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WOODHALL SPA Community Website

Woodhall Spa village sign

Local views

The Woodhall Spa Community Website Home Page
Links to pages outlining Woodhall Spa Business and Services
Links to pages outlining Woodhall Spa Clubs and Societies
Link to the Woodhall Spa Events Diary
Link to  pages with photographs of Woodhall Spa  places, people and events
Link to page with information on how to travel to and from Woodhall Spa Travel Information by road, rail, river and air
Link to pages describing Woodhall Spa's Twin Village (Roeze Sur Sarthe, France),  the  Twinning Association  and twinning events
Woodhall Spa village heritage
Link to a selection of pages describing  Woodhall Spa Tourist Attractions and activities
A series of pages providing information on Woodhall Spa Parish Council and it' s business
Summary of websites linked to the Woodhall Spa Community Website
Link to the Jubilee Park page
Link to Local Media and News page


Water Rail Way


The Witham at SouthreyCycle Network signThe last section of the 'Water Rail Way', (the new link in the Lincoln to Boston Footpath and Cycleway project), was opened in Nov 2008. This means there are now two new off-road sections, for Route 1 of the National Cycle Network (Harwich to Hull Cycleway), along the River Witham; Boston to Anton's Gowt and from Kirkstead Bridge near Woodhall Spa to Lincoln via Bardney.

The route is appropriately named the 'Water Rail Way', after the disused Boston to Lincoln railway line on which it is built, and the secretive wetland 'Water Rail' bird, which lives along the River Witham. The route will provide an opportunity for a circular route from Woodhall Spa to Kirkstead Bridge, north to the disused Stixwould, Southrey or Bardney stations and back to Woodhall Spa along the road (or in reverse, of course) for both walkers and cyclists.


Link to Parish Council newsletters Route Description

Link to Parish Council newsletters Photo Gallery

Link to Parish Council newsletters Sustrans

Link to Parish Council newsletters Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership

Link to Parish Council newsletters 2006 News - Bardney section opened

Link to Parish Council newsletters 2007 News - Stixwould section opened

Link to Parish Council newsletters 2008 News - Kirkstead Bridge section opened

Link to Parish Council newsletters 2009 News - The Longest Party - 25th April 2009

Link to Parish Council newsletters 2010 News

Link to Parish Council newsletters 2011 News - More cyclist than ever

Link to Parish Council newsletters The local Sustrans Ranger Group

Code of Conduct for Shared use Paths

Cyclists Please don't expect to cycle at high speeds and be prepared to slow down or stop if necessary. Be careful at junctions, bends and entrances. Give way to walkers, wheelchair users and horse riders - leaving them plenty of room. Remember that many people cannot hear or see well so don't assume that they can see or har you. Fit a bell and use it - don't surprise people.

Motorbikes Are not permitted on the path.

Horse riders. Please proceed at a walking pace to protect the surface of the path for other users, and allow families with young children to use the path in comfort.

Walkers If you are walking with a dog, please keep it on a lead at all times.

South of Woodhall Spa

The route south crosses Kirkstead Bridge and follows a quiet road on the west bank of the River Witham to Tattershall Bridge and beyond. To reach the Water Rail Way from Jubilee Park turn left onto Stixwould Road and then left again onto Green Lane. Follow the road round to the left onto Mill Lane and then turn right onto Witham Road (careful this can be a busy road). Bear left at the point Witham road bends to the right and rises to cross the River Witham by Kirkstead Bridge. Pass the Railway Hotel, Woodhall Junction Station and the old river ferry crossing point. Pass through the old crossing gates and you are now on the former railway track bed.

North of Woodhall Spa

With the exception of a half mile stretch near Bardney the route north has now been tarmacced all the way to Lincoln.

