Why you should move to Bawtry in South Yorkshire

Independent stores in the bustling main street 

Independent stores in the bustling main street - Credit: Richard Darn

Neighbourhood know-how, places and people in the South Yorkshire town of Bawtry.

Friendly faces at the market in Bawtry 

Friendly faces at the market in Bawtry - Credit: Richard Darn

When it comes to Yorkshire, Bawtry is where it all begins (and ends).  This is the definitive border town sitting on the River Idle where three counties converge and where the first house you come to travelling north is called ‘Number One Yorkshire’. Back in the mists of time it was actually in Nottinghamshire, but it was annexed to the White Rose County over 1,000 years ago. Historically, Bawtry used its waterside location to become a thriving inland port, first exporting wool and then millstones. Today, it’s an uber smart place that puffs out its chest to visitors with its fine Georgian buildings and neat market square. During the day it has a prosperous 'county town' feel with plenty of bustle and lots of independent shops, from hardware stores to boutiques. But by night it comes alive with bars and an impressive choice of restaurants. This is a small town that really does pack a big punch. Factor in the presence of half a dozen or so local schools and it is understandably popular with families. It’s far enough from Doncaster to feel rural, yet close enough to make it an easy commute.  Sheffield is not too far away either as both the A1(M) and M18 are close by.  And for travelling further afield Robin Hood Airport, built on the old RAF Finningley airbase, is located five miles to the north. Bawtry exudes an understated charm and it’s definitely worth a closer look if you are wanting to re-locate.

Bawtry's fine high street 

Bawtry's fine high street - Credit: Richard Darn

The oldest pub in Bawtry is the White Hart dating to 1689 and it’s a great place to start a walking tour of this pint sized town. There are attractive Georgian buildings on South Parade, Market Hill and High Street, giving the place a really stylish and appealing feel. The grandest property is the opulent Grade II Bawtry Hall, centrally located in seven acres of formal grounds.  Built in 1785 for a wealthy wool merchant it become a nerve centre for Bomber Command in the Second World War and was only relinquished by the military in the later stages of the Cold War. Today it has been refurbished as an award winning wedding and events venue. Striking a more contemporary note is The Courtyard, a modern retail development hosting a variety of shops and businesses. Accessed through an archway, it dovetails really well with the town’s historic setting and won a 'Green Apple Award' for enhancing local heritage. The area also has a link to the famous Pilgrim Fathers who settled in America. Their leader William Bradford lived close by in the village of Austerfield – a fact commemorated in the name of Bawtry’s Mayflower School.  Actually Bawtry is a good base to explore many other interesting villages – you will be surprised how historic they are, especially Tickhill, a few miles to the west, which has a ruined castle. All are within easy reach by bike as the terrain is pretty flat.  There are also a coupe of nice woodland walks to be had at Bawtry Forest and King’s Wood just to the north of town.  For a nosier excursion take a trip to see the nation’s last remaining working Vulcan bomber which is housed at Robin Hood Airport.  Now grounded, you can pre-book tours, some of which include engine start-ups and a close inspection of this post-war wonder. The aircraft – once at the sharp end of the nation’s defence - has a real cult following and many of the old Cold War hangars it used are still in existence on the former RAF site.

Handsome Georgian properties

Handsome properties - Credit: Richard Darn

Bag a Property
There’s no doubt Bawtry is at the pricier end of the housing market for Doncaster, but for many it’s worth it for the quality of life on offer. Even so compared with some other Yorkshire hotspots the market seems fairly reasonable. The average property price of over the past year is hovering around the £300,000 mark, with detached dwellings forming the bulk of sales. Terraced properties come in at around £200,000 and there are appealing cottage style dwellings clustering around 12th century St Nicholas Church. Much of the town centre is a Conservation Area, retaining its medieval layout and enclosing over 40 listed properties. Nearer the airport there’s a new housing estate offering greater choice for families on a budget. Generally prices get cheaper the closer you go to Doncaster. Renting a one bed flat locally starts at around £500 per month, whilst at the top end of the market properties around Bawtry often come with extensive grounds.  A typical example is a five bed detached house in nearly two acres going for £750,000.  Prices around Austerfield and Tickhill are similar so it pays to spread your wings, especially true in a time when demand for property is outstripping supply and people are generally seeking a semi rural lifestyle.

Kay Anderson

Kay Anderson Bawtry - Credit: Richard Darn

Town Life
Kay Anderson is born and bred in Bawtry and works as a sales assistant at Jasmine ladies’ boutique.  Opened nearly 50 years ago, it is one of the many independent business in the town.'

I’ve never felt the need to move anywhere else.  I love that everything is in walking distance and the fact that we have so many locally owned shops and businesses.  That includes everything from cafes to a great shoe shop.  At night the town is pretty lively and with lots of choice to suit your mood.  The Crown in the market square has a grill that does lovely bistro food with a nice contemporary feel to it, whilst for Italian we like Zenis, which has a courtyard where you can sit when the sun shines. We have a lot of history locally and it’s a very welcoming place too. So it is not surprising that it’s popular with incomers.'