Fineshade Wood is part of the ancient Rockingham Forest in the north of Northamptonshire. There is more to Fineshade than the wood – though not a lot more!
There has never been a village of Fineshade. In previous centuries there was Fineshade Abbey and just two farms, Top and Bottom Lodge, and some labourers’ cottages. Today a few scattered houses along the A43 have a Fineshade address and together with 11 privately-owned houses at Top Lodge, itself a Grade II listed farmhouse, they are part of the civil parish of Duddington-with-Fineshade.
The approach to Top Lodge, Fineshade
But for most people Fineshade means Fineshade Wood, described by the Forestry Commission as:
“an ancient mixed broadleaf and conifer woodland with waymarked walks, car park and Caravan Club site. The wood contains rich semi-natural native woodland, as well as areas of conifers that are gradually being restored to site-native broadleaf woodland under the 'Ancient Woodland Project'. The wood was coppiced for many centuries, and the remnant coppice banks can still be seen. The coppice was used in the past for charcoal making, and there is evidence of medieval and Roman iron smelting in the wood."
But this rather prosaic description doesn't really explain why so many people love Fineshade and keep coming back. In this crowded part of Britain there are fewer and fewer wild places left to explore. Fineshade is one of these. It is the antithesis of urban life. It is very attractive varied woodland, with its fair share of flowers and a wealth of wildlife. Fineshade is a true escape.
Where is Fineshade?
Fineshade is in the north of the county of Northamptonshire, about halfway between Stamford and Corby. Two miles to the northwest, is the border with Rutland and the county of Lincolnshire and city of Peterborough are very close.
Fineshade lies 2 miles south of the junction between the A43 and A47 trunk roads. Its nearest shops are at Barrowden in Rutland (2 miles) or in Kingscliffe (just 2 miles on foot through the wood or 5 miles by road).
Why does Fineshade need Friends?
There are many forms of friendship and the word implies more than mere acquaintance. Many people are acquainted with Fineshade, but some feel strongly about it. The characteristics of friendship are often affection, empathy, understanding, high esteem. Such words have been used to describe people’s feelings for Fineshade Wood, particularly during the various threats of development here. In 2015 the words were used by a surprising number of people nationally and locally, and well as by those who live or work here - and that provided the impetus for us to form a Friends group
Coming together in common cause, in a loose association to protect Fineshade has made us realise the power and value of this friendship. At the moment the Friends of Fineshade are no more than that – individuals in a loose association.
We hope that this website will provide a forum for this loose association to communicate and thrive. We therefore encourage everyone who counts themselves a Friend of Fineshade to visit this website often, to spread the word and to contribute to the website too.
Do you know about Fineshade's past? We would like this site to describe Fineshade over the previous centuries. If you are interested in local history can you help?
And if you have memories or pictures of Fineshade in more recent history we would love to hear from you.