The remaining half mile stretch of the old railway line to Bardney belongs to British Sugar and cannot be used, so at present it is necessary to divert onto a bridleway. You have a choice of a 'summer' or 'winter - all weather ' route:

Looking north towards Bardney and Sugar Beet Plant along 'Summer Route' BridlewayTo follow the 'summer route' north you should stay on the Water Rail Way to the end of the tarmac (Bardney Manor Pumping Station) and then pass through the metal gate. Continue along the track to Southrey Wood and then turn left onto the bridleway heading for Bardney village. Turn left onto Station Road and then rejoin the tarmac track by turning right right just before the Witham bridge traffic lights.

The bridleway and track can be muddy in winter, so for the 'all weather - winter route' you should leave the Water Rail Way at Southrey and head for Bardney along Ferry Road. Pass Bardney Post Office and bear left down Station Road. Rejoin the tarmac track just befor the bridge traffic lights.

Local history and wildlife boards, sculptures, benches and mile markers have now been installed along the route. Signs to inform you of the location of nearby shops, cafés and pubs have also been erected.

if you experience any problems on the Water Rail Way, please email the Sustrans Volunteer Ranger: webmaster@woodhallspa.org

Visit the Spa Trail web page. The first stage of the Spa Trail was completed in April 2010 and links Woodhall Spa with Horncastle

Water Rail Way Gallery
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Cycling through Stixwould Station site prior to work by Sustrans

Sustrans' vision is a world in which people choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. Sustrans is the charity behind practical and innovative solutions to some of the UK's biggest transport challenges, including the award-winning National Cycle Network, Safe Routes to Schools, Bike It and TravelSmart.

Sustrans, 2 Cathedral Square, Bristol. BS1 5DD. Registered Charity No:326550



Sustrans logoTo find out more about the work of Sustrans visit their website: www.sustrans.org.uk

To find out more about the contemporary structures that will be erected along the river bank visit: www.hi-views.org.uk


Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership

The Water Rail Way is just one of many projects (aimed at regenerating Lincolnshire's river and canal corridors) either underway or proposed by the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership (LWP). The LWP consists of British Waterways, Lincolnshire County Council and the Environment Agency.

The LWP takes a holistic view of waterways, seeking to develop them as a tourist resource, whilst retaining the many features of natural and historic importance. It seeks to provide new facilities for local communities and to support the development of new businesses in the county.

It is proposed to construct a new canal link, linking Lincolnshire to the River Nene at Peterborough and the much wider national waterway network. This will open up the county to greater use by visiting boats and create a major new cruising ring. By developing the waterways of Lincolnshire and building on their distinct character it is hoped to give Lincolnshire an edge in a growing tourism market, particularly for short breaks and waterway related tourism.

LWP newsletters can be viewed on the Visit Lincolnshire website: www.visitlincolnshire.com


Water Rail Way - Progress
  Lincoln to Washingborough section completed
  Washingborough to Five Mile Bridge completed
July 2006
  Five Mile Bridge to Bardney section completed
Dec 2006
  Bardney to Southrey section completed
Apr 2007
  Southrey to Stixwould Station completed
Aug 2007
  Stixwould to Kirkstead Bridge (Woodhall Spa) completed (signs, seats and mile markers still to be positioned)
Nov 2008
  Anton's Gowt to Boston section completed
Mar 2009
  Kirkstead Bridge to Southrey signs, seats and mile markers positioned
Jan 2011
  Awaiting permission to incorporate 1 mile section south of Bardney station

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Articles from Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership Newsletter (reproduced courtesy LWP)
July 2004
Name that Path

Thank you to all those who submitted ideas for naming the Lincoln to Boston path - some of you are extraordinarily inventive!

The winner is Roger Ingamells of Lincoln with Water Rail Way - inspired by both the railway connection and spotting this secretive bird whilst cycling the Washingborough section. Well done, Roger.

According to www.rspb.org.uk, the Water Rail is more often heard than seen. Smaller and slimmer than the moorhen it is most abundant in Eastern England, breeding on freshwater wetlands especially where there is extensive growth of reeds and sedges. Chestnut brown and black upperparts, grey face and underparts and black and white barred flanks and long red bill. Call is a pig like squealing and a sharp 'kek ... kek ...kek'.

