This delightful building is among the oldest surviving domestic properties in Bourne today (it was also used as the town's railway station booking office and waiting room from 1860 to 1959). It was built in the early 17th century by a wealthy businessman, Gilbert Fisher, remaining in his family for almost a century. It is now owned by Bourne United Charities who use this as office space and to hire out for private functions and meetings. Another historic building is the ancient Baldock's Mill - dating back over 200 years and the only remaining mill in the town. This building is now used as Bourne's Heritage centre, and is classified as a Grade II listed building, because of its architectural and historic interest. This old mill has benefited from a new electric water wheel in recent times, generating up to 5kw of power. Other notable buildings in Bourne include the Angel Hotel (a modernised traditional inn dating back to the 18th century), the Corn Exchange (built by a private company in 1870), Bourne Abbey Church (dating back to the 12th century), the Grade II listed Bourne Eau House (dating back to the 16th century) and the former Town Hall (dating back to 1821).
Bourne hosts a twice weekly market next to the popular Corn Exchange - the venue for many events and meetings in the town. The market, held on Thursdays and Saturdays, offers a variety of stalls, maintaining the traditional values of the town. Special market events are also held though-out the year, including the Christmas market, which marks the beginning of the Christmas season.
At present the town is undergoing somewhat of a mini transformation, owing to its expanding population; Wherry's Lane (leading from North Street to Burghley Street) has been recently regenerated to become an integral part of the town centre, with new retail units, luxury apartments and an attractive open space. A family pub and McDonald's restaurant have also recently been built on the southern outskirts of the town, along with a much-needed second petrol station for the town and a brand new Lidl's supermarket. There are also plans for a number of new shops, restaurants and a Wetherspoons pub in the town centre, along with a entertainment centre in the former town hall, which it is hoped will help create a more vibrant town centre.
The town offers many high street retailers including, Boots, Clinton Cards, Subway, Costa Coffee, Heron Foods, M&Co, Superdrug, Sainsbury's and Tesco, alongside a good range of traditional independent retailers, providing a friendly service. There are also a number of stylish cafes and eating establishments in the town, including Costa Coffee, providing a welcome reprieve from the stresses and strains of the high street. For nights out, Bourne benefits from a number of pubs and restaurants, which offer a diverse range of cuisines and ales, making way for a vibrant night-life - the Yang Xian Chinese Restaurant was recently voted one of the best oriental restaurants in the East Midlands. There are a good variety of pubs in the town that cater for all types of people, from the modern and stylish serving cocktails, to the more traditional venues where you can get a get a good old fashioned pint of beer. Many pubs also provide entertainment, including karaoke, live bands, and quizzes. For more hardcore party goers, there are several late-night venues playing party tunes until the early hours of morning, all with free entry.
Despite the constant threat of parking charges being introduced in the town, Bourne is still lucky enough to benefit from free parking in all its car parks - a luxury that cannot be found in many other towns and cities.
Living in Bourne
Bourne is generally considered a friendly place to live with a visible community spirit and air of pride about the town - it's certainly not uncommon for people to smile and say 'hello' in the street. A recent survey by The Lincolnshire Research Observatory* demonstrated that 87% of the Bourne area respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they believed people from different backgrounds got on well together. A community spirit and sense of togetherness are encouraged by the vast number of clubs and activities available in and around the town, many of which are run by willing volunteers, and by the general tidy appearance of the town centre that is kept looking colourful and clean all year round by the Bourne in Bloom team.
A big proportion of housing in Bourne is represented by detached family houses and bungalows - many of which were built in the 1970's and 1980's as part of a major expansion to the west of the town. There are, however, a variety of other housing types available in the town to suit different living requirements, including semi-detached, town-houses, terraced, apartments and some lovely old cottages.
