Heath and Reach

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Heath and Reach
HandR village pump.jpg
Heath Green with pump house and Duke's Head public house
Heath and Reach is located in Bedfordshire
Heath and Reach
Heath and Reach
Heath and Reach shown within Bedfordshire
Population1,350 [1]
1,346 (2011 Census)[2]
OS grid referenceSP925280
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLEIGHTON BUZZARD
Postcode districtLU7
Dialling code01525
PoliceBedfordshire
FireBedfordshire and Luton
AmbulanceEast of England
EU ParliamentEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Bedfordshire
51°56′35″N 0°39′20″W / 51.9430°N 0.6555°W / 51.9430; -0.6555Coordinates: 51°56′35″N 0°39′20″W / 51.9430°N 0.6555°W / 51.9430; -0.6555

Heath and Reach is an English village and civil parish near the Chiltern Hills in Bedfordshire. It is two miles north of Leighton Buzzard and three miles south of Woburn and adjoins the county boundary with Buckinghamshire. Nearby places are Leighton-Linslade, Great Brickhill and the Duke of Bedford's Woburn Abbey, Woburn Safari Park and Woburn Golf Club.

St Leonard's Church dates from the 1580s.[3]

Located 40 miles from central London, the village is 6 miles from the M1 and benefits from a non-stop fast train from nearby Leighton Buzzard to Euston in just 32 minutes.

History[edit]

There was a sizeable Roman settlement at Heath and Reach. Fragments of pottery, coins and traces of buildings were found in 1971 near Overend Green Farm, by the Roman road, Watling Street.[4][5] The village was originally two small hamlets in the Royal Manor of Leighton[6] and records are found for Heath in 1220 and Reach in 1216.[7]

Heath and Reach was part of the parish of Leighton and was the property of the King of England. In 1539 a Muster Roll during the reign of Henry VIII listed the fighting men of the village, those aged 16–60, as "25 males who could be relied upon to fight in Henry's wars with France and the defence of Calais."[8]

As a prominent Royalist, Lord Leigh's estates were seized in 1644 and given to Parliamentarians: the Royal Manor of Leighton, which included Heath and Reach, handed to Colonel John Okey, commander of the New Model Army dragoons and a signatory to the execution of Charles I. When Okey was executed for treason at the 1660 Restoration Charles II transferred the royal manor lease back to Lord Leigh whose line continued as lords of the manor into the 19th century.[9]

Lieutenant Robert Strong, who was killed in action near Ypres in 1915, was from Heath and Reach. First born son of Robert Strong of Gig Lane, Robert Jr was British Army bandmaster in India prior to the war and a noted sportsman.[10] Lieutenant Arthur Pearson was also from Heath and Reach, a pilot of 29 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, was awarded the Military Cross in the Battle of the Somme for "conspicuous gallantry". He was shot down in flames and killed 1917 by von Richthofen.[10]

Governance[edit]

'Heath and Reach' is the name of the constituency that sends a Councillor to Central Bedfordshire Council. It includes the villages of Heath and Reach, Hockliffe, Eggington, Stanbridge, Tilsworth, Tebworth and Wingfield. The seat has been held by Councillor Mark Versallion since its creation in 2011.[11][12]

Geography[edit]

The parish is bounded in the south-west by the River Ouzel, in the north-east by the A5 (Watling Street), and includes the Kings's Wood nature reserve and the famous 400 acre Rushmere Country Park woods. The highest point is 480 feet above sea level.[13] 'Heath and Reach' is also included in the postal addresses of properties in nearby Old Linslade

Education[edit]

The village lower school St Leonard's was founded in 1846 by the Church of England and educates 100 children aged 4–9. There is also an on-site pre-school. The school's key stage 1 results remain "exceptionally above national and local averages"[14] and Ofsted rate the school Outstanding.[15]

Culture and community[edit]

The village's annual Pancake Race organised every Shrove Tuesday by the Heath and Reach Women's Institute is a major feature of village life, raising money for charity.[16] Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre, run by Sally and David Allsopp, has been based in Heath and Reach since 1992. The group has raised over £90,000 for various charities through musical theatre and drama productions starring local children aged 4 - 18 who regulrly perform at the local Library Theatre and School Theatres.

Community facilities[edit]

There are 570 homes in the parish and besides the church, school and golf club, the village has two pubs and a village store and a thriving Royal British Legion.[1] There is also a sports association with tennis courts, playing fields and pavilion and a separate recreation ground. The village benefits from several community use meadows, public footpaths and bridleways. There is also a fishing club at the ten acre Jones Lakes.[17] Leighton Buzzard Golf Club lies just to the southwest of the village. Heath and Reach is also home to a heritage narrow gauge railway, which maintains the largest collection of narrow-gauge locomotives in Britain.[18]

Notable buildings[edit]

There are 26 structures within Heath and Reach civil parish that are listed by Historic England for their historical or architectural interest. No building is listed as Grade I, the designation of highest significance, but Heath Manor is listed as Grade II*.[19]

Filming location[edit]

The disused quarry on the outskirts of Heath and Reach has been used for film purposes, most notably, just to name a few. The Mummy Returns (2001), The Da Vinci Code (2006),[20] and Singularity (2012).[21][22]

Notable residents[edit]

The world relay gold medalist and TV presenter Kriss Akabusi MBE lives in Heath and Reach.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/Images/Census%20parish%20profile%20Heath%20%26%20Reach%20050213_tcm6-40306.pdf[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  3. ^ from Heath and Reach.com. http://www.heathandreach.com
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2010..
  6. ^ Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  7. ^ Heath and Reach parish web site: http://www.heathandreach.org.uk
  8. ^ A History of the Village of Heath and Reach by Maureen Brown, page 11. Published by the Leighton Buzzard Archaeological and History Society, 2007.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  10. ^ a b Roll of Honour. http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Bedfordshire/HeathandReachRollofHonour.html
  11. ^ uk2.net. "Mark Versallion". www.markversallion.com.
  12. ^ http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/modgov/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=5231
  13. ^ Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  15. ^ Osted assessment November 2011. http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/109618
  16. ^ Leighton Buzzard Observer newspaper, http://www.leightonbuzzardonline.co.uk/news/videos/ready_steady_toss_1_2483871, retrieved 21Mar11.
  17. ^ "Jones Pit, Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom - Fish Around". www.fisharound.net.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 May 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  19. ^ "Listed Buildings in Heath and Reach, Central Bedfordshire, England". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  20. ^ "The Da Vinci Code Filming Locations". British Film Locations.
  21. ^ "Time Traveller (2013)" – via www.imdb.com.
  22. ^ "War breaks out in Heath quarry as blockbuster move in". www.leightonbuzzardonline.co.uk.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2010., retrieved 13 June 2010.

External links[edit]