Olney Green Burial Ground
Tel : 01234 241808
Olney is a small bustling market town situated on the river Great Ouse, well known for its traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake race which dates back some 500 years. The race runs from the Market Place down to the Church of St Peter and St Paul each year, the winner receiving a kiss from the verger.
The tomb of reformed slave trader John Newton can be found in the church yard of St Peter and St Paul. To mark The International Day of the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, celebrated each year on the 23rd of August, the tomb has newly been awarded Grade II listing.
This fine church overlooks the water meadows and has an imposing broach spire which held a peal of eight bells. The bells were removed during August 2008 for refurbishment, and when reinstated a further two bells were installed, making a peal of ten.
The poet and hymn writer William Cowper lived in Olney during the late 1700's and in association with John Newton, who was the curate at that time, composed the ‘Olney Hymns’ the most well know of these being being ‘Amazing Grace’.
The Cowper and Newton Museum on the Market Square was once the home of William Cowper and now holds memorabilia on the slave trade together with a fine collection of Buckinghamshire lace. Olney was, at one time at the centre of the bobbin lace making industry
To the west of Olney lies Salcey Forest a former medieval hunting forest which is now managed by the Forestry Commission. Some of the oaks in this ancient woodland are said to be over 500 years old.
A tree top walk has recently been constructed allowing a view over the tree tops and the Northamptonshire countryside from a height of some 15 metres. The walk rises gradually and with frequent stopping platforms enables easy access for pushchairs and wheelchair users.
The nearby Castle Ashby Estate covers some 10,000 acres, the house sitting in around 200 acres of parkland designed in 1764 by Capability Brown. The house is alas not open to the public except for corporate entertaining and as a wedding venue. The gardens are open to the public and include tree lined avenues and an Italian garden. The long drive, around 4 miles long, reaches from the grounds of the house down into Yardley Chase, where the woods were used during WW2 as a storage facility for ammunition.
The Rural Shopping Yard on the edge of the estate offers relaxing shopping and a chance to browse around the converted farm buildings that now offer a variety of gift shops a delicatessen and tea room.