Referred to as Sandie in the Domesday Book, taken from the Old English meaning a sand island, Sandy is dominated by an outcrop known locally as the Sand Hills, and formed part of the early English kingdom of Mercia. By 1290 it was split into three smaller estates – Sandy Manor under the Beauchamp’s and two under local monasteries.
There is evidence of a settlement in the Sandy area from at least the middle Iron Age suggesting that early Sandy would have been a self-sufficient farming settlement using the plentiful water supply as a resource. Excavations have revealed remains of a roundhouse and pottery has been recovered in the cemetery and allotments area.
The town gained importance when the Romans arrived in 43 DA and grew up around a Mansio (mansion) on the Roman road that ran from Baldock in Hertfordshire to Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire and developed to meet the needs of the Roman Imperial Post system. This was a network of messengers and later of relay posts, where the same messenger could change horses and continue the journey. The collapse of the Roman Empire and withdrawal of the Romans from Britain in 410 AD would have initiated the return of Sandy to its agricultural roots. A large number of Roman remains have been found in Sandy, and it seems likely that it was once a thriving Roman settlement. Some of the remains are on display at Sandy Town Council Offices.
The Pinnacle is owned by the Pym family and is leased to Sandy Town Council. The outcrop of the Greensand Ridge that was formed about 125 million years ago is 300 feet above sea level and provides excellent views over the Ivel Valley. ‘Caesar’s Camp’ near the Pinnacle is the site of a British hill fort of Pre-Roman origin.
Tempsford Airfield was built in 1941 and during World War II was used as a base for Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) agents. The airfield was closed to the RAF in 1947, and is still intact. The field barn beside the bridleway, once formed part of Gibraltar Farm and remains as a memorial to those agents who took part in many dangerous operations in occupied Europe, while assisting the various Resistance movements. Equipment for these operations was issued in the barn and racks for supplies and equipment can still be seen.
This is an ancient woodland of about 60 acres and records indicate that a wood has been on this site from at least 1297. Most of the trees are pine but there are some fine specimens of native trees. The lime trees are thought to be about 200 years old when the wood was extensively replanted but some of the oaks date back 300 years. Evidence shows that it was managed as a plantation from the early 1800s with a variety of exotic trees that were probably planted when Woodbury Hall was first built.
This was one of a number of important country houses built in the early 18th century along the top of the Greensand Ridge, which runs through Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. Among them Tetworth Hall and Hazells Hall close by, and further to the west, Ickwell Bury, Ampthill Park and Woburn Abbey. The hall was damaged by fire in the 1940s but has since been rebuilt in brick to a design by Sir Basil Spence.
The hall was built of red brick in approximately 1710 for John Pedley. Valley Farm, a medieval farmhouse at the foot of the hill below Tetworth Hall is believed to have been built in about 1650 on the site of huge stone circles in part of Canons Manor. A significant moat system lies around it, fed by nearby springs.
St Mary’s Church
The major feature of the village of Everton, the present building dates from the 12th century with 14th century additions to the tower and porch. The 11th century Domesday Book records a church on the site. Until the boundary changes in 1974, much of the present Everton parish, including the church, was in the former county of Huntingdonshire.
The Lodge – RSPB Nature Reserve
The is the National Headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Lodge Nature Reserve which is open to the public, was originally opened in 1961. From its splendid Italian Gardens to its extensive Woodland, Heath and Acid Grassland, there is a great deal for all the family to enjoy - it is well worth a visit.
Dogs are welcome but do keep them under control and away from any grazing animals as well as other visitors. Please be a considerate owner; clean up if your dog leaves a mess.
As NO dogs are allowed in the RSPB reserve, an alternative route for dog walkers is showed at Waypoint 10.