Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage
Helen Mark explores the aviation heritage of Lincolnshire, a county criss-crossed with former airfields, and finds out how they are being used today.
She visits Woodhall Spa's airfield, once home to the Dambusters squadron and until recently, a sand and gravel quarry. Bordered by nature reserves, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust aim to buy the airfield and return it to the heathland it once was, as described by local Victorian naturalist, Joseph Burdett-Davey. Evidence of its past remains in the form of concrete and tarmac runways, lakes which were formed by sand excavation and more surprisingly, alien plants that arrived on the kit of the Australian and New Zealand air-crews who worked here in the 1940s.
Helen meets Dora Garner who lived on the edge of the airfield in 1942. She recalls playing on the planes, writing messages on bombs in chalk, and one morning discovering the nose of a Lancaster bomber three yards from the bedroom window, after it slipped its moorings in the night.
Open Country takes a trip to the Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby to meet Harold Panton and his family. Harold and his brother Fred built a chicken farm on the old runway there, which now sits side-by-side with their privately owned museum. It's the only place in the country where you can still take a taxy-ride in a Lancaster Bomber.