Bassingbourn-cum­-Kneesworth

Geography

Looked at from the air, the parish forms what appears to be a large letter H, joined across the middle by the Causeway. Aerial View of Bassingbourn-cum-kneesworthKneesworth is the hamlet straddling the road forming the right hand side of the H, now the A1198, formerly the A14 or the Old North Road, and way before that, in Roman times, Ermine street. Kneesworth combined with Bassingbourn in the 1960's to become the parish of Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth.

In a series of boundary changes, of which the first was in 1896 and the most recent in 1989, former parts of Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth have been transferred to Royston. This included areas in and around the site of Tesco’s supermarket.

The Causeway links Kneesworth to Bassingbourn, with North and South Ends meeting at the High Street. Neither Bassingbourn nor Kneesworth has much of a central point, though there are several concentrations of old buildings in attractive settings, such as the stretch of North End near the church and Cross. One of the positive characteristics of the village is the survival of several greens.

Over the last 50 years many new developments have been added to the basic H shape. For the most part this has been a series of single road developments, rather than large estates, and this has helped to integrate this newer housing into the structure of the village.

The barracks, originally RAF, but now occupied by the Army Training Regiment, is another important element in the parish.

The construction of the airfield meant that much land was compulsorily purchased. A footpath with Wendy Lane, once the connection between Guise Lane and the Old North Road, were lost.

Playle's abattoirs, before its demise, was once the most significant employer in the community, but now the biggest local employer is Kneesworth House Hospital. This medium secure psychiatric unit has made considerable efforts to be integrated with the community, but its secluded position, east of the A1198, means that it remains almost invisible to the casual passer-by.

The continued presence of shops, the surgery, the dental surgery, the garage and sub-Post Office in the village does much to enhance the community as a whole.