Honourable mention should go to Rachael Houseago, who came up with the one that made me laugh the most. She took the L from Lincoln, and the oston from Boston and came up with Loston Route - sadly we decided you'd have to be a pretty poor navigator to get 'Lost on Route' on such a linear path - but noce try Rachael!

Mary Powell

Lincolnshire County Council


April 2006

Mile Post north of Bardney LockOn a beautiful crisp and sunny November day I walked the latest section of path between Five Mile Bridge and Bardney Lock. My companions were Lorraine our Business Support Officer and Nicola Jones from Sustrans and we were looking to see where the new benches, interpretation panels and signs will go.

I was enormously impressed with the quality of the path construction, so all credit to C.F Construction of Collingham. The path is lovely and wide, there are good river views from the many open sections and then there are more enclosed wooded sections. There are some terrific views back to Lincoln of the cathedral in the distance floating above the landscape. I can confirm the article in the November Newsletter that these waterside paths make wonderful wildlife corridors. For anyone interested in bird watching the constant to-ing and fro-ing ahead as you walk along is a delight.

At Bardney Lock we pressed our noses to the steel bars blocking off the viaduct, which is in something of a state, whilst Nicola explained what was to be done in the next few months to repair it.

I frequently feel tied to my desk on the endless funding treadmill so its great to get out and see the finished results and realise that yes, wow - this is really what it's all about.

Whilst on the path I met with several readers of this newsletter out on their bikes - so its good to meet you and know that you too are enjoying this new access.

Latest News

Contractors are due to finish the section to Bardney May 19 and we plan to have a formal opening on 25 May.

Early March saw two cows - Lincoln Red cattle of course - being lowered into position on the edge of Water Rail Way. Produced by artist Sally Matthews these are sure to prove popular with passers by.

Mary Powell

Lincolnshire County Council


November 2006
Bardney opening

In a July week, full of thunderstorms, we chose a heatwave day to hold the launch of the path Water Rail Way reaching Bardney.

At least 200 people precessed, on foot and by bike together with a jazz band, from the ribbon cutting at Bardney to Bardney Lock. On the viaduct itself there was a marquee providing much needed shade and a hog roast providing sustenance for those who had made the 20-minute walk/cycle.

I missed the ribbon cutting at Bardney as I was stationed on the viaduct, but it was quite a sight, shortly after 2pm, to see a posse of small boys on bikes peddling furiously towards me, all desperate to be the first to arrive. Following behind them was a seemingly endless crocodile of people walking along to the strains of New Orleans jazz. It was great to see so many people from Bardney there, as well as many others from Fiskerton, Washingbrough and Lincoln, together with a contingent of boaters who came to have a look and try out the new visitor moorings at Bardney Lock.

Many thanks to al those who attended, with particular thanks to A.W. Garrills of Bardney for the delicious hog roast - its good to stop a while and celebrate these milestones reached. Read Nicola Jones from Sustrans piece below on the next stage to Southrey.

Mary Powell

Lincolnshire County Council


November 2006

Water Rail Way - Southrey


Following the amazing opening at Bardney in July, we're now pushing on with the next phase of path construction near Southrey.

This 2.7km length is very different, as it's mostly well away from the river and lies between wide mature woodland areas that have grown up on both sides of the former railway corridor. This gives a lovely contrast to the more open path between Lincoln and Bardney and encourages some very different wildlife: butterflies are much more prevalent and there is more obvious evidence of mammals.

This different environment has dictated the time and way the path is being constructed. As always, an initial Environmental Impact Assessment ensures that we know what is present and what, if any, "mitigation" we should take into account when planning the path. In the present case, we're working under an English Nature "badger disturbance" license, which dictates not only what work can be done but also when it can be carried out. Path construction started back in August and is on schedule for completion by the end of the year. I'm pleased to report that the badgers are completely unphased by our presence and have taken great delight in leaving their excavations over the partially-built path!

