The New Bridge at Rauceby Banks
by Jeanne Furnival
Perhaps you do not know where this is. …… If you leave the Town Centre and follow the river westwards along West Banks, you will arrive at the junction with Castle Causeway. Cross the road heading for the river again, and the footpath on the North side of the river is what is known as "The Rauceby Banks". Follow the path if possible, to the end, and you will have arrived at "Bully" or Boiling Wells.
If you take a walk along the Rauceby Banks, you will traverse the path which takes you along the side of the river and under the railway bridge, carrying the Lincoln railway line. The rather unattractive path which you see today was not always like this.
I have much happier memories of the lovely wooden footbridge, which according to a newspaper report dated 1997, was about eighty years old. I am sure these memories were shared by many Sleafordians, who used to take a Sunday afternoon, or even an evening stroll along the footpath. The report suggests that the 40 metres of dilapidated footpath would be removed and replaced by a new footway. Yes, I expect the old footway had become unsightly, but it had lasted through the ravages of the years, much better than that which replaced it.
As I recall it, the river reached from side to side of the bridge and the wooden slatted pathway passed over the top. When the river was in flood, the water came up through the slats, and to cross it you would need to have been wearing wellingtons.
Of course, this was no deterrent to us as children, because there was a beautiful wooden fence to protect you from falling into the river. We would slide across the top of this and then sit for long enough, chatting to friends, perched on the top rail surrounded by water. This rail had become shiny over the years, with myriad hands passing over it. It really shone.
If you mention the old footbridge to almost anyone around at the time, you can always get a response accompanied by a tale of some happy memory.
Recently, the railway bridge has been renewed. A group of people are also meeting regularly, concerning the regeneration of the Rauceby Banks and I live in hope that the whole area will once again be able to give as much pleasure to the townspeople as it did in the past.