The village of Heath and Reach is a vibrant community made up of a diverse range of groups and busy individuals. If you have photos of events then please contact the parish administrator who can then upload them here.
St. Leonard's Parish Church was built late in the 17th century as a chapel for Heath House. The bell is dates back to 1695. The owner of Heath House, Elizabeth Frank, gave the chapel to the parish in 1705. The church was extended in 1866.
A short history of St. Leonard's church can be downloaded here.
The Methodist Church was built in 1879 on Heath Green. It replaced a much smaller chapel.
The Village Barn was given to the village in 1937 by a local landowner, Fanny Hickman. It is used by the Parish Council and The Heath Band.
The Clock Tower was built in 1873. The well below the tower was sunk in 1859. A local entrepreneur, Lizzie Corner, carried buckers for one penny a journey.
The quarries almost surround the village and contain 70 grades of sand which is used for building, foundry work, water filtration, glass making and race courses in Saudi Arabia! The colours of the open pits are a beautiful array of colours from white to terracotta. There is a very pleasant walk around a pit starting at the bottom of Bryant's lane. Do not enter the quarry workings.
Some of Stockgrove Country Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The park contains ancient woodland, heathland, meadow, and marsh. Late autumn brings the arrival of a flock of Mandarin Ducks. The woods are home to many butterflies.
Sandhouse Pit Nature Reserve contains small ponds, marshes, herbs and grassland. Rabbits. butterflies, birds and other wild life can be seen. The entrance is off Sandhouse Lane.
The Grand Union Canal was used by the quarries to carry sand to London and Birmingham.
The Greensand Ridge runs through the village.
King's Wood, a National Nature Reserve, is full of bluebells, primroses and lily-of-the-valley in the spring. Along with Baker's Wood it forms the largest area of ancient woodland in Befordshire. The woods are mainly Oak and Silver Birch interspersed with the rare small-leaved lime. Public footpaths from the edge of the village run through the woods - there are some hills but there is plenty of flat walking. Another area of national importance is the heathland which separates the two woods.
Rabbits, badgers, foxes and muntjac roam the local farmland. Sand Martins screech across the sky during summer, while Buzzards and Redkites soar above the rooftops. Pity the poor little church mouse!
Butterflies can also be found in the woods such as Silver Washed Fritillary and Purple Emperor. Scarlet Tiger Moths can be seen around the village and if you go out at night you might see an Elephant Hawkmoth. Bats can also be seen flying in the warmer months.
People have lived in the area for 4000 years, as evidenced by flint knives found near Checkleywood Farm. The site can be seen from a footpath at the top of Bryants lane. Bronze age artifacts have been found in the area and there is the remains of what may be an Iron Age Fort near the golf course. There are suggestions that a Roman Settlement was situated near Overend Green Farm, which would have been serviced by the old roman road known as Watling Street, now the A5.
The village of Reach is dated 1216 and Heath 1220. The population of the joint village, Heath and Reach, was 541 in 1801 and has increased to about 1400 currently.
The industry, back in the day, was iron smelting and indeed when digging the garden you may come across lumps of iron. Sand digging started, on a commercial basis, in the late 18th century. There are still several quarries in the area but they create very little disturbance and can't be seen without looking hard.
There are 3 pubs in the Village all serving food. One has a restaurant serving food in more salubrious surroundings. There are regular activities run in The Barn and the Church Hall; these include children's groups, art classes an various exercise classes. The Village also has a sport field and a children's playground as well as a golf club.
Leighton Buzzard is three miles away and boasts a theatre as well as pubs, restaurants and some shopping. The serious shopper would need to visit Milton Keynes - about 20 minutes away. Also near by is Woburn Abbey, Woburn Safari Park, Bletchley Park and Whipsnade Zoo.
The Village Parish Council website can be found here.
Celebrating the Queen's 90th Birthday at The Barn with the Heath Band.
Carols on the Green
WI Pancake Race