Nicola Jones


March 2007
Southrey to Kirkstead Bridge

The construction of the next phase of the path from Southrey started in early January and is going well, helped by the (mainly) good weather. As this is quite a long section of over 6 kms, we expect to take until the summer to complete the path.

Earlier ecological surveys found great crested newts close to the path, in an area of old borrow pits just south of Stixwould, so we have applied to Natural England for a licence to carry out the path construction in this area. Once the licence is granted, the works have to be undertaken in a certain way and at specified times, under the strict supervision of a trained herpetologist. If you see carpet tiles lying on the grassed areas, this is all part of moving and protecting any great crested newts actually on the line of the path. More details in the next newsletter.

Nicola Jones


There will be a celebration of the path reaching Southrey on the afternoon of 12 April. Join us for light refreshments at the Riverside Inn at Southrey and as we will still be in the school holidays an Easter Egg hunt for the children seems appropriate.

Mary Powell
Lincolnshire County Council


July 2007

Progress at Southrey and Kirkstead Bridge

The Water Rail Way continues to attract many walkers and cyclists, as the earlier sections of path mature and become better known.

Over 200 people enjoyed a relaxed afternoon at Southrey in early April, to celebrate the opening of the path from Bardney. Pond dipping, birds of prey, the "longest" quiz and, of course, refreshments, all contributed to a very pleasant time exploring the new path.

As many of you have already seen, we're now constructing the section of path from Southrey past old Stixwould station to Kirkstead Bridge. We've had a few challenges on this stretch and, as mentioned in the last newsletter, have had to alter the way we build the path to take account of protected wildlife species. This has meant the path construction has taken a little longer but shows the value of such "green" corridors to path users and wildlife alike! Our neighbours have been very patient, for which we're extremely grateful. I'm sure they'll be delighted to know that we've nearly finished the "lorry" stage of the works and expect to complete the route to Witham Road at Kirkstead Bridge by August - over 15 miles from Lincoln!

The traffic-free section of the Water Rail Way ends at Kirkstead Bridge, with the cycle route towards Boston following the lane from Martin Dales on the west bank of the Witham. It's only a short hop from Witham Road to the centre of Woodhall Spa though, with its tea shops, pubs and loads of other facilities.

We've had a few enquiries from horseriders and, as the photograph of the Southrey opening shows, all well behaved users are welcome! We don't encourage horses west of Washingborough, as the path leads straight to Lincoln City centre but elsewhere al the way to Kirkstead Bridge, there's plenty of room for everyone.

Nicola Jones




Nov 2007

Water Rail Way

A good crowd joined us in August at Stixwould, to celebrate the opening of the latest stretch of new path between Southrey and Kirkstead Bridge. The sun didn't make it this time but this didn't stop folk guessing how many faults the old bike had, or trying to identify the different wrigglies that had been scooped from the river and from the local Engine Drain. The hog roast went down well and adventurers enjoyed the cycle obstacle course and having a go on the different types of bike available.

We're very grateful for the additional funding that EMDA has provided for the route south of Bardney. It is this funding, in addition to the LWP monies that has enabled us to achieve such a smooth easy-access surface, which is proving so popular.

Since the Stixwould opening, an automatic cycle counter has been installed near Kirkstead Bridge, to give an indication of the number of cyclists using the path. Data from this and other counters at Lincoln, Washingborough and Bardney are collected and analysed by Linco9lnshire County Council and are also fed into the national database managed by Sustrans. This data is supplemented by Route User (*face to face) Surveys, when more detailed information about the path use is requested. You may have been asked to take part in the survey at Kirkstead Bridge recently.

Over the next few months, there will be lots of things going on behind the scenes and not so many ovious changes on the ground. This is because the final planning application has been submitted to East Lindsey District Council, to complete the traffic-free section of the Water Rail Way between langrick and Anton's Gowt. We hope to have approval for this in mid-December, so that construction can start on the last phase in spring 2008.