More recently there have been a number of new high-density housing developments being built in the town to accommodate the growing number of people wishing to move into the area. The biggest of such developments being the Elsea Park estate, located on the southern outskirts of the town that is expected to bring 2000 new homes to Bourne upon completion. This estate has provided the largest influx of housing in Bourne for many years and was greeted with a great deal of criticism when plans were first submitted. The estate is, however, an attractive development, which is managed by a Community Trust, with a large multi-purpose community centre at the heart of the estate, providing a variety of clubs and activities for residents of the estate, and valuable meeting space. The Trust also help to manage an extensive area of meadow land opposite the estate that includes man-made waterfalls, ponds, bridges, picnic benches and footpaths - this area of land is popular with residents of the estate who use it to walk their dogs, go for a stroll, cycling and jogging, along with accessing the ancient Elsea Woods that borders this land. There is also a brand new state-of-the-art primary school, shops and nature conservation areas. Houses are set among existing woodland and ponds, and the lake and fountains that form the entrance to this innovative development creates an impressive entry into the town from the A15. The estate also includes much-needed affordable housing for Bourne, which has been lacking in the past as most of the old council housing stock in the town has been brought under the Right to Buy scheme. Although home to a variety of people, the estate is particularly popular with young professionals and families.
House prices in Bourne are generally amongst the most expensive in the county due to the excellent schools in the town and good transport links, however, prices are relatively cheaper than the near-by towns of Stamford, and to some-extent, Market Deeping. It should be possible to pick up a two bed apartment for around the £110,000 mark, with the average cost of a detached family home setting you back over £200,000. The housing market in Bourne is buoyant and house prices have been steadily rising over the past three to four years, gaining a few percent year-on-year, however, due to Brexit prices have started to stabilise as there is more instability in the market.
Bourne has a relatively low immigrant population, particularly when compared to the near-by towns of Spalding and Boston, and the near-by city of Peterborough. Immigration, however, has increased over recent years and is likely to continue to do so over years to come as more immigrants flock to the UK prior to Brexit.
Bourne has excellent commuter links to other towns and cities in the area - it is just 16 miles from the popular city of Peterborough, and approximately 50 minutes drive from the county's capital - Lincoln. The town is also around a 20 minute drive from the A1, providing great transport links to London. The towns of Market Deeping, Spalding, Stamford, Sleaford, Grantham, and Boston are also within a 30 minute drive of the town. There are also excellent train links to London from near-by Peterborough, meaning a journey to London can take just 50 minutes using the high speed East Coast main rail line - this makes Bourne a popular choice for young professionals.
The residents of Bourne generally enjoy a good quality of life - according to The Lincolnshire Research Observatory*, the town has recently been reported as having one of the lowest rates of anti-social behaviour and unemployment in the whole of Lincolnshire. Bourne has also been reported as having the lowest child poverty rate in the county and far fewer people with long term illnesses and people claiming incapacity benefits or disability living allowance. The town is also fortunate enough to have one of the best state secondary schools (Bourne Grammar School) in the county, where GCSE results are the highest across the whole of Lincolnshire, Rutland and Peterborough. Please read the article 'Bourne Local - Your News: We love Bourne - and this is why;' at www.bournelocal.co.uk for more information.
A recent survey (conducted in 2014) has also listed the district of South Kesteven, which incorporates Bourne, as number 18 in the top 20 local authority districts to live in the UK.
*Report by Lincolnshire Research Observatory, Lincolnshire County Council - 'Equality and Diversity in Lincolnshire' 2009.
Employment in Bourne
The main employment sectors in Bourne are manufacturing, agriculture, construction, warehousing and distribution, and retail. Some of the main employers in the town include Warners - a large established high quality magazine, brochure and catalogue printer; Bakkavor - a leading international manufacturer of fresh prepared foods; The Larkfleet Group, who provide high quality sustainable developments in Lincolnshire, Rutland and Cambridgeshire; Bourne Textile Services, who provide a wide range of linen to hotels across parts of the UK, and Point74, who provide bespoke software solutions to the food manufacturing industry. Many people in the town choose to commute to the near-by growing city of Peterborough that has a number of large business parks, along with some big national companies, including BGL Group, Russell Burgess and Ideal Shopping Direct. There are also business parks in the near-by larger towns of Spalding and Stamford that offer further job opportunties to residents of Bourne.
Statistics would suggest that Bourne has a low rate of unemployment and that the average salary of its residents tends to be quite high. This is reflected in the fact that the rate of residents claiming any benefit is more than 10% lower than the national average.