Many of you will have noticed the two new HI-Views structures on the Water Rail Way at the beginning of the path in Lincoln and near Anton's Gowt. Designed by Belgian architect, Paul Robbrecht, the two contemporary viewing platforms, the 'Lincoln Stump' and 'the Boston Pendulum', offer walkers and cyclists unique, expansive views of the Lincolnshire landscape between Boston and Lincoln. The wooden balustrades are painted in colours inspired by the local bird life and include the bright red of the beak of the Water Rail. the project has been supported by the Arts Council England East Midlands, Lincolnshire Public Art Network (LPAN) and local authorities.

At the other end of the scale, a series of footprints near Southrey now show some of the animals and birds seen in the area whilst the path was constructed here. the prints are twice real size (yes, a pheasant really has enormous feet!) and accurately reflect the tracks made by each animal or bird.

Nicola Jones




Sally Mathew's Lincoln Long Wool Sheep are due for installation at Stixwould in early November. Slightly behind schedule due to their dread locks proving quite tricky! Fans of Sally's Lincoln Red Cows will surely want to go out and have a look. (Photo in gallery above)

Mary Powell


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March 2008

We are delighted that planning approval has been given for the last section of the Water Rail Way at Langrick. Overhanging branches have been cut back in preparation for the path construction of this final phase later this spring; the slight delay is to take account of ecological considerations on part of the former railway land. We expect the path to be open in early autumn - more details next time.

Many of you will have come across the four Lincolnshire Longwool sheep near Stixwould, which were installed last November. These wonderful "animals" have been created from scrap metal by Sally Mathews, who also made the Lincoln Read cattle that have proved so popular near Washingborough. Real, live versions of both the cattle and the sheep can be seen quite close to the Water Rail Way.

Work is progressing well with other artworks planned for the path. Planning approval has been granted for the "Pike" and the "Curly Coat Pigs" sculptures, both to be carved by Nigel Sardeson. Nigel has already started the pike and you can watch him at work at Bardney viaduct most Fridays. We have applied for planning permission for two further pices for the Tennyson-themed series of artworks, the "River Pillar" (also by Nigel) and the "Lady of Shalott", a beautifully arched sculpture designed and created by Fran and Tim Mackereth of Alnwick Forge near Sleaford.

Nicola Jones



Path Links
November 2008

Many of you will have joined us recently in celebrating our fifth opening of the Water Rail Way at Langrick Bridge. Not only was this a wonderful occasion to publicise completing the latest 2 miles of path but, significantly, this is the very last section of path and so completes the whole Water Rail Way between Lincoln and Boston.

A lot has been acheived in the past 4 years. Back in 2004, two short sections of path were already open at Lincoln and Boston, linking Washingborough and Anton's Gowt respectively. Now these two established sections have been incorporated into one of the longest traffic-free paths in the country and a 33-mile long route (20 miles off-road and 13 miles on country lanes) between Lincoln and Boston, all fully accessible for walkers and cyclists.

The Water Rail Way is a major part of the Lincolnshire Waterways project and is also part of the 12,000 mile UK-wide National Cycle Network, which runs within one mile of 55 per cent of the UK population.

Further highlights have been the development of the series of artworks along the path, several of whic were featured by BBC Look North in September. Recent additions have seen sculptures with a "Tennyson" theme, so look out for the arched Lady of Shalott east of Five Mile Bridge, a majestic River Pillar near Stixwould and a beautifully carved Limestone Fish near Langrick. A couple of curly coated pigs have also crept in and can be seen rooting for acorns by the path near Southrey.

Leaflets have been produced to describe the sections of path between Lincoln and Bardney, Bardney and Woodhall Spa and Langrick and Boston. A further leaflet will be available, to give an overview of the whole of the Water Rail Way, with a particular focus on all the sculptures.

A date for your diaries: keep Saturday 25th April 2009 free to join in Lincolnshire's Longest Party along the Water Rail Way - a chance to enjoy your local section of path or to explore further afield.

Nicola Jones




The Longest Party - 25th April 09

Those of you who have responded to our earlier requests for ideas about how to celebrate the Water Rail Way have come up with three main themes:

Parties in the villages along the route

Raising monies for local charities

Opportunities to try out activities on the water

The Butterfly Hospice Trust, a Boston based charity has suggested a sponsored cycle ride. Two other charities, St Barnabas Hospice and the Royal British Legion have also expressed an interest in sponsorship through cycling and all three will be supported by the LWP and organise their own riders. Because of the distance involved a range of options will be available to offer rides suitable for all who wish to take part, the options will be:

The full 33 mile route (cycled in either direction).

Medium route; 18 miles (Lincoln to Bardney and back).

Shorter route; 9 miles (Boston to Langrick Bridge and back)

We are going to be working with communities and user groups along the Witham to organise a series of parties at settlements and access points along the route. These will hopefully double up as feeding/watering stations for the cyclists. Nigel Sardeson and Mick Burns, both local wood carvers, will be on the path working on new pieces - at the time of writing not sure waht or where, but definitely something to look out for en route. There will be plenty going on, intyeractive and entertaining .... but you'll just have to be there to find out what!

The full route includes 13 miles on country roads, the other two routes are traffic free and so these options really should cater for everyone. If you wish to join in then contact details for sponsorship of the charities are:

If you wish to join in then contact details of the charities are:

Amanda Holland

Butterfly Hospice Trust

Tel 01205 311222


Jo Ticehurst

Royal British Legion (Lincs)

Tel 01522 813922


Kim Frow/Jenny Wing

St Barnabas Hospice

Tel 01522 559500



For more information on the events, contact the 'Longest Party' organisers: Andy Jee 01522 550573 or Dilys Britt 01522 550615


Jul 2009
The Longest Party

The Longest Party was clearly a great success with hundreds of people finding their way onto the Water Rail Way, many for the first time. The range of activities both on the trail and on the water was huge as you can see in the team's reports. I think this was a great way to celebrate this fantastic facility and we've had lots of positive feedback from those who came along; well fed, watered and entertained. The local charities involved raised an amzing £20,000 and are asking about an annual event ... so we're going to see if it might be possible.

Andy Jee


October 2011

More cyclists than ever on the Water Rail Way

Water Rail Way, the route that connects Lincoln and Boston, has become more popular than ever this year. Lyn Goforth at the Bardney Heritage Centre tells us they saw an increase in the number of their tearoom customers who had cycled the path compared with previous years. And the electronic cycle counter on the Washingborough section of path shows that cycle trips have doubled since that stretch was opened 8 years ago.

According to a new report published by the London School of Economics, cycling generally is on the increase - there has been an 11% rise in the number of Britons cycling, meaning that there are now 13 million Britons getting on their bikes. As well as being green and great exercise, cycling is also good fun and Water Rail Way has been named as one of the Sunday Telegraph's top 25 family cycle rides. The route offers 20 miles of traffic free path interspersed with artwork and carvings, and 13 miles of cycling along country roads.


Local Sustrans Ranger Group

The local Sustrans Ranger Group held its inaugral meeting at Janet's Cafe in Woodhall Spa on the 10th of Feb 2008.

John Hallwood
British Waterways staff and local Sustrans volunteers on litter pick - 29 Mar 09

Litter pick conducted by Sustrans Rangers and British Waterways staff on the section between Kirkstead Bridge and Southrey - 29 March 2009.  
Even though the council tip is nearby, the group still found a wrecked bike, two car wheels, a TV and fridge on the river bank. 




For more cycling routes around Woodhall Spa please visit the Local Cycle Rides page, or visit the River Witham page


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Page last updated 2 Apr